Joss Whedon Would Not Approve


So I began a regimen of drugging my cats today. I know, cat stories are boring to those of you without cats. Sorry. There will be a point later. But so after putting it off for a long time, Frank and I started them on this herbal supplement thing that is basically Kitty Pax. (G-23 Paxilon Hydrochlorate? Miranda? Firefly movie? Anyone? No? Okay.)

They’ve always fought really badly, ever since we brought the second one home. It’s really loud and horrifying, and we have to watch them all the time, and we often come home to find piles of fur stuck to the floor with who-knows-what-liquid or blood spatters on the walls. They’ve both got scratches all over them, and I just dread the day I come home and one of them is missing an eye or something.

It’s not that either one of them is that much of a jerk, it’s just that the newer one, Ruggles, is young and huge and wants to play and the older one, Elliott, is small and old and hates to play. So what probably started out as an attempt at kittenish play by Ruggles has become a never-ending series of horrible fights. I have no idea what the neighbors think, but it is probably disturbing.
We tried all kinds of stuff like separating them and re-introducing them or playing with Ruggles until he’s too tired to attack anything, but just nothing worked. We finally gave in and called the vet after they’d kept us up all one night hissing and circling. He prescribed the Pax, which is actually called “Composure Liquid—A Calming Support Formula.” I know, even worse, right?

Even though it only contains hippie herbal crap like Thiamin (aka B Vitamins) and L-Theanine (an amino acid found in tea,) I feel really, really guilty about drugging my cats. Like really guilty. I’m that person who yells at other people for declawing their animals and takes St. John’s Wort instead of the actual medical brain medicine I probably need. I am somewhat comforted by the fact that it’s only for a few weeks to “reset their pattern of aggression,” which, is it just me or is my vet a mega-hippie? I’m just realizing this. Weird.

But so I guess this stuff will calm their aggression toward each other and then they’ll learn not to attack every time they see each other and they can stop taking it and they’ll be happy and not fight-y. If it doesn’t work, the vet said we’d either have to put Ruggles on Kitty Valium (no) or live with it (no) or get rid of one of them (absolutely not.) So let’s hope it works.

It took us a long time to decide to go ahead with this stuff. Slipping into their food today felt wrong. Talking about it, you’d think me and Frank were talking about putting our kid on Paxil or something. Which, obviously, is stupid. They are just cats. I’m not a crazy enough cat lady to compare them to humans. But still, there was more riding on the conversation than just getting our asshole cats to quit tearing each other to shreds. He has a friend that spent his childhood on Paxil and it really screwed up his development. We’ve both considered anti-depressants or other brain drugs and decided against them.
Will the Kitty Pax change their personalities, in so far as cats even have personalities? How okay is it to give an animal pharmaceuticals (or I guess nutraceuticals, in this case) that they don’t strictly need? If we had a kid (which we are NOT EVER having children, but still, interesting intellectual exercise,) how screwed up would the kid have to be before we put it behavior-modifying drugs? If the Pax gives them a better quality of life in the non-fighting area, but diminishes their curiosity and energy and lust for life, what is the moral calculus there? And how does it apply to the question of self-medication, particularly in terms of how your depression/anxiety affects your partner?

I’m not sure. They’re big questions, I guess, for a couple of pissy cats and some overpriced homeopathic pet tonic. I just hope Ruggles doesn’t become a Reaver. Because that would be ew.