- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


Cautionary Tale: Cats and Valarian

November 21st, 2004, 09:59 PM

Even though I primarily teach, because of the shortage of physicians, I periodly work some weekends at an ER.

This morning, a small child (about seven) arrived requiring stitches due to cat bites and scratches. The family - in an attempt at medicating their cat - gave the kitty valarian - the herb that is widely available in pharmacies and health food stores. They assumed, without conduting any research or asking their vet - that valarian would have the same calming effect on kitty as it has on them. (Not to mention not all brands of valarian are created equal nor do all studies indicate it actually works - depends very much on the individual).

The herb, as it turned out, had a dramatic effect on this seven year old neutered female cat. A previously quiet non agressive happy cat turned into a screaming, yowling, hissing animal who (from the case history) ran wildly throughout their home, attacked them and their daughter. Mom had a few bites and scratches and the daughter had several bites, one of which required SIX stitches!!!

I had never heard of this but when I checked the internet, apparently valarian can have the same effect on a cat as catnip. It's a stimulant to them. There are preparations - mostly in liquid and plant form - that are available for cats. (and it seems some are in combination with other stimulants).

This family compounded the problem by then giving the cat a benzodiazapine (like diazepam but in their case, a longer acting one) and it sounds like it may have made the cat think it was hallucinating.

Mom and daughter are fine now. They had locked the poor kitty in a closet before they came to the hospital but while I recommended they have a vet look at it to make sure the animal had not been hurt (She had apparently jumped around and experienced seizure like movements), I have my doubts they will do it.

Why are people sooooo careless and unthinking????? Is it just me???? Sighhhhhhh!!

November 21st, 2004, 10:09 PM
I'm confused. Why were they giving their cat a "calming" medication, if it was described as previously being a "quiet non agressive happy cat"? :confused:

November 21st, 2004, 11:59 PM
No brain owners. Confused me too. Poor cat.

November 22nd, 2004, 08:16 AM
It is a longer story - but the point was they admistered a medication to the cat without checking how it would affect the cat, sigh!

November 22nd, 2004, 08:27 AM
My Rocky has attacked me twice,in crazed thing I learned,never suture a serious cat-bite! It took a month or more of treament for my infected bite to close on it's own and I now have a big dent in my leg!!