Practical feline behaviour understanding cat behaviour and improving welfare

(Axel Boer) #1

Advice for Veterinary Professionals 171

Table 11.1.



May be used for

Contraindications and precautions

Tricyclic antidepressants

(TCAs), e.g. amitriptyline, clomipramine

Block the reuptake of serotonin

and noradrenaline from the neuronal synapse and thereby increase the amount of both neurotransmitters available to reach the postsynaptic receptor

Repetitive/compulsive behaviours

and where anxiety is an emotional component

Should never be given with monoamine

oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Avoid using, or use only in very low doses if other serotonin-enhancing medications or supplements are also being given. Use with care in cats that are known to suffer seizures

Selective serotonin

reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), e.g. fluoxetine

Selectively block the reuptake of

serotonin from the neuronal synapse

Behaviours where anxiety and

impulsivity are indicated

Should never be given with MAOIs.

Avoid using, or use only in very low doses, if other serotonin-enhancing medications or supplements are also being given


e.g. buspirone

Serotonin receptor agonists. Bind

to and activate the serotonin 1A receptor in the postsynaptic cell

Issues of anxiety, fear, timidity

and social tension

Use with caution in cats with renal or

hepatic disorders


e.g. alprazolam, clorazepate diazepam

GABA receptor agonists. Facilitate

the action of the inhibitory transmitter GABA resulting in decreased neurotransmission throughout the central nervous system (CNS). Behavioural changes due to influences within the hypothalamus and limbic system

Anxiety, fear, hyperarousal.

Sedative and anticonvulsant action, with immediate onset of action. May be prescribed for short-term events or in combination with long-term maintenance medications that take a few weeks to reach full therapeutic effect

Use with caution in cats. Cases of fatal

hepatic necrosis have been reported. Overdose can cause severe CNS depression in cats with hepatic disease


Inhibits the release of excitatory

neurotransmitters, particularly substance P, glutamate and noradrenaline. Has anticonvulsant and analgesic effects

Useful for hypersensitivity,

anxiety or aggression, especially if pain is also a contributory factor

May cause mild sedation or ataxia

but generally well tolerated. Xylitol (a sweetener) in gabapentin preparations for human use may cause hypoglycaemia or hepatotoxicity and therefore should be avoided

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