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Friday, September 21, 2012

Mercy in her favorite spot
Calming a cat's anxiety with CALM by Royal Canin

Mercy is one of our clinic pet cats.  She and Ranger have some basic understandings to keep the peace between each other as you have read in July 2011 post.  In the mornings Mercy was acting a bit more agitated at Ranger, also hissing at some people and just out of sorts. I could not find any medical reason outstanding to be making her attitude upset.  There were not any overt big fights, and I did not want it to get like that. 

Mercy is on J/D  for her arthritic false hip ( she had a femoral head ostectomy about 14 years ago), pumpkin to reduce hair balls, joint supplement and periodic pain reliever.  Her medical management seemed to be at the best it could and I considered if she may be feeling some anxiety or was that developing with age.  We have added lots of additional perches in the office to enrich the environment for them so competition for space was not likely.  We also ordered some feather toys on a stick for structured play time for Ranger and what ever Mercy would do so there was social interaction with the staff but still, she just did not seem happy.  I thought this would be a good chance to try out the CALM diet by Royal Canin and see how it might help her.

The J/D diet by Hills has given Mercy some benefit with her hip so I did not want to abandon that diet completely.  I instructed Racheal, one of the techs to mix the J/D and CALM  50/50  for the trial and see if there was any effect.  The supplementation would not be a much, but I figured - there may be some benefit.  The behaviors we were looking to see improvement on were - less hissing and avoidance of staff members and Ranger.  That was about it.  We did not have any soiling problems or real aggressive fights - just the crankiness towards Ranger and some of the staff.  We had figured her avoidance of dogs and some clients to be just the way she was.

 Typically Mercy does not seek affection and want to be petted by women.  Men with strong aftershave or cigarette smell on their hands is what she loves - why I have not clue!  Really - she will roll, rub, and purr for a man with the strong aroma of  Polo or Aramis.  She likes to sit on Racheal's lap, tolerate petting from Debbie, and really does not want to have anything to do with Leeza even though Leeza  does her feedings and care.  So one day about 1 1/2 weeks after we started her on the CALM diet I was at the clinic after hours.  Mercy came right up to me and started to rub and weave in between my legs purring.  I had to double check it was her and not Ranger.  She let me pet her and continued to purr!  This was really surprising to me.  She rarely sought out affection from me and would usually only tolerate some head pets before leaving.  Here she was continually seeking petting.  Then the next day she was laying in her bed which is on the shelf under where the microwave is.  I put my mug in the microwave which would typically have her jumping out of her bed to go elsewhere.  As my coffee was warming up I saw she was laying peacefully in her bed, just taking in the day.  Wow - this is unusual.  She let me pet her in her bed - another big step toward less anxiety! 

Later  I told the staff to observe her interactions with staff members, clients and Ranger.  As each day passed we saw her go up to clients and head butt them as well as allowing them to pet her over her head and body as she has not done before!  Men were no longer the only Mercy magnet!
Mercy loves to be with Leeza now
The really surprising day was when Mercy sat right next to Leeza as she worked on files and was head butting her.  In a cautious way Leeza picked Mercy up and held her.  Typically Mercy would have resisted and even tried to swat or bite at Leeza.  Not now.  Mercy loves Leeza now.

Play time has also improved for Mercy.  She will now chase after the feather as it is dragged across the ground and play Kill The Bear with her toy.  She and Ranger still have their am attitude adjustment period.  This has been a bit challenging to figure out.  They each jump and pounce on each other and will co groom just before.  There is not any hissing or tension about perching spaces.  It may be that they like wrestling but it is hard to tell.

Mercy is much more lovey
The CALM has really helped Mercy be a more social, affectionate and less anxious cat.  With each week we are seeing her be more lovey and interacting well even with dogs that come in.  If your cat is hiding, avoiding petting, or interacting with other pets or people I would strongly advise to talk to your veterinarian about trying the CALM diet.  Mercy really likes the taste of it and has not had any problems with her stool or vomiting.  The diet is adjusted to be good for urinary health and dental health as well.  CALM for cats is available in 8.8 lb bags which at 1/4 -1/3 cup dry food per day will last quite a while.  There is a rebate available on the Royal Canin Face book page so be sure to sign up for that.  We print those out for our clients to make it easier to follow through with the rebate.

Good luck and let me know if you give CALM a try.
Dr Sally J Foote