Piwi is a 13 year old domestic shorthaired cat who had her eye removed because of a melanoma (tumour) in the eyeball. Piwi coped very well with one eye until her owners moved house. She was quite traumatised by the move and started rubbing where her eye had been removed. This caused a skin infection and ulceration.
Piwi was treated with a long course of antibiotics and she had to wear an Elizabethan collar for 3 weeks. She did not like wearing the collar and became quite depressed. The infection cleared up but Piwi continued to rub at her face which did not allow the skin to heal properly.
In the end, Dr Craig diagnosed anxiety as the cause of her over-grooming and rubbing her eye. She was treated with anti-anxiety medication called Clomiclam. Piwi was much happier and settled in her new environment. Her owners are very happy with the result.
Take home message
Cats can become quite distressed if their usual routine is disturbed. Some things that can make them distressed include:
- moving house,
- being kept inside if they are used to being outside,
- having their territory invaded by another cat,
- a new person moving into the house.
Cats that are distressed can exhibit behavioural problems such as over-grooming or spraying in the house.
It is best to treat these problems by alleviating the stress to the cat.
However, if this is not possible, anti-anxiety medication such as Clomicaim can be used. Before this can be done, your cat needs a thorough examination and a blood test to rule out other problems that may be contributing to the behavioural disorder.