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our cat is getting old

(10 Posts)
tatt Tue 24-May-05 09:48:32

although she's been slowing down for a while suddenly she seems to have become old. She is a rescue cat, believed to be 11, She's using her litter tray instead of going outside and will come in to use it. Also quieter, she's always been very active in good weather but she's lying by radiators more. No sign of anything to account for this except that she doesn't like her stomach being held, but she's always been a bit touchy about that. Any signs I should look for to detect illness as opposed to old age?

Mothernature Tue 24-May-05 10:25:41

How to Care for an Aging Cat
Life expectancy in cats has risen dramatically during the past few years. It is not uncommon for a cat to reach 18 to 20 years of age and they are middle-aged by their eighth birthday. Awareness of the needs of your older feline friend makes caring for her easier, enhances your experience and increases the quality of life she will enjoy.

1. Maintain a close relationship with your vet. Be certain he is aware of the rapid advances in this expanding area of veterinary medical knowledge. Some veterinarians specialize in care of geriatric cats.

2. Visit your vet at least once a year for recomended vaccinations and a complete physical examination including a urinalsis, fecal exam and blood workup.

3. Allow preventitve health maintainence proceedures to be preformed as recomended.

4. Recognize the importance of clean teeth and healthy gums. Preventitive dental health care has been a key contributor to the increase in quality and length of life in cats.

5. Be absolutly certain that she is parasite free - no fleas or worms allowed. Your veterinarian will know what is safe and effective for older cats.

6. Provide a diet formulated to meet the requirements of older cats. Nutritional requirements begin to change when your cat reaches about eight years of age.

7. Add extra fiber (one-half teaspoon of psylium fiber) to her diet each day, helping to prevent hair balls and improve overall digestive function.

8. Use suppliments such as chondroitin sulfate, antioxidents and glucosamine to help slow the aging process, the onset of joint disease and resulting inactivity.

9. Recognize that older cats love to be warm and comfy. Provide her with a heat source, like a heating pad set on low, throughout the year, not just when you think it's cold.

10. Realize cats, especially old cats, like their privacy. Provide them a place to take an uninterrupted catnap away from the kids and other pets.

11. Groom her daily to keep her coat shinny and prevent her from ingesting hair when she grooms herself. Older cats may not be as fastidious as when they are young.

12. Prevent her from becoming overweight by encouraging exercise and feeding a proper diet.

13. Keep her indoors for health and safty resons especially after she reaches 12 years of age.

14. Continue to play with and hold her each day. Cats love attention and your touch will let her know you that you still love and care for her.

Expect your cat to live a long time. Remember, you often get what you wish for and the personality of an older cat is very rewarding.

Giving aged cats attention.
Older cats prefer not to be disturbed during the day. I have found that they enjoy sleeping in the day, and getting attention at night. Interrupting your cat's sleep can lead to stress and grumpy attitudes.

My own cat is now in her 18th year she was an indirect wedding present, one of our aunts gave us money as part of a wedding gift and she was the result...


tatt Tue 24-May-05 10:34:41

she does see the vet for immunisation once a year and she had her teeth cleaned at our old vet about a year ago. She's a very fussy eater so adding things to her food isn't really an option. Getting tablets down her involves a blanket, two of us and a large pack of plasters for the scratches. I like the idea of the heat pad, I was thinking of having an oilfilled radiator on just for her but a heating pad would take less space

006 Tue 24-May-05 11:24:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

otto Tue 24-May-05 11:36:20

It could be that she's older than you think, or she may be ill, or both.

I've got two rescue cats and it turns out that one of them is much older than we thought and has become quite ill over the last year. It's all very sad.

tatt Tue 24-May-05 11:58:26

the estimate was a vet's based on the condition of her teeth when she was found. We used to wonder if she was really younger than that as she played chasing her tail like a kitten. All we can say for sure is that we've had her 8+ years so she definitely isn't a young cat Just feel she isn't right but can't really afford to take her to the vet when there's nothing obviously wrong.

The heat pads I've just looked up are only designed to use for a maxium of 3 hours so think I'll have to go back to a radiator, or an electric blanket

otto Tue 24-May-05 12:03:17

If you take her to the vet then they will carry out expensive tests and if they do find something wrong then there is very little they can do anyway. Do you have pet insurance?

tatt Tue 24-May-05 12:17:56

No, we don't have insurance. I've just googled for heat pads and discovered a microwaveable one that lasts 12 hours Of course she never sleeps in the same place twice at the moment but maybe she'd use her pad with a heat pad in it

scotlou Tue 24-May-05 12:36:23

Is she eating? My cat (also a rescue cat) is approx. 14 years old and last year suddenly stopped eating and went from being very active to very sleepy and listless.
We took her to the vet who suspected a liver tumour and thought she would need to be put to sleep. Happily though after being kept in on a drip and medication she pulled through and the liver returned to normal.. She's now back to being a very active cat.

tatt Wed 25-May-05 06:19:50

she's always faddy about food and walked away from some chicken, normally a favourite, which was partly why I was worried, But she seems to be eating again now. Had a look at the cost of insurance and it would cost £135 a year for a policy with a £50 excess. Very few companies insure cats over 11 and I'm not sure how they deal with cats whose age is uncertain. Not really worth taking out.

We have suspected before that she suffers from hayfever so maybe she'll pick up in a month or two.

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