Elderly cat

in Pets & Pet Care
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AlikayAlikay Forumite
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Does anybody have any tips on caring for an elderly cat? Poppy is 19 and has been our much loved pet for 17 years. She's still very affectionate, particularly with children (we've always had a house full!) and eating well, but mobility has declined in past year or so.

I feed a dried senior cat food, plus a small wet meal because she likes it, and is quite skinny. She is however a bit smelly and dribbly, needs help with grooming and can be a bit clingy and attention-demanding (rather like my Nan at an equivalent human age:rotfl:). The vet sees her every 3 months and prescribes Loxicom which seems to help with her stiffness. Vet also says teeth and gums aren't great, but is reluctant do anything as she likely wouldn't survive the treatment.

Please share any tips on looking after old cats (and keeping your home nice with an old cat living in it!) as I'm struggling a bit. I don't think we're a PTS stage yet, as she seems very happy and still has her daily mad-half-hour, but I wouldn't hesitate to go down that route if I thought the time had come.

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  • charlie3090charlie3090 Forumite
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    I have a 21 year old cat,
    she is skinny ,her fur looks awful and she is deaf bless her.

    She is really fussy with food but she loves chicken soup, literally just boiled chicken,shredded with a bit of the greasy water.

    I would not give an elderly cat dried food because they can suffer with constipation and with wet food you know they are getting some fluids in them,if they love the dried food,moisten it with a bit of warm water so it is softer to eat.

    Her coat is pretty scruffy to be honest but she will only let me groom her head and neck so I just soften any clumps with a bit of olive oil until I can tease them out.

    I change the litter tray every day because if I dont she will go next to it.

    The main thing is she still has a quality of life,she sleeps a lot,often wakes me up in the night for a bit of attention but I just look at it that shes like us when we get old, things are confusing and scary sometimes,all cats are different and 19 is a great age for a cat.

    Regarding the drooling,unscented baby wipes are great for cleaning up,there will be accidents and messes but most are easily fixed,I used to find my cat was vomiting a lot and it was because she was constipated and straining was causing her to be sick,it was much better after I stopped the dry food.

    I hope your cat stays well and happy for a long time yet,I believe you will know when she has no quality of life.

    Charlie x.
  • MiróMiró Forumite
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    My cat Nutmeg lived to the age of 19 but went slowly downhill during the last couple of years with mobility and kidney problems. She had a good appetite, (special kidney food), but was dreadfully skinny. It was not so noticeable til you touched her as she was a very floofy tortoiseshell. She seemed to find it painful to be picked up so we just gently scritched and stroked her when she wanted attention. We trimmed her nether regions when she started to get a bit smelly and used unscented baby wipes for clean ups. She still liked to go outside but never ventured far from home. We built small wooden ramps to help her get up steps and placed furniture so she could get to the windowsill easily to chitter at the birds. Se seemed to enjoy life right to the end when she just faded away one night. She was my best ever cat :A
  • Lily-LuLily-Lu Forumite
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    I would take to her the vet for a general MOT. She could have arthritis and find stepping into a litter tray, painful. She could have bouts of constipation, so poos outside the tray because she thinks the tray is the cause of pain or discomfort. Not cleaning themselves can be a sign of feeling unwell (even having worms can cause it) or it could be too painful to bend and clean herself.
  • TripleHTripleH Forumite
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    What cat litter do you use?

    We have recently switched to paper pellets which are much easier on the feet, or even wood pellets which are better as they turn to sawdust (for walking on, pain for dust).

    I guess if they are happy and appear to still be enjoying life, that is what you can hope for.
    Wherever you go, whatever you do Richard Marx is right there waiting for you.

    Sweet dreams!
  • maisie_catmaisie_cat Forumite
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    We have a 19 year and I constantly worry, she is skinny but the vet says she's in good health for her age.She can't get into a litter tray so we've opted for puppy pads, she is used to where they are and will tell me when she's used them!. I know it's not very green but I can keep an eye on her "doings" . I do need to bottom wipe occasionally, clean ears and claws etc.
    She does have dried food around 40-50% and a variety of wet with gravy, salmon and chicken that I make her and a tiny bit of creme fraiche. She seems happy, spends most of her time on a lap or under a duvet, or weather permitting in a sunspot on the deck. She is deaf and hasn't the best eyesight but I am content that she is happy. If I felt that wasn't the case then I know I would have to make a decision for her sake.
    An elderly madam is more work but it is very rewarding, there are more cuddles than when they are younger.
  • TripleHTripleH Forumite
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    maisie_cat wrote: »
    An elderly madam is more work but it is very rewarding, there are more cuddles than when they are younger.

    Good grief!! our younger two are cuddle obsessed. The youngest will climb into bed with us and sleeps until about 2pm during the week. His sister has started sleeping in a little ball on my arm when in bed. Both will stay pretty much all night.

    Our older cat will come up for a cuddle then wanders off to hunt her toy rats.
    Wherever you go, whatever you do Richard Marx is right there waiting for you.

    Sweet dreams!
  • Fire_FoxFire_Fox Forumite
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    What medical condition is the drug meloxicam (brand Loxicam) prescribed for? Osteoarthritis or something else? Does she already have a couple of heat pads or flectabeds or similar?
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  • AlikayAlikay Forumite
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    Thanks for the replies - some useful tips there.

    She doesn't use a litter tray - we live adjacent to fields and a wooded area and she goes there, and will only use a litter tray if she can't go outside (deep snow or when she's at the catteries). No problems with toileting at all actually. The Loxicom helps with her mobility: Without it she struggles to get onto furniture and groom herself, but on a low dose of it, she's much happier and can still jump onto the gate. and climb on the sofa and chairs and sit looking out of the window. Age related arthritis is the diagnosis.

    We have been to the vet today, and vet thinks the recent decline is due to her teeth and gums being in bad condition, and she's lost a bit more weight in the 6 weeks since last consultation. We've decided to have the the dental work done, and if she doesn't make it through the anaesthetic, so be it: At least we've tried. Vet is running a few pre-op tests to check that she has a reasonable change of pulling through, otherwise it's just a case of caring for her until quality of life seems to be going downhill.

    Despite her seeming a bit of-colour lately, she still managed to chase an intruding cat across two gardens and leapt up onto a 5ft fence where she sat yowling and hissing until it slunk off! Hopefully she'll survive the treatment and have a few more happy months! Thanks all.
  • tealadytealady Forumite
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    Alikay you sound like a great owner.
    Any chance of a pic of your fur baby?
    Find out who you are and do that on purpose (thanks to Owain Wyn Jones quoting Dolly Parton)
  • hb2hb2 Forumite
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    I know how worrying it can be when an older cat has an anaesthetic, but it does sound as if she really needs the dental work. I hope that everything goes well and you will be able to enjoy her for a while longer.

    My oldest cat was 20, we had lost her litter-mate the previous year.
    It's not difficult!
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