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Senior cat started howling. Help!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Background :
My cat Tinkerbell is just about 19 years old. We think that she's blind since she bumps into things, gets lost in the house, runs into our other cat etc. She also has pancreatitus (sp?) and has special food. My mom makes cloth tubes filled with polyester fiberfill and catnip for Christmas persents every year.

Problem :
For the last few weeks she will walk over to her toy basket, take a toy in her mouth and start howling. She walks around the living room, puts down the toy and goes for another one. And the process repeats until all the toys are on the floor and she is still howling.

Since she's playing with the toys my dad says he doesn't think she hurts. (I'm up at college by the way) She does it at night mostly, but my dad said she did it during the day last week.

Anyone have any ideas? We've had her since I was 3 and I'm worried about her.
post #2 of 14
She could be getting senile. Or she might know that her time is short.

DH's dog (before Keno) was about 12 years old (lab mix) and one night we had a "ghost" dog call her outside. Was really weird cause it was right by our window in the bedroom - we thought someone forgot to let Diamond back inside. So DH got up to check. Diamond was sound asleep in the hallway - no where near a door/window. He let her out and she took off running to the hill - refused for a few mins to pay attention to commands of Come here (something she would normally instantly obey).

The next morning DH walked around to our bedroom window and found dog footprints in the snow - but it was NOT from Diamond - it had snowed during the nite and Diamond was not even on that side of the house - but the footprints were there.

We think she was being called home (Rainbow Bridge) because she got hit by a car about 3-4 weeks after that happened.
post #3 of 14
were you at home before the semester started? If so, she could be missing you. If not, are their any toys missing from the basket. Has she recently lost a toy that used to be in that basket? If not that either then perhaps she is just getting senile. If this behavior continues and you can think of no reason then a check up at the vet may be in order. You never know, she might be experiencing some discomfort. Keep us posted, I am interested to in hearing more.
post #4 of 14
When my mother's cat (a 9-year-old domestic longhair) thinks she is left all alone in the house, she will do something similar. She picks up a toy and walks around with it in her mouth, meowing the entire time. However, the moment a person or the dog appears, she will stop. I'm not really sure what could be going on in your situation. Tinkerbell is quite old for a cat, and it could be senility or confusion, especially if she is blind. She might also be missing you, particularly if you have not been gone that long. There could also be some underlying medical condition.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
I don't think she's missing me. This is my 3rd semester away and I was still home on semester break when she started.

She doesn't usually play with any toys very often at all anymore, just the basic eat, sleep and litter box.

We spent $1,000 on her a few years ago when we found out that she had pancreatitus. We really don't have the money for a vet bill right now.

She only howls with the toy in her mouth... Maybe she is just getting weird in her old age.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions.

Oh, She knows there are people in the house. My parents have reached the point where they yell at her to stop. They both talk to her or pick her up or pet her when she does it, but as soon as they move away she's at it again...
post #7 of 14
What she's doing is what a lot of cats do (only they generally just 'do' one toy at a time). My Pandy has a toy mouse which we're careful to replace each time so she knows where it is, but she'll talk to it, then carry it in to see us making funny sounds the whole time.. it's either 'prey', a kitten or trade for food, we just haven't figured out which one yet. Your cat sounds senile and just going through motions. I wouldn't be concerned if she's otherwise healthy. I would be careful about changing her 1' high environment any more than necessary, however.
post #8 of 14
My mom and my oldest cat tippy does this with one toy. She picks it up and carries it around and howls. Then she puts it down and stops. We call it her "baby" she is very protective of this toy.
post #9 of 14
Beavis does this. Hes an 18 yr old cat whose bloodwork is normal. He will drag/carry around anything soft. Sometimes its my kids stuffed animals but most of the time its their dirty clothes. We had to buy laundry baskets with lids because he was getting into the dirty laundry at nite and while we were away at work and dragging them all over the house. He does this just about any time of the day or nite but especially when the lights are out and the house is quiet. Its crazy. I can clean my house at nite before bed and have everything put up and when i wake up the next morn he has crap strewed everywhere!

A cat vet told me it was just old cat syndrome that all old cats do it but i think he may be going senile. hes never been a nice kitty and will bite without warning or prompting.
post #10 of 14
One of the great cat mysteries. I have always had cats that did that. Currently two of mine do that - one with a rolled up sock and the other with a toy mouse. Welcome to the site!
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all the imput everyone. We'll keep an eye on her just in case.

Thanks again for your help.
post #12 of 14
My 14 year old does that too, but she has been doing that for over two years and she's pretty healthy. She has her favorite toys she 'talks' too.

Just keep tabs on her and have a senior screening and a senior blood panel done on her soon if it hasn't already been done within the last year.
post #13 of 14
I call is "senioritis " not senility but just senior kittys acting like senior humans do
post #14 of 14
Bless her heart... please give Tinkerbelle a snuggle from me!
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