Anxiety in cats (abstract)

Article loaded in February 1997, modified 17 March -

©Dr JoŽl Dehasse
3 avenue du Cosmonaute, 1150 Brussels, Belgium

For the full sized article, see Anxiety in cats
Anxiety has been defined as an emotional state accompanied by behavioural and autonomous reactions analogous to fear, when there is the least change in the internal or external environment. In this model, cat anxiety will be divided in three groups by the invalidation in time: paroxystic, intermittent and permanent anxieties. The specificities for each of these groups will be given for the presence, the absence or the modification of several specific parameters: defence aggression, inhibition, scanning behaviour, displacement activities (for example lick-alopecia), (facial, urinary and scratching) marking behaviours , etc.

Different clinical pictures have been recognised and standardised. The Cat Anxiety Syndrome (non specific) will be the opportunity to present the drug therapies individualised on three axes following the neurotransmission or neuromodulation apparently involved: noradrenergic, serotoninergic and dopaminergic. Drugs like clomipramine, selegiline, trioxazine, will be described as will be the use of anxiolytic pheromones (FeliwayR). Other clinical pictures will include:
Deterritorialisation anxiety: the disruption of the territorial appeasing markings may lead to fear and anxiety with the alteration of facial marking and production of urinary marking.
Deprivation anxiety: cats that have lived their development in poorly stimulating surroundings may not adjust in richer environments when adult.
Anxiety in closed surroundings: cats may not adapt easily to a life in small, closed, surfaces. They may develop anxiety accompanied by redirected predatory aggression on people.
Cohabitation anxiety: cats who have to live together may present different patterns of degradation of their emotional states and communicative skills.
Several clinical pictures of anxieties will be briefly presented: anxiety in hyperthyroidism, after the use of ketamin, in algic states, separation anxiety, and deritualisation anxiety.

Dr Joël Dehasse
Behaviorist veterinarian