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June 21, 2006: Better living through chemistry

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Before we left for Ireland we were dealing with a situation between Rosie and Checkers that we knew was going to have to be resolved one way or another...but which we also knew had to wait until we returned home. Rosie, unfortunately, is a bit of a bully. With the other cats in the house there's never been a problem, because if she tries anything, they either ignore it or have enough backbone to smack her, and that ends the issue right there. Checkers, however, has turned out to be a first class wimp, and unfortunately, this has only made matters worse. Rosie charge her every time she sees her, and has taken to lying in wait in the library and essentially trapping Checkers in one of her hiding spots. If Checkers would just haul off and smack Rosie upside the head even once, it would end right there, but since she won't, things are just getting worse and worse. With the summer heat coming on in full force lately, shutting the door to the library just isn't an option - it gets really hot in there when there's no air circulation, even with the air conditioning on. And we also really do not want to have to keep Checkers separated from the rest of the house forever. It's not fair to her or to the rest of us.

So after we got back and monitored the situation for a bit to see how things were going, we finally called our marvelous housecall vet, and both Rosie and Checkers are now on Praxil. Yes indeed, folks, my cats require behavior alterating drugs. Rosie gets it because it should mellow her out enough so she will stop fixating on Checkers, and Checkers gets it because it should make her feel less anxious and more willing to come out of hiding and try exploring the rest of the house again, once Rosie stops harassing her.

I had to do this twice with Sebastian, but that was years ago, and at that time he was on Buspar, twice a day. It worked, but it was expensive. I was getting it at cost through a vet friend so I was only paying about $1 per pill, but still, he was getting two pills a day and I do not even want to think about how much it would have cost if I'd had to pay the full marked-up price.

With the Praxil, we only have to pill them every other day, which makes all of our lives much, much easier (and also cheaper - because since we got it through our local pharmacy, it's costing us much more than the Buspar did). This is especially good because while Rosie is fairly easy to pill (in the grand scheme of things), to Checkers the simple act of trying to hold her head still and pry open her jaw is the same as if we were trying to kill her slowly, by ripping off her paws. However, I am hopeful we've found a solution - this morning I put her pill in her little plate of wet food and she wolfed it down without even noticing it was there.

There has been some progress, in the week they've been on the drug. Rosie isn't hanging out in Checkers' room as much anymore, and there hasn't been a single screaming match between the two of them since they started the medication. And two days ago Checkers came to the very edge of 'her territory' and yelled insistantly at Richard until he came into the room to play with her. She hasn't done that since this whole thing with Rosie started. So this is a good first step.

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