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Senior cat getting worse

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I adopted a wonderful senior cat four years ago. He was friendly,social and was an active member of the family. He would jump up on high places and was a sweet boy. About a year ago he suddenly became withdrawn and scared of everything including his human family. All he does now is to stay inside his carrier all the time. I have spent big bucks at the university animal hospital and all of his tests are normal. They can find absolutely nothing physically wrong with him. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 8
How old is he? My girl lived to almost 20, but when she was about 17, she became noticeably quieter and slept much more, so it may be normal aging.

Do you have other pets? If so, they might be too much for him now that he's aged, and that's what he's frightened of. My girl was an "only," but it was very obvious in her later years that she wanted to be left alone most of the time.

Finally, if none of this seems likely and you know that physically he's fine, you might consider talking to an animal behaviorist. You vet should be able to help you locate one. Some of them are vets who specialize in behavior issues, and they can be very helpful.
post #3 of 8
I thought I'd posted this yesterday, but I guess I didn't! LOL

Has your cat been checked for arthritis? When my older kitty started acting like this, she was diagnosed with arthritis. I started giving her Cosequin once a day and she now runs around and jumps up on high surfaces like a younger cat.

Also, did they run a senior blood panel to check for thyroid problems and kidney problems?
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks HappilyRetired and Stephanietx. I think he is about 15 years old. Unfortunately, there are no animal behaviorists in my area. Yes, he did have a senior blood panel for thyroid and kidney. He has had a complete neurological and cardiac work up. I really don't know if he was ever checked for arthritis. I think I'll call my vet and see. Thanks so much.
post #5 of 8
It wouldn't surprise me if he did have arthritis with his age. I know that before I started Callie on Cosequin, she didn't want to move or jump. Walking was difficult for her, too. She preferred to stay put.

You might try putting a heating pad set on low wrapped in a towel then put a towel on top of that in his carrier. The heat will help loosen up the muscles and help him move easier. If you don't have a heating pad, or feel uncomfortable using one with him, you can always pour some raw rice in a sock, tie off the top, warm it up in the microwave for about 2 minutes then place it where he can snuggle up to it.

Also, you might want to post your problem over in the Health & Nutrition forum where more people might see it and offer more info and help.
post #6 of 8
You said he had a neurological work up? Hmmmm.... I saw a story on Animal Planet once about an older cat a family adopted - who ended up having a sort of kitty dementia. She sometimes acted like she didn't know her family, if she left the "safe" space they made for her in the kitchen she would freeze - and cry and cry because she was "lost." It was really sad. So I would have to wonder b/c you said he seems afraid of you guys all of a sudden and hides in his carrier.
I see a couple of signs here in the article above.

More info:
10 Clues that Your Cat Has Dementia
1. Spatial disorientation or confusion - getting trapped in corners or forgetting the location of the litter box. House-soiling is the most common reason for referral of old cats to animal behaviouralists.

2. Altered relationships either with their owners or other pets in the household - increased attention seeking or aggression

3. Increased irritability or anxiety, or decreased response to stimuli

4. Changes in sleeping patterns

5. Inappropriate vocalisation such as loud crying at night

6. Loss of memory, such as forgetting commands or breaking house training

7. Changes in activity - aimless wandering or pacing, or reduced activity

8. Lack of interest in food, although some cats actually want more food.

9. Decreased grooming

10. Confusion about time, such as forgetting that they have just been fed

I'm not saying this is the case, but if there are no OTHER PHYSICAL problems, such as arthritis, then maybe this is something worth looking into.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks so very much Stephanietx and AddieBee. I will certainly try out these ideas. I could get him a heating pad. Wow!!! My mother has alzheimer's disease. I wonder if my cat has it too? I will definately have to have him checked for both arthritis and alzheimer's.
post #8 of 8
Im glad your cat has such a loving and caring home
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