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Why do REALLY old cats looks so decrepit?!

(23 Posts)

I'm currently looking after DD2's best friend's family cat..away for the long weekend.
I had never met him before but offered as they were desperate. Went into today to feed him and give him some attention and ...oh boy.

He's 20...and looks it. I know he is well cared for and very much loved, but he is thin and tatty looking..just looks ancient! He can't see well and had crapped (twice) on the outside of the litter tray but ate fine, purred incredibly loudly and was happy to have me sit and cuddle him for 20 minutes. A dear old boy, but honestly looks like a poster for neglected moggies even though I KNOW he is not..has regular check ups etc.

Why do they get so raggy and skinny when old?

cozietoesie Thu 30-Apr-15 23:42:56

The muscle mass seems to go (hence the skinniness) but their coat benefits from some assists with grooming. (Seniorboy is arthritic and while he can manage his 'personal' washing, he can't really twist to do enough of the rest. He only looks fairly sleek because I help him.) Do they groom him?

MissingKittyCat Thu 30-Apr-15 23:45:51

I have taken to grooming our old boy. He looks bedraggled and grey before. I couldn't afford the furminator that MN raves about so have it a shot with a fine toothed human comb. He now looks sleek, glossy black and beautiful. A full cats worth of hair came off him the first time! I've only been doing it for a few weeks after reading about the benefits on here. Truly amazing. A different BoyCat.

MissingKittyCat Thu 30-Apr-15 23:46:11


cozietoesie Thu 30-Apr-15 23:47:37

PS - the pooing on the outside of the litter tray is likely because he's still trying to be clean (so is going to his tray) but no longer has the muscle strength in his back legs to really direct the poo on the litter. One of those things. I put some opened out broadsheets under and round the trays to catch any strays from Seniorboy.

RubbishMantra Fri 01-May-15 12:34:05

Probably the same reason I am getting old and decrepit - because I'm getting old sad grin

RubbishMantra Fri 01-May-15 12:35:24

* not getting, looking

hesterton Fri 01-May-15 12:39:05

My mum's late cat (died at 22) looked like she'd been buried and then dug up a week later. Twice. Her meow was not of this earth - think exorcist. But she was a great old girl and did her best to stay clean and sociableto the end.

cozietoesie Fri 01-May-15 12:44:12



Poor lass!

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 01-May-15 12:46:31

He is the equivalent of a 100 year old person.

I might see if he'd let me give him a gentle comb through this evening when I go in (he was still alive this morning thank God grin)

I also need to find some newspaper to put under the tray...I think he totters in the sticks his bum over the side!

On a side the furminator REALLY good? I have just ordered one from Amazon as Obie and Ophie are a bag of moulting knots and my knot splitter just isn't doing the job.

CatWomantotheRescue Fri 01-May-15 16:36:26

Furminators are great for young, healthy cats but can be too harsh against an older cat's more sensitive skin.

ragged Fri 01-May-15 16:50:10

Sometimes it's kidney failure, also if they have very bad teeth (due to neck lesions) they can find it hard to eat.

My beloved ginger cat Patrick was like this, skin and bone but a purr like a jet engine. He had thyroid problems before he died at 19.

A neighbour's elderly cat, similarly scrawny, wears a tag on his collar reading 'I am not ill, please don"t take me to the vet' wink

cozietoesie Fri 01-May-15 17:23:29

I use a sort of brush-comb thing on Seniorboy. (I think they're called styling brushes or something - I'll see if I can find a photo.) I hear people praise the Furminator but he's used to his grooming brush and in his case the act of grooming (Love from Mummy!) and the pleasurable sensations are as important as getting out the loose hair. It doesn't need to be wildly efficient because it's part of his nightly love-in.

Having said which, Seniorboy has been accustomed to more-or-less nightly grooming and use of this brush for many years so I don't know what starting afresh with an elderly cat would be like. (Or ones with long hair like the O's have.)

cozietoesie Fri 01-May-15 17:27:00

Sorry - it's actually known as a 'Backcombing brush'. Here are some pictures.

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 01-May-15 17:52:04

Zoom grooms are good for short hairs apparently, they look really gentle too.

RubbishMantra Fri 01-May-15 21:30:31

I now have images of SeniorBoy demanding more and more elaborate hairstyles. And that you backcomb his hair to make it more "fulsome". grin

I got a ZoomGroom. MCat hisses at it, and it pulls out Little Monsieur's hair.

This type are better tolerated.

villainousbroodmare Fri 01-May-15 21:34:34

Loss of ability and interest in self-grooming is a big one, plus loss of subcutaneous fat and often borderline dehydration conspire to make their ancient skin and coat look gruesome.
Essential fatty acids (think fish oils) and soft grooming help.

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 01-May-15 22:07:04

In that case I know how they feel. Cba myself some days.

Corygal Fri 01-May-15 22:20:08

I don't know, but The Original Cory, my fantastic, vast ginger mog, lived till he was 21. Was family cat, lived with my parents. He went down from 20lb to 4lb and looked shit. Cat out of the Living Dead - like bad taxidermy that's had mice. Not that I cared - was always most beautiful cat in world to me - but he scared the life out of other people. He had thyroid problems but stayed clean and sane till the end.

About 6 weeks before he died, one thing happened - he got drenched in violent rain and just didn't have the strength to flee the storm. He looked so awful when he got in I thought he was going to snuff it on the spot and fainted (to be screamed at by my mother). But I dried him and kept awake next to him all night, because I'd lit the fire to warm him and he kept trying to climb into it. It worked and he recovered fine! At that stage I was grooming him daily but he was so skinny you had to do it really gently.

TOC died of a heart attack perfectly peacefully 6 weeks later. 20 years on people still email me with their 'reminiscences' - he once got plastered on liver marinading in aquavit, punched my dad in the face with a balled paw, kicked my brother's bike over in the hall and passed out on his back on the doormat so no one could go in or out for a whole day. I daren't begin to describe the behaviour during the hangover.

LOL Corygal... he sounds AWESOME!!!!!!! I'd love to see a hungover cat... mine have enough attitude sober!

My Step mum's cat Nellie made it to 23! When she finally died, curled up in her favourite spot under the bay window, Stepmum left her there for 24 hours to be she had looked dead so often she felt she'd better just make sure she really was!!!

RubbishMantra Sat 02-May-15 00:02:32

Haha, cat running amok, throwing drunken punches, and kicking things over in a nihilistic tantrum of random anger.

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