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Mirtazapine in Cats

Bob in his Gryffindor scarf. photo by Kara Hartz

Mirtazapine is a common appetite stimulant used for cats. Over the past couple weeks I’ve given Bob two doses, and he is eating great. Mirtazapine is used because it works really well. Cats who take it, eat. When you have a sick cat that refuses food for significant lengths of time, despite being offered many tempting options, cat people get frustrated and hopeless feeling. Something that gets the cats eating again is a godsend.

Another plus, for anyone who has tried to pill a cat is that it only needs to be given every 3 days. The hospital where I work now carries a new form of Mirtazapine that isn’t a pill, but is a soft dissolving tab. So it dissolves quickly in the cat’s mouth as opposed to them needing to swallow it. However, it needs to be given every day.

What is talked about less is a common side affect of Mirtazapine. ¬†Even some of the doctors I work with didn’t know about this. Most cats I know who have taken Mirtazapine has some degree of behavior changes. Agitation, restlessness, increased vocalizations and similar behaviors are what I’ve mostly seen or had reported to me. Knowing to expect, or at least not to be startled by these changes when they happen can keep cat people from worrying that something new has gone wrong with their beloved.

For Bob, the restless is the worst on the first day of his pill and decreases over time. I haven’t tried the dissolving tabs with him, but since they don’t last as long, I wonder if the side affects would be lessened too. I’d be interested to hear your experience if your cat has taken the daily form.

Bob’s level of agitation was so bad yesterday that I started rethinking if I would continue using it with him, but today he is his usual happy self, ad I’m torn. The old dude really needs to eat. *sigh* The stressful life of the elderly kitty guardian.

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