For years, I have called my cat, Robbie, the “lap cat deluxe” model. As soon as there was a lap, he would be curled up on it ready for a snooze. But he has always had a feisty streak, too. A quick swipe from the upstairs bannister was his go-to move, and we all learned to watch out for the twitchy tail.
That is, until a few weeks after Christmas. My lovable plus-sized kitty turned into the “attack cat deluxe” model. With 16 pounds and all his claws, he started to do real damage with his increasingly violent moves.
When the worst left my hand bruised and dripping blood, we knew it was time to take him to the vet.
Explaining that he had no physical symptoms of disease, our vet diagnosed Robbie with “Misplaced Aggression,” a mental health problem that can drive cats a little crazy. There is probably some form of prey or perceived threat lurking outside our doors and windows, and due to the extreme cold weather, he cannot get out there to attack it. So he is attacking the next best thing – me.
That’s how I wound up with a cat on Prozac.
I really didn’t see that coming. In fact, I think I would have laughed a few weeks ago at even the idea of treating Robbie for anxiety. (It’s okay to laugh now – I certainly did at the vet’s office and for days afterward. And, I just want to go on the record here saying that I would like for all people with mental health needs to have access to the kind of thoughtful and affordable care my cat is currently receiving.)
But, alas, treating Robbie’s aggression became a pressing need in our house. We love him. And, we love not bleeding, so there you have it. If this works, we will get our lap cat back. Ignoring the problem certainly isn’t a safe – or sane – option.
It reminds me of our work here at the Community Foundation. It’s our job to be in tune to the community’s most pressing needs and to respond when they change. Like with this situation at home, the solutions often surprise us. Though we might laugh at first, the best ideas should have a chance to be implemented through a grant.
Even if that means putting more cats on Prozac.