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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After the big scare my cat gave us, I was wondering how others have lived the old age of their beloved feline. Looking back, I realize that of course, the cat was getting older and a bit stiffer and slower. Now she's outright fragile it seems. She still jumps on beds and couches, goes up stairs, eats, drinks, pees and wants to go out all the time, but we have to watch her much better since she tires easily and does not have good reflexes anymore in regard to cars etc. The cat is 15 and it seems the slowing down was suddenly accelerated (maybe by the recent seizure she had ?). The vet recommends to keep her indoors at this stage but she wants to go out so much, I walked around the block with her last night. Just like a dog. She was exhausted in the end and I carried her for a bit though. I am thinking of getting her a small leash with harness, would that make sense ? It would give me more control of her outside ventures... We have been giving her "senior" cat food for a few years now and also some normal stuff and she does not seem to have any digestive problems. It's more neuromotor stuff apparently (for now). I think as long as she can shuffle about and get up beds and chairs, she's OK though.<br><br>
Any experience to share ?<br><br>
Thanks !
 

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Mine is 19 and still going strong albeit a little slower.<br><br>
She is on arthritis medication which has helped her immensely but still, when she goes up to her sunshine perch (top of cat stand) back in the day she would just launch herself straight to the top from the floor in one leap, these days it's kind of a three part expedition.
 

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my cat was 24 when she died last month. she def got crankier in her 20s - she wanted food NOW, stroking NOW, going out NOW... i swear she actually got louder the older she got! the last couple of years she started having problems getting on to the sofa, so she would just sit there and demand we picked her up so she could get comfy. she still went out, but never very far unless you went out with her. you can see in the pic that one of her rear legs is held a bit odd - when she was a couple of years old she broke it. although it was fixed, she started having problems with it in the last few months. kinda sad to watch her growing old, but she was spoiled rotten <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><a href="http://cdn.veggieboards.com/6/63/6382f939_vbattach4923.jpeg"><img alt="LL" src="http://cdn.veggieboards.com/6/63/525x525px-LL-6382f939_vbattach4923.jpeg" style="width:525px;height:394px;"></a>
 

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<a href="http://www.veggieboards.com/boards/attachment.php?attachmentid=7677&d=1152154388" target="_blank">My cat</a> died this summer at almost 21.<br><br><br><br>
I found a really good book called <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=veggieboards.com-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FComplete-Care-Your-Aging-Cat%2Fdp%2F0451207882%2Fref%3Dpd_sim_b_2%2F002-7839429-6804005" target="_blank">Complete Care for your Aging Cat</a>.<br><br><br><br>
It's important to take her to the vet as soon as you notice any changes at all. If she is yowling, more active at night, heat seeking, or losing weight, she could have hyperthyroidism-- very common and easily treated. Drinking more water, vomiting, peeing more can be signs of poor kidney function which is also common. My cat had both of these and with treatment, she got at least an extra year of quality life. There is a lot you can do with diet and veterinary care to extend their quality as well as quantity of life.<br><br><br><br>
I put boxes, tubs, anything with grip padding under neath and on top near things she might try to jump up to or down from. She may start to have trouble grooming, so you can use these wipes they sell to clean her fur. I used to comb regularly to prevent mats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks all ! I have noticed several of the changes you mention. The vet took a blood sample and said physiologically she seems very well for her age (no liver or kidney trouble). I'll ask him about the thyroid thing, I have to take her back in a week or two for a parasite treatment. It does seems she's more active at night and she makes more noise ! I have also noticed the grumpier thing, wanting food, strokes, nagging us about it... and that she won't venture in the garden much anymore unless I am there (but she does LOVE the street, which is actually quite dangerous now that she's gotten so slow)... I have also made her access to certain favourite spots easier by putting extra steps in-between a while ago (when I noticed she became stiffer) but as I said, she still jumps on and off beds and goes up and down the stairs no problem.<br><br>
My husband is not happy about the changes, says I seem to find the cat more important than HIM. So silly and self centered. So I guess when he grows old, I will not pamper him like I now do the cat, since he doesn't deserve it ! LOL !
 

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Thalia, my 17 yr old shows all the symptoms of both those. She had blood tests done to check (certainly her kidneys, and I think the other thing too) which came back negative. Given that she had to be tranquilized for that blood test, and was stressed for days afterwards, I would prefer not to put her through it again unnecessarily. Was wondering if you could provide more information though about how dangerous it is if left untreated so I can decide whether it might be worth sending her back for re-testing, cos whilst sometimes she goes off her food for days, her eating is much better than it used to be and she hasnt put any weight back on.
 

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Oh, also meant to reply to OP, IMO the most important thing you can do for your elderly cat is keep an eye on its weight. Too heavy and the arthritic joints are under stress, too thin and they lack energy reserves if they get sick, and cant keep warm as easily. Mine hates senior food (infact currently will only eat kitten food from tins) so gets whatever she will eat (including having her own personal chicken cooked weekly in our vegetarian household--and she doesnt like the free range ones. Would love to get her back on proper food).<br><br>
Also minimising stress is good by not making major household changes if you can help it. Think mine started to look elderly at about the time the rabbit moved in with us. She still goes out and fights the local cats (which Im sure is stressful for her, but cant be stopped without keeping her in, and she seems to deliberatley misunderstand the concept of litter trays in those circumstances).<br><br>
Tried a harness on her once in her youth (mainly experimentally as there was no purpose for it) and she nearly killed herself trying to squirm out of it, and then me when I tried to take it off (so basically what Im saying is good idea in theory, but in practice needs doing very carefully, and there is the possiblity it could get very stressed by it (I think whether or not it is a good idea depends on your cats personality, which you are in the best position to judge).
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>queenarmadillo</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Thalia, my 17 yr old shows all the symptoms of both those. She had blood tests done to check (certainly her kidneys, and I think the other thing too) which came back negative. Given that she had to be tranquilized for that blood test, and was stressed for days afterwards, I would prefer not to put her through it again unnecessarily. Was wondering if you could provide more information though about how dangerous it is if left untreated so I can decide whether it might be worth sending her back for re-testing, cos whilst sometimes she goes off her food for days, her eating is much better than it used to be and she hasnt put any weight back on.</div>
</div>
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I think my cat's TSH (what they would usually test for) wasn't actually out of range, and I don't think the T4 (another, additional test they usually don't do) wasn't too bad either. However, because she had the symptoms and could not afford to lose weight (and her values had shifted over time), they started her on meds (just a small drop of liquid medicine in her food each day) and she improved. Make sure to specifically ask about thyroid. I think it's bad for their heart, blood pressure, and will cause them to permanently lose weight over time. Plus, they have to eat more protein to maintain weight, and more protein means worse for kidneys in the long run (which will go bad eventually if a cat gets old enough). I think all of the organs can be affected by it. Ironically, thyroid treatment can also decrease kidney function, because it decreases blood flow to kidneys, but my vet still felt it was important to treat it.
 
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