Monday, July 23, 2007

Mental illness: It's not just for humans anymore

We have a veterinarian columnist for the paper who attributes every animal issue to anxiety problems in need of medication. I often scoff at this. But lately, I've been wondering if there isn't something to the idea of pet mental health. I don't want to become one of those freaky pet people who rushes their animal to the pet psychiatrist every time it goes doody in the house on accident, but I've been thinking that my cat Suggs suffers from depression.

Suggs is 14, and I've had her since she was 8 weeks old. I have been very protective of her and have never seen anything bad happen to her, but since day 1 she has been afraid of men. Men are loud and clompy, so I can see why. As a matter of fact, T-shirt face is the only mad she's not afraid of, and though he's tall, he's not loud.

Because she hates men, life has been hard on her the past five years that we've lived with Mark. She has her ups and downs. Recently, she decided to hide under the back corner of the bed in the spare room, where I could never reach her. She'd stay all day, then finally wander into the hall looking really beat, and then head back.

All of a sudden a few days later, she was a new cat. She hasn't returned to that spot. She wants to go outside. She INTERACTS WITH US! Usually, she won't come downstairs when Mark's around, but since she got past her bout of depression, she has been hanging out in the den with us every night.

It's a miracle! And it didn't take Prozac.

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