Frightened Lizzy, Liberated Lizzy: Interspecific Schezipathy in Cats

Understanding Lizzy’s pathological behavior and helping her get out of it: Info-chalon gives the floor to her mistress and a zoopsychiatrist behavioral veterinarian. Cross talk and photo reportage.

Lizzy was born to Adeline’s parents. The little litter is 3 weeks old when the mother disappears: poisoned, injured, caught in a trap? The hypotheses are not lacking in the campaign, but the fact is there: Lizzy is now an orphan. Too early. And the lack of mothering leaves traces.

Adeline, her mistress, has always had cats and will endeavor to surround Lizzy with her care: “She never accepted the bottle so I gave her formula milk for kittens which she lapped. Weaning was difficult.

A little light on weaning by Dr Salavert, zoopsychiatrist behavioral veterinarian at Clinique La Rocade. “Food weaning can begin from the age of 3 weeks in the kitten, which can therefore ingest “solid” quite early in addition to milk. But behavioral weaning should not take place before the age of 2 months. For Lizzy, the food intake “assisted” by her mistress – called nursing – was also affective food, which is why this stage was more difficult to cut. »

Adeline continues: “But Lizzy learned the cleanliness quite quickly. In the evening, she lay down on me and calmed down to the beating of my heart. »

Look of the specialist: “A hyper attachment to her mistress has been established, allowing Lizzy to survive, in the absence of her mother cat. Adeline was for her “an emotional crutch” which then allowed her to explore her environment. Yet this hyper-attachment masked deficits that surfaced later. »

Until then, the painting may seem touching, despite a few minor inconveniences that Adeline remembers: “Later, when I was away for a few days of vacation, I sometimes found his excrement on my bed, but it was very casual. »

Complications appear

From the age of 6 months, however, Lizzy’s behavior changes little by little. She becomes more distant, no longer seeks hugs and jumps for nothing: when her mistress enters the room, at the slightest breath of wind, at the passage of a bee… So, of course, when guests arrive, she rushes to hide under a piece of furniture!

It should be noted that Lizzy lives in an apartment with Adeline and her companion, and that she does not frequent her congeners or other animals.

“Despite this distance, specifies Adeline, Lizzy remained attached to me. When we moved to a larger apartment with a balcony, I was careful, knowing that the territory is the main landmark for a cat. But Lizzy didn’t show any particular signs. It looked like she was indifferent to this change. »

The alert

“Lizzy suddenly lost her potty around the age of 5. She relieved herself next to her litter box and one day she urinated in her resting place. I understood that the problem was becoming serious. I contacted a behavioral veterinarian who practices at the Clinic La Rocade of Chalon, Dr. Salavert. »

Consultation with a zoopsychiatrist behavioral veterinarian

Biological examinations revealed nothing. “Indeed, specifies Dr. Salavert, in the event of uncleanliness, it is essential to ensure that the animal does not present any pathology of the urogenital system or global metabolic attack. »

During a behavioral visit, Dr. Salavert asks many questions about Lizzy in order to dissect her entire behavioral repertoire.

The diagnosis can be made: “Lizzy has an ‘interspecific schezipathy’, explains Dr. Salavert, which prevents her from communicating normally with human beings other than her mistress. This generates intermittent anxiety in her, which is mainly manifested by uncleanliness, fears, aggression. »

And indeed, Adeline has always been attentive to Lizzy’s reactions, she has noticed that she does not have the typical behavior of felines. Lizzy doesn’t meow, just stares, doesn’t perch high on furniture like cats instinctively do. On the other hand, she loves to play. And their playful interactions are numerous.

Therapy: understanding and reacting wisely

With anxieties growing with age, Lizzy’s “safety bubble” had gradually shrunk, making her anxious at a distance. Another illuminating example described by Adeline: “When we opened the door to her, she did not cross the threshold before we moved away, like a mistreated animal, whereas, of course, she had never suffered any mistreatment! »

Dr. Salavert therefore sets up a double therapy: medicinal, with an anxiolytic, and behavioral. The first allows her to regulate her emotions, the second aims to make her more independent, less dependent on her mistress, less afraid of unfamiliar people or everyday noises.

“She gave me a lot of tips to boost Lizzy’s confidence on a daily basis, on her territory, comments Adeline. As a result, behaviors such as uncleanliness, fears and aggression have diminished. »

The specialist’s explanations allowed her to better understand Lizzy’s atypical reactions and, at the same time, to learn how to provide the appropriate responses.

A very encouraging development

“For 2 years that Lizzy has been on treatment, she has made great progress,” rejoices Adeline. Even when I have guests, she comes into the room to eat, is curious. Well, she doesn’t jump on their knees for big hugs, but we feel her so much better, she seems much more balanced! »

Advertorial Nathalie DUNAND
[email protected]

Veterinary clinic LA ROCADE
21 rue Pierre Deliry – Chalon-sur-Saone
Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. – Saturday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Such. : 03 85 908 908

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