Fiyero Leo, the Domestic Longhaired Cat
Ruth and Don Redshaw
We have two five year old cats, Fiyero and his littermate sister, Elphaba. Adopted together from the shelter as kittens (spayed and neutered) we lived a charmed life with both of them for two years. At about age three however, Fiyero began displaying pretty strong territorial behaviors, eventually escalating into anxiety which he coped with by spraying. For years we tried to find a solution on our own by seeking advice from our veterinarian, using pheromone diffusers and sprays, trying calming supplements and flower essences and even implementing daily play time routines just in the hopes of exhausting him. Nothing was successful. Eventually our lives completely revolved around Fiyero. We had to sniff the furniture for urine scents every day. We couldn't watch television in the evenings because of his relentless pacing, howling and non-stop pawing at the front door and the window blinds. And just as if he were a human baby, if he was sleeping we kept quiet. No one wanted to wake him!
Another issue we dealt with, nearly as bothersome as the urine marking, was Fiyero interrupting each and every night's sleep at 3:00 a.m. looking for attention and food. And to make matters worse his poor sister had begun over grooming herself, likely in an effort to control her own anxieties as she managed living with a companion that had such constant negative energy.
Finally we had the good fortune of speaking to a new veterinarian who recommended Megan's services as an alternative to investigate before considering medication for Fiyero. We were a little hesitant to make the call, feeling quite pessimistic because nothing we'd already tried helped.
Eventually we made the call and in no uncertain terms Megan saved our family. From the first moment we met her we were confident she would help us get our lives back. As she stepped into our house for our initial home visit she immediately got down to business. By asking pertinent questions and listening intently to our answers, she put together a complete history of Fiyero's health and behaviors. She toured our home, paying close attention to what was around Fiyero's trigger spots and where he sprayed the most. By the meeting's end she offered us a beginning action plan. Every point in the plan was something we could easily implement. She explained to us that many of the things we were innocently doing out of love for Fiyero, thinking they might help alleviate his anxieties, actually exacerbated them. She taught us to see things from a cat's point of view. Within the first month of following Megan's behavioral treatment plan we saw a marked decline in Fiyero's spraying. By the end of our mid-way point in Megan's twelve week plan we knew we were well on our way to a complete recovery for Fiyero. During our last phone consultation all we had left to share with Megan was our complete and utter appreciation for the integral part she played in getting our family back to normal. We had no more spraying, a good night's sleep, and even Elphaba's habit of over grooming ended.
We will always look back on our time spent with Megan Maxwell with great fondness and gratitude. She will forever hold a place in our hearts as the one person who was able to teach us the tools and techniques we needed to help our very anxious cat return to his loving, happy, healthy self. Now, when any behavior issues crop up we pause and ask, "What would Megan say?" Her expertise and knowledge was a true gift, one she so readily shared with us and one we feel we will never be able to repay.