As my tolerance for Scratch’s shenanigans and general level of aggression was rapidly nearing an end, we took him to the vet last week. Once we explained to her what was going on and my theory that, perhaps, he was actually a cryptorchid, he had a physical exam that included a check to see if he was, in fact, producing testosterone. This physical exam is not unlike making him turn his head and cough, but in male cats it is a bit more invasive.
Scratch was NOT pleased and it required me, Geoff, and a vet tech to hold him in place while the vet checked him out. It was about a 15 second procedure but Scratch did not want anyone poking around hither and yon and was NOT interested in anyone figuring out if he was producing testosterone or not. NO way, no how.
In the end we did get confirmation that he is, in fact, neutered. That was a huge relief. Cryptorchids can sometimes required invasive abdominal surgery and can also develop cancer much more readily than either neutered or normally intact males. The vet then went on to ask questions about Scratch and how he came to live with us. Geoff repeated the story and therein lay the problem.
You see, Scratch, as is obvious to anyone who has met him, has quite the forceful personality. This is so much the case that he adopted himself out to Geoff rather than stay with his litter at 4 weeks of age. This is a problem because 4-8 weeks of age is a really important time in social maturity for cats. They learn everything from how to play properly with one another to what the proper sexual boundaries are in social interaction. Scratch functionally took himself out of cat society at 4 weeks of age and was then raised by a first time cat owner and, more importantly, a socially retarded dog with extreme anxiety issues.
To further muddy the issue, Scratch imprinted on Geoff in a very serious way. Add in a move from Alabama to Massachusetts while he was still a juvenile and then having to integrate into a house with the rest of our animals? Scratch isn’t terribly stable after all that and getting to post-kittenhood age has brought all of that out into the open. In the words of the vet, “he has some rough edges to his personality.”
All this is to say that Scratch is now on Prozac. We were told, just like with Rerun, to expect efficacy within 2-4 weeks. The effect has not only been immediate, it has been astonishing. The aggression, the humping, and the stalking? All gone. Does he still play with his brothers? Sure. Does he still swat at the others cats for no reason? Yep, but he doesn’t lay in wait for them and hunt them like they’re prey or hide behind the shower curtain for hours on end and attack the first thing, human or otherwise, to walk by. Also? He hasn’t humped anything since he started on his meds.
We now have two animals in the house on Prozac (Scratch and Rerun) and we have more medicated humans and animals than not. This is completely OK with us. These drugs exist for a reason and if it ups quality of life, well, then so be it. And I can finally go to bed and not worry about getting humped by my own cat. I call that a win-win.