Elderly FIV positive cat(8 Posts)
My lovely cat is probably about 14. I got him from the CPL when he was around 2 although they couldn't be certain. When the CPL found him they tested him for FIV and sadly he was found to be positive. I was told that he'd probably only live for 2-3 years due to this diagnosis but he's proved them wrong! In the last few weeks he's become gradually more scrawny even though his appetite is reasonable. He's also a bit arthritic looking in his back legs. That said, he's his normal chirpy, purry self and despite looking a bit stiff can easily jump on to the sofa or our bed. I've got a vets appointment for next week just to give him the once over although I think that the chances are it's all mostly age related . In the meantime, I was wondering if any of you had similar experiences and if you have your elderly / FIV cats any supplements? Sorry for the rambly post!
That is a very fine age for a cat who is FIV positive!
My elderly boy (18) is not FIV but is a bit arthritic and was having some problems pooing so he's now on daily NSAIDs and laxative which has improved his situation greatly. I have a feeling that FIV sometimes decreases the reaction to NSAIDs for relief but that might be something to talk to the vet about. Yes they do have the potential for kidney damage with long term use but at your boy's age, I guess it's a quality of life issue rather than vastly extended years.
Like yours, my boy is also a little light - he's allowed to eat at will and his appetite seems reasonable but the weight was very slowly coming off him which I also think is age related. He only has about four teeth left so was on a wet pouch diet only and couldn't eat biscuits because they were too large for him. I've just recently discovered a smaller version of dry called 'crunch' which he now gets for supper and is proving extremely popular. I think some of the weight is going back on him.
Good luck at the vets next week.
Thank you so much Cozie that's hugely helpful. Wow! your cat is 18! That's fantastic. . I'm very proud of my lovely boy, he's the nicest car I've ever had, I don't think he's ever scratched or bitten anyone even when I cut his claws or groom him (which he hates but being part Maine Coon he needs regularly). Where do you get the Crunch biscuits from? It's interesting you mention biscuits because my boy loves them even though he has a predominantly wet diet. However, I've noticed lately that he's barely eating any of them. Like your cat, he has lost a few teeth as FIV cats are even more predisposed to dental problems. I'm definitely going to raise the NSAID possibility with the vet as I really think his hips are giving him a bit of gyp! I couldn't agree with you more about quality of life vs quantity: when I first got him I swore that I'd never 'over treat' him in terms of his FIV but that I'd rather he had a few lovely years rather than lots of uncomfortable ones. The first vet I ever saw was mad keen on putting him on some trial anti retrovirals from the US. No way! I work in healthcare and I've seen how rubbish HIV treatment can make people feel, and they can make informed choices. Happily, my boy seems to have had quality and quantity so whatever the vet says I'm very happy. Thanks loads for you advice!
I've had at least ten elderly FIV cats and all of them have lived to ripe old ages and have died of things unrelated to FIV (heart problems/stroke/ kidneys/ cancer). So I'm not really in a position to advise as being FIV positive doesn't ever seem to have adversely affected any cat I've had.
The 'crunch' bits are Whiskas - not a brand I normally use but they seem to be the only ones who have them. Large supermarkets or online shopping should have them in - they come in a tub with a 'cat shaped lid'! and are actually called Crunch! (There seem to be several cat-lidded tubs for sale on online shopping but I've not tried the others.)
Might be a good idea (as always) to get his teeth looked at next week when you go? Age in a cat is, sadly, often associated with dental problems and it can really effect them and their eating habits.
Best of luck with the vet. Your lad sounds like a real honey.
PS - the NSAID Seniorboy gets is a liquid added to his food so no nasty pills to try and get down.
I'm going to get some of those Crunch thingies tomorrow, Cozie I bet my boy will love them! Do you give your cat any supplements for his arthritis? I do poach him fish a couple of times a week and I wonder if extra oils would be beneficial.
Thecatneuterer It's great to hear about your many elderly FIV cats. The first time I took mine to the vet (about 2 weeks after I got him, just for a check up) he was very gloomy about his prospects. Ha! 12 years later...... Our current vet thinks he's wonderful even though he's only been a handful of times and mainly for dental issues. So far, he's not had any confirmed FIV - related illnesses. I'm really hoping that his slight skinniness is mostly an age issue. We think he's about 14 but he maybe anything up to about 15/16.
I don't actually give him anything in the way of complementary or food supplements. He's a dreadfully pernickety eater (doesn't like fish taste for instance) so I confess to sticking with the semi-winning formula. The NSAID and the electric blanket seem to be working fine between them and I also make him do exercise by deliberately arranging food, trays and my presence on different floors of the house so that he has to go up and down stairs a lot.
Warmth seems to be good for him (viz electric blanket) so that may be something to keep an eye on.
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