Fear is a powerful thing. It can turn a placid pussycat into a tooth-baring dervish in the veterinary clinic. There was a time when the only safe way to restrain a panicked cat was with anesthesia. But now there’s a drug that’s changed all that.
Gabapentin [gab-ah-PENT-in] is used in people to treat pain and help control seizures. But in cats, it works wonders in blunting fear and anxiety. And a pet parent gives gabapentin right at home — in tablet, liquid or chew form — several hours before a veterinary visit.
Cats on gabapentin are fully awake. They’re just kind of slow and unconcerned about what’s going on — including handling, grooming or even blood collection. After being groggy for 12 hours or so, they bounce back to normal.
So, if you have an anxiety-ridden feline, ask your veterinarian how you can take the bite out of fear.