No matter how in tune you are with your cat’s health, it’s not always easy to spot some of the illnesses that they may have under the surface. While it’s important to keep an eye on their eating habits, their toilet behavior, and any signs of afflictions, there are plenty of problems that can come about that lie beyond your ability to recognize them.
Even worse, your cat is unable to communicate more complicated issues that they may be having, so it pays to be a vigilant owner. They may have behavioural issues, such as isolation from other animals (or you), or issues with their sleep patterns. They may have become overly anxious, which can be symptomatic of other problems such as hair loss and dietary complications. While none of these issues are fatal per se, symptoms such as these can kick start a chain reaction of misery, should the biological imbalance (or the outside elements) not be readjusted and amended.
In recent times, melatonin has emerged as an option for owners concerned that their cats (and dogs) are experiencing unnatural levels of stress. In this article, we will discuss what melatonin is, how it came to be used as a supplement, and whether it is suitable to use melatonin for cats.
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that mammals produce naturally from glands in their body. Biologically, this chemical is secreted by the pineal gland (near the base of the brain) and helps to regulate the body’s natural clock. This helps everything from circadian rhythms to maintaining a regular sleep pattern. It tends to have a sedative effect, calming down the processes of the body.
Supplements of melatonin (for cats and other animals) can be given in the form of tablets, and liquid capsules to give an additional boost. The reasons one may give them (or take them for themselves) are many.
How does melatonin for cats help?
Much like in humans, melatonin for cats is often used to combat sleep disturbances. These tend to arise when a cat has experienced a stressful event such as the introduction of another animal to its territory, being moved to a new territory, or any other kind of trauma. Much like digestion issues and hair loss, sleep deprivation is a sign of stress. As well as combating hair loss by stopping cats from excessively grooming themselves (another sign of stress), melatonin for cats can also stimulate the growth of new fur. Human beings often take melatonin as a sleep aid, and it works in much the same way with cats.
It can help with more chronic diseases too, such as Chronic Dysfunction Syndrome, which one other than Melatonin.com describes thusly:
“The most common signs of [Chronic Dysfunction Syndrome] can be remembered by the acronym DISH: […] Disorientation, less social Interaction, altered Sleep patterns, and House soiling. It’s unusual to see all four signs in an animal, and the diagnosis can be made on the basis of only one sign”.
They may also require the sedative effects of melatonin should they experience general behavioral issues. Hyperactivity, or even latent aggression, can all be mitigated with melatonin. In older cats that don’t have these concerns, they might instead experience ‘cognitive dysfunction’. Melatonin for older cats can help them redress their body clock.
How do I administer melatonin for cats?
Melatonin supplements can be bought over the counter at most pharmacies and do not require a prescription for their use. However, dosages can vary wildly between cats, let alone from human to cat. Before reading the side of the bottle and making your own adjustments, you should consult a train vet before you try melatonin for cats.
The prevailing wisdom seems to be around 0.75mg per dosage. Pet Shrink goes into more detail, “… For a cat, I’d probably start with about 0.75 mg [of melatonin]. Dose to be repeated as needed up to three times a day.” However, your cat’s age and weight, as well as other factors may come into play. Side effects may include weight-loss and increased lethargy. They can also react adversely with other medication, which may cause an intolerance to other medication, or even an allergy to the melatonin itself.
Best products and practices when administering melatonin for cats
Ideally, once you have decided to give your cat melatonin under the advice of a vet, you should try and combine this with a lifestyle change. According to melatonin.com, this can include, “providing a warm and comfortable bed, use of a night light, playing the radio softly, offering a bedtime snack or warm milk, or taking the pet for a brief walk before bedtime.”
Below are some products that provide relaxant properties for cats:
NaturVet Soft Chews with Melatonin
NaturVet are one of the predominant distributors of melatonin for cats. Balancing a few different chemicals as well as melatonin in a chewable tablet designed, these cat relaxants are aimed at calming them down during their more anxious moments, including thunderstorms or fireworks. Whether your cat can calm down enough to take them is another question, one which was raised by a few customers.
Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats Calming Spray
Those looking for an alternative to a tablet or a capsule can look into sprays. Though most on offer don’t contain melatonin, they remedies such as the ones created by Nature’s Miracle contain natural ingredients which also have sedative properties.They can also be discretely administered with fewer concerns about dosage.
Final thoughts on Melatonin for cats
When cats are subject to as many stimuli, smells, sights, sounds, and stresses as humans, it’s no surprise that they may develop behavior issues or even anxiety disorders. Melatonin for cats helps calm down your beloved pet for both short and long-term cases. Whether you’re looking to keep them calm during a move, or while they are recovering from a particularly stressful time in their lives, it can often be a good sedative option to nip future problems in the bud. By keeping your cat calm, and reducing needless, stressful behavior, providing melatonin for cats (with guidance from a vet) reduces the risk that they will develop future issues with their diet and their fur.