Those luminaries offered all the celebrity endorsement Harley needed to do it, too.
We’re talking about going on Prozac (or, more precisely, the generic form fluoxetine, and its kin in the class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs).
Unlike human beans, cats don’t start the ‘zac for depression per se. And, unlike cats, human beans don’t generally begin taking SSRIs for violent, murderous rage or a peeing-on-the-floor habit. (Or maybe they do? Never mind; that’s between you and your doctor. ;-)) All of these issues are worsened by anxiety, and SSRIs have a long track record of blunting anxiety’s raw edge.
So, after much discussion, it was agreed upon this week that Harley will be the next Tabby’s Place cat to get ‘zacked. Webster voted twice on this decision (once for himself, and once with me as his proxy; yes, I exist to do his bidding). In the space of a week or two, Harley’s giddy gobbling has escalated to Webster-bashing, Peachy-pummeling and even, on occasion, Bialy-beating. This isn’t the gentle, happy-go-lucky Harley we know and adore, so it’s as much for his own benefit as the other cats’ to get him feeling groovy again.
Did I say Harley’s been convicted of Webster-bashing? More like Webster-wheedling. Here’s how it all goes down: Harley will gobba-lubba all over the room, only to stop awkwardly near the Webbed one. Then, he’ll stare…and stare…and stare some more. This is no Care Bear Stare; Harley is saying all kinds of unprintable things with those eyes. Sometimes he’ll add a swipe for good measure, but generally the cocktail of standing-a-bit-too-close and staring stonily is enough to get Webster growling and heading for higher ground. Harley’s response is to stare on, eyes taunting, you wanna make somethin’ of it, stripey boy? Growls deepen. Fights ensue. Black and tabby fur flies.
Nobody is happy about these old-man fights, least of all the old men involved. So we’re hoping that the Prozac will help bring peace to the valley.
As life-changing as Prozac and its pharmaceutical cousins can be for us humans, they can similarly make a world of difference for furrier types. Tiny’s years-long regimen of behavioral medication kept all of Suite C alive. (I’m only slightly exaggerating; pre-Prozac, Tiny once sent Tigger to the cat hospital, where Dr. C had to put him back together. As Jim Croce once said of a meaner character, just about the only thing not bleeding on Tigger when Tiny was done with him were the soles of the big man’s cat’s feet.)
These days, behavioral medication is playing a part in peacekeeping throughout Tabby’s Place. Make no mistake, it’s no wonder drug; Edward, Boots, Chance and my favorite little atomic fireball Natalie still enjoy the occasional attempt to annihilate their neighbors. But Prozac et al help to keep them from being too successful in that area.
And, unlike diamonds and adoptive homes, behavioral medication need not be forever. Post-adoption, Tiny’s been weaned from his Prozac, and we hear he’s thriving - feline housemates and all. The recently-adopted Huckleberry should be able to stop his behavioral meds now that he’s a victorious “only cat.”
Until those adoptions (or anger-management classes) come, we’ll do everything we can to keep our most bellicose babies happy and healthy - even when “everything” includes the ‘zac.