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Older cat getting stiff when trying to wash

(23 Posts)
roundandroundthehouses Tue 08-Nov-16 12:52:27

Our cat is about 14 (former farm cat so we're not entirely sure). Rural outdoor cat all her life and very territorial, so has been in a fair fights over the years and I imagine these have left her with one or two 'twinges'. However, she doesn't seem to be in pain - contrary to what I've been told about other cats, she has always made it very obvious when something is hurting her.

She now mostly stays indoors, has retired from hunting and is more ginger jumping up and down from high places, but is still pretty much the same as she always was. However, when she's trying to wash she's struggling to reach the very lowest part of her back - tends to arrange herself to do it, turn round and round a bit and then give up. She can wash all her other bits, including the traditional leg-hitch.

She's the oldest cat I've ever had so I'm not sure how to deal with older cats getting stiffer. Not the cuddliest but I could maybe have a go at brushing her if she can't manage it herself, although I'm not sure she'd cooperate. Does anyone have recommendations for cat brushes, or other help we could give?

ittybittyluna Tue 08-Nov-16 12:58:01

I have a FURminator and it's great. I also have a mit with nobbles on it to groom my old street cat when he lets me.

I arrange the groomer for a client who mentioned that cats tend to get less fastidious about washing as they get older which is why you should encourage your cat to enjoy the grooming process from a young age so you can take over as they get older. This was for long haired cats particularly.

It does make sense though if you take into account age related dental/mouth issues and joint stiffness.

roundandroundthehouses Tue 08-Nov-16 13:00:52

Thanks, itty. I've never heard of a FURminator but will look it up - likewise the nobbly mit! She's smooth-haired so not masses of fluff to deal with. She does jump on a knee for a stroke from time to time, so it's definitely worth a try, but she is deeply suspicious of anything unfamiliar!

ittybittyluna Tue 08-Nov-16 13:03:57

Sounds like Humphrey! He is deeply suspicious of most things, however once his head is stuck in a bowl of food you can pretty much do what you like to him wink

Wolfiefan Tue 08-Nov-16 13:05:43

I would visit the vet. Being "ginger" about jumping from high places does suggest pain. She may need pain meds. Our old girl also had a heated whelping pad which helped.

roundandroundthehouses Tue 08-Nov-16 13:08:25

I might at least give the vet a call. She gets horribly stressed in the cat box and in the vet's - howls and scrabbles all the time - so I've been trying to avoid taking her. A heated pad sounds good - she sleeps on a huge beanbag next to a radiator so is all enveloped and toasty as we speak smile

roundandroundthehouses Tue 08-Nov-16 13:10:20

Can a cat be on long-term pain meds? She's been given Metacam in the past for fight injuries, but only for a few days at a time.

Wolfiefan Tue 08-Nov-16 13:12:35

Yes. Our girl couldn't actually take metacam due to stomach issues but was on tramadol.
Whelping pads can be microwaveable but ours was like a little electric blanket with a plug. Just had to remember to switch off at night!

roundandroundthehouses Tue 08-Nov-16 13:27:16

Thanks, Wolfie! I'll have a look for heat pads and a chat with the vet.

roundandroundthehouses Tue 08-Nov-16 13:30:28

Also - here she is, with thanks for the advice smile

cozietoesie Tue 08-Nov-16 14:03:28

Have a read of this.

cozietoesie Tue 08-Nov-16 14:07:51

PS- my own boy - who is older than your girl - has very severe arthritis and he's been on meloxicam for some years. (Precisely dosed and with food.) He now also has supplementary pain meds as needed but then he's most elderly.

I have to groom him and nip the tips of his claws because he can no longer manage either, properly.

Heat is the real biggie for his old bones, though. smile

TheSpottedZebra Tue 08-Nov-16 14:11:51

I'm actually not sure about the furminator - I think the do more harm then good. They are quite harsh, and rip out so much of the undercoat. I do have one, but have stopped using it on my elderly cats. Instead, I just use a plain comb, and one of those mitts with rubber tips.

And I might buy one of those zoom groom things too, perhaps: zoom groom

cozietoesie Tue 08-Nov-16 14:17:49

I use a 'brush-comb'. Nothing against a Furminator, it's just what we're used to. (I think they're referred to on-line as 'dressing combs' or something.)

He's very sleek haired but I still get a tremendous amount of hair out over time and he likes the attention. (It's more of a series of caresses than a hard brush that I do.)

Oh - and he doesn't seem to have hairballs either, which is a benefit.

roundandroundthehouses Tue 08-Nov-16 14:20:28

Thanks for the link, cozie - and it describes her exactly, poor creature. I'm going to ask the vet's advice about the pain - see if they need to examine her before booking her in as we try to avoid trips to the vet wherever possible. Will also make some investigation of the best/most tolerable types of brush/combs. One of those mitts might be the best thing to start with, as she's used to being petted with our hands.

cozietoesie Tue 08-Nov-16 14:28:00

I can't imagine that they won't want to see her - certainly before prescribing anything if they do. Vets usually have rules about seeing animals before prescribing - within 6 months, say - and the meds mentioned are serious compounds. Weight and dosage have to be calibrated etc.

Good luck to her. I think she'll feel a lot better after treatment. smile

roundandroundthehouses Tue 08-Nov-16 14:31:00

I hope so smile

roundandroundthehouses Fri 11-Nov-16 11:51:38

As suspected, a touch of arthritis in the hips and lower spine. She'll be on painkillers long-term, starting off with a higher dose then dropping to maintenance depending on how she is. They've taken a blood test to make sure her kidneys can tolerate it (meaning I had to get a bandage off her leg when we got home). I'll get her a grooming mitt as well so she should soon be as good as new smile.

cozietoesie Fri 11-Nov-16 12:30:03

Well very good luck to her. Here's hoping that the pain meds are going to be fine. smile (My understanding is that while there's the odd cat that just can't tolerate them, the huge majority of cats do fine on them.) My own boy - much older than your cat - has been on them long term now.

cozietoesie Fri 11-Nov-16 12:30:43

PS - remember the heat. smile

cozietoesie Fri 11-Nov-16 12:34:36

PPS - you might find this old thread interesting, particularly the posts by Lone.


roundandroundthehouses Sat 12-Nov-16 11:30:36

Thanks, cozie smile

roundandroundthehouses Sat 12-Nov-16 11:33:19

Goodness, cozie - I've seen Seniorboy mentioned a few times on other threads, but had no idea he was as old as that. He's obviously in excellent hands and I really appreciate your advice flowers

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