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Need advice on elderly cat care - emaciated himalayan

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
My grandmother recently had to start living in a nursing home, and as the only other option was to put her 18 year old Himalayan "Bubba" to sleep, I decided to bring him home with me. He is seriously underweight (1-2 on the 1-9 scale) and has really major problems with matted fur, particularly around his backside. Now, I know his matted fur is largely due to my grandmother's inability to brush him regularly for the past couple years due to deteriorating eyesight and mobility.

She had this horrid tendency (as it appears a lot of 92 year old cat owners do...) to feed him the worst possible food nutrition-wise. Boiled chicken legs, skin-on. I finally got her to stop doing that, but the damage had already been done. Bubba currently weighs 5.5lbs, and this with 1/2 of his body hair shaved. I feel nervous about touching him at all.

What can I do to get him back to something resembling better health? The vet has told me to get him checked for thyroid problems, and I intend to do so this week. But I need to figure a way to get more nutrition into him without my own cat (Moril, an 8 year old tabby) gaining any as well. Fortunately the cats get along fine - Moril isn't aggressive, and Bubba's... well. Ancient.

I'm currently having to administer antibiotics twice daily from an eyedropper, and this all while Bubba is in the new-home-lets-hide-now stage. Hauling him out of hiding spaces is definitely -not- my idea of a way to bond with the cat, especially when I'm paranoid I'll break him.

Any ideas?
post #2 of 5
Poor Bubba,

I would take him to the vet and have blood panels drawn on him. Because of the inadequate diet the hair matting can be an indication of a more serious problem than just no grooming time.

With the elderly cats there is always the possibility of internal organ damage when they are fed the best of foods! I would also get a bottle of pedialyte and start adding it to his water, as well as getting a tube of nutrical so he can get some nutrients in him. If he has fleas, he could also be anemic, another danger.

Good luck!
post #3 of 5

I sent this post to a wonderful lady who helps us out quite a bit in the forums, she will be here guest hosting the first two weeks in July to help promote her new book The Complete Care for Your Aging Cat. Her name is Amy Shojai- at any rate here is her reply:

Oh the poor baby! Bless this lady for bringing Bubba into her house.

I'd get this kitty on a canned kitten food, asap--maybe run it in the blender with warm chicken broth (to help transition from the chicken only diet). Kitten food has much higher calories and in the short term can really help these underweight guys gain back their losses. Nutrical is also helpful, if he'll take it. Like the new owner, I'm reluctant to stress Bubba too much with over-handling or forcing meds when he's not yet bonded/transitioned. A/D food (prescription from the vet) is also excellent--sort of pudding consistency, and very high calorie--but is more expensive. The blood panel will help, as well as checking for thyroid problems.

Have her check out www.kittycafe.com where she can either buy the product, or make one, to help with keeping the two cats' meals separate. Basically this is a box with a hole cut in sized to the smaller cat--Bubba can fit inside to eat his special food, but Moril can't.

Also I know that kittycafe.com is under construction right now- but bookmark it and keep checking back it should be finished soon.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks a bunch for the advice, and for relaying that on to the person that'll be writing here later on. The only thing that could be a problem is that I'm not a lady, I'm a guy.

I'll be getting some kitten food for him and trying that ASAP, the only problem now is that Bubba seems to have pulled one heck of a Houdini move... I haven't been able to find him -anyplace- since last night's medicating, and the door to the apartment has only been open twice since that time - when I left for work, and when I came home. I'm sure he'll be around here someplace.
post #5 of 5
No advice here, but I just want to thank you for giving this little guy a chance. Bless you! I hope that he gets healthy & happy ASAP!
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