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Rescued elderly cat

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone, Sorry this is so long, but I hope I can get some advice from you! At the beginning of March, I took in a very sick, elderly female cat that someone dumped. I took her to the local vet (that the animal control warden usually takes strays to) and they were sure they couldn't find a home for her in the condition she was in (and because she was so old--they think she's at least 14). She had an extremely severe upper respiratory infection. I didn't think it was right to have to put the cat to sleep if she was able to recover, so I had them test her to make sure she didn't have other problems like leukemia. She didn't even have any kidney problems! I brought her home and treated her for several weeks for her respiratory infection. I didn't bring her in the house because I already have five cats in the house that I didn't want to spread her infection to, so I had her out in the mobile home I have for my chickens. Her infection seems to finally be cleared up, so I brought her in the house this weekend and have her in a room separate from my other cats. Here's the problem. I don't know what her condition was before she was dumped, but she is now apparently completely deaf and mostly blind--possibly from the infection. Had she known her way around my house before, she might be able to get around. But she really doesn't move around much--she eats and drinks and finds the litter box, then goes to sleep in her large crate. I tried to introduce one of my cats to her, but she doesn't even realize another cat is there. (Of course the other cat was spitting, hissing, and growling!) I give her as much love and attention as I can, but I wonder if I did her a favor in getting her "well." I don't see how I could ever let the other cats near her and I wonder if she's really having any quality of life in her present state. Have I done the wrong thing for this cat? I've become extremely attached to her and I only want to do what's best for her. Does anyone have any suggestions of anything else I can do to help her enjoy life? Or suggestions for anything else at all I could/should do for her? Thanks so much for any help you can offer!
post #2 of 11
What a wonderful person you are to rescue this poor old cat.

I think you did the exact perfect thing in having her treated and in bringing her into your home. Now, what you need to do is a very slow and careful introduction of her to the rest of the cats.

For now, just leave her in "her" room by herself. Don't yet bring in the other cats. Do start introducing her to the others by sharing her scent with them. Rub her with a towel and then rub the others with the towel so they will get used to her smell. Also, take another cloth and rub her down real good and then place this cloth under the food bowls that the others eat out of. Do this for about a week. Also, rub the others with a towel and then rub her with it so she starts to learn their smells as well.

After a week of separation, let the others into her room. BUT, the instant they come in, give them and the new cat a big treat (like some tuna). After they have their treat, play the other cats favorite games with them while they are in the room with her. What you want to do is to have them associate good things (food, tuna, fun) with her scent and with the sight of her. I think you will find that because she is a big mellow cat, the others will get used to her quickly.

Good luck and give this old lady a good scratch under the chin for me.
post #3 of 11
Sounds like you have done what is best for her..You took her in and are caring for her.....That is very nice of you....

By the way, I am from Arkansas too.....
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for your replies!

I've been "passing" scents along on both sides since I brought her home! I'm just afraid she's going to be swiped at by the other cats (you know how cats are!) and be confused because she won't know where it's coming from (or why). I hate to subject her to anymore undue stress! I guess we'll have to take it slow and see what happens!

Rock&Fluff'smom: where in Arkansas? I'm in Fayetteville!
post #5 of 11
It isn't likely that an upper respitory infection has caused both deafness and blindness. Has the vet seen her to reasses her after the intial exam?

Because she is blind, you need to limit her world to a very small area at a time, one room at first. Put a slab of board across the doorway, one you can step over easily, but that if she comes up to it, it will stop her. Make sure the room is fairly clear of obstacles, put out a litterbox, and her food and water all in the same area (but not close to each other. Be sure that you keep the bowls and the pan in the same place and get her accustomed to the regularity of her world.

Take some vanilla extract and put a small dab on each cat, on their chins and right at the base of the tail. Because she is scent driven, you have to make her world smell about the same, and if she smells like the other cats then they will accept her better as well.

Bless you for taking her in, she really isn't that old though, and it is good of you not to give up on her. I would take her to the vet and have a full work-up done on her though, as I said, it really would have to have been a massive infection to have caused deafness and blindness. It is likely she has been deaf and blind for a long time, and she was just to sick for you to notice, and probably why she was dumped so late in her life.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hissy, thanks for the reply (love your username!)!

She really had quite a severe infection. I actually thought she had been hit by a car in the face by the way she looked when I took her to the vet--her nose and mouth looked bloody and her one eye was a horrible mess. But she was able to navigate through the brush and trees before I caught her. The vet did do a CBC on her and has seen her for a follow-up visit. Of course, no one can tell for sure when she developed the blindness. I think she can see shadows out of her one good eye because she can tell when I walk in the room, as long as I'm close enough to her!

I love the vanilla idea! I'm going to try that!

I know 14 doesn't seem old, until you see this poor girl! Two of my five cats are 18 (or older) and they both look younger than this one. She doesn't wander more than a few feet from her surroundings and doesn't appear to want to go any further than that. I just hope she's somehow happy, in her condition, and knows that she is cared for and loved.
post #7 of 11
Sounds to me like she did get hit by a car, which would explain the blindness and deafness and the blood. Or a bicycle or skateboard hit her. I am glad you saved her nonetheless, good luck with her.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
No, that's what I thought too. But it wasn't blood--just a mass of gook and ooze from her nose from the infection. Probably dried, caked, and dirty. And her one messed up eye was (sorry to be gross) filled with pus and runny and looked opaque (like it was blind). We treated that eye with drops and the eye is clear now (even looks almost normal), but she doesn't see out of it. As severe as the infection was, who knows what damage it may have caused. The vet even used one of those little gadgets with a camera on the end to check down her mouth and throat to make sure she hadn't been hit.
post #9 of 11
Rock&Fluff'smom: where in Arkansas? I'm in Fayetteville!
we are neighbors!! I am in Springdale..
post #10 of 11
In all honesty I think you did a great thing. As for her quality of life - think of it this way most animal lovers will treat their pets just like they treat another human being, and just like a person just because she is blind and deaf doesn't mean she can't enjoy life. It is just about enjoying life on their level.

I would find out when she enjoys after she's all healthy. Is she a lap cat? Give her plenty of pets then! Does she like playing? She might not be able to see a ball, or hear a bell but I bet a feather still can be used as a playable toy if used correctly but I'd start out slow. And in the end I am sure that just being in a place where she is warm and comfortable and loved in her own way is better then what she had before.
post #11 of 11
I was curious about the URI possibly causing those symptoms, so I asked a cyber friend who is a vet tech and quite knowledgeable- here is Traci's reply:

Not unless the infection were so severe as to cause neuro signs or that another viral was a secondary factor. For example, a pseudomona, these may progress, are difficult to treat/heal and can cause other problems. A pseudomona left undetected is bad news. Polyps in the ear or ruptured eardrum should be ruled out, MA, please tell your visitor that. I'd also rule out other possible causes, by a pro feline specialist. (investigate medications given too)
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