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Hi! Advice for a new member with an old cat?  

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm Hannah and this is my very first post! I have a few questions for those out there with experience with elderly cats. My cat Mokie is, as far as we know, between 17 and 19 years old (he was a young stray when we got him). He has hyperthyroidism, which he takes Methimazole for. His hearing isn't great and we know he must have arthritis. However, he seems to be fairly comfortable for an older cat. My mom has always taken care of his vet visits, etc. but it has become clear to me that she isn't willing to do much more than put down food once a day, pill him, and take him to the vet once a year.

What can I do to make him more comfortable? He doesn't groom himself anymore, and he hates being groomed--we have to hold him down to brush him. Last time we took him to the groomer he peed all over everyone and himself. The vet says he's too old to safely go under anesthetic to have his teeth cleaned anymore, we used to have him groomed when he was still woozy from his cleaning. His nails were really overgrown, but with dutiful clipping over the past month or so, they are back down to about normal (I don't think he can retract his claws very well).

Also, I have just started giving him a fiber supplement and adding some Omega-3 fish oil to his moist food. He's pretty skinny, and he doesn't eat much, even when we tempt him with 'people food.' He seems to prefer eating small meals often, so I am trying to provide that opportunity.

Is there anything else I can be doing, diet-wise to help him out? Any tips for making grooming a less-painful experience? And what about the arthritis, are there any herbal/home remedies anyone has had success with there?

Thanks! Sorry for the long post!

Hannah
post #2 of 16
Has he had a senior blood panel?
My 17 year old cat has arthritis.
I can not remember the name of the medicine she had for arthritis before.
Do you have any pictures of him?
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hope this works, I'm still kind of new about posting pictures.

http://c3.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/i...e99c43a6d2.jpg

He had a blood panel done when they found out he had hyperthyroidism, which was what they suspected. Arthritis shows up in blood work?
post #4 of 16
You need xrays for that.
He is a pretty cat.
My Coco only weighs 6.4 pounds now and she shrunk.
post #5 of 16
When a cat gets as old as yours is, there are a lot of things that they don't tolerate as well as when they were younger, like grooming. I have a grooming mitt that I use on my older ones. They have nubs to help groom them, and you slide it over your hand and pet them so they just feel that you are loving on them. I had a 17 year old that got really excited when I'd pull it out to use on her. My friend (in the Kansas City area) does Tellington Touch massage therapy and recommended this mitt to me. This is the one I use - it's made for use on horses, but cats love them:

https://www.saddleandtackwarehouse.c...sp?item_id=363

Some people find that cosequin for cats will help with arthritis. I don't have an arthiritic cat so can't vouch for that.

If you live in Kansas City, have you been to Brookside Barkery? There's one in Brookside, Olathe and Lee's Summit. They carry a lot of hollistic products for pet health, and have fixed me up with natural joint relief products for my dog. Their Brookside location has the best selection for cat items and the owner hangs up there more so than the other stores, and she has incredible knowledge about her products. If you don't talk to her, ask to talk to the person with the most knowledge about those types of products. I'm not one to promote pet stores, but this one is really better than others.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
Some people find that cosequin for cats will help with arthritis. I don't have an arthiritic cat so can't vouch for that.

If you live in Kansas City, have you been to Brookside Barkery? There's one in Brookside, Olathe and Lee's Summit. They carry a lot of hollistic products for pet health, and have fixed me up with natural joint relief products for my dog. Their Brookside location has the best selection for cat items and the owner hangs up there more so than the other stores, and she has incredible knowledge about her products. If you don't talk to her, ask to talk to the person with the most knowledge about those types of products. I'm not one to promote pet stores, but this one is really better than others.
Wow, thank you! I wasn't sure about the whole Glucosamine/Cosequin/chondroiton thing. I live right close to Brookside, only about 10min away. I will stop by and ask someone, the owner if possible, what would be best to relieve Mokie's joint pain. He's so creaky! Thank you so much!
post #7 of 16
The current Cat Fancy (September, with a Russian Blue on the cover) has articles on senior cats and ways to make their later years easier, and an article on arthritis and diets & supplements which may help ease the pain. They're more overview articles, but Cat Fancy seems to be a pretty easy magazine to find in most public libraries or bookstores, if you just want to take a look. This issue also had the 'oldest cat' contest results - the oldest was 30, and the honorable mention was 23!

The articles do suggest keeping in touch with the vet when adding supplements, etc. I know my vet recommends twice yearly visits for the 'mature' kitties, since things can develop so quickly at their age.

Good luck with your kitty - and bless you for helping your mom out with the care and loving.
post #8 of 16
I haven't noticed any of that with my 13 year-old lil' lady. All I do is feed senior wet and senior dry, along with an oil supplement and sometimes senior supplements. Even though I have a senior kitty, I'm afraid I'm not so much help with this.

I did have a 10 year-old (Trixie) about a year back, before I adopted my current senior. I only had her for like 6 months or so, but during that time she was really hard to keep semi-healthy. She hated eating, because she knew that eating would just make her throw up. I tried EVERY trick in the book for feeding, even tried grinding up dry food and watering it down or mixing it with wet. I had to force-feed her baby food once and awhile. She was always skinny, looked like a mini-bag of bones. Trixie constantly had diarrhea. She was creaky as well, and I did give her senior kitty vitamins and supplements, but those had to be forced as well. It got to the point where I had to decide what was really in her best interest. Would she have wanted to have kept on living and suffering like this? No. I wanted her to be happy and comfortable. Unfortunately with her I didn't get the chance to know what she was like when she was younger, so I never knew what "normal" was for her. I eventually had to put her down (in my arms, extremely peacefully 4 her) because she was just not getting any better, just worse and worse with no exact reason why she was always so sick.

I do have a tip for brushing that is pain-free. Well, actually two tips. It sounds like he doesn't like to eat too much, typical with a lot of older cats. Therefore, he's probably kinda skinny and boney. If this is the case, it would make sense why he doesn't like to be groomed anymore. What I did with Trixie was get one of those grooming mits/gloves and a baby brush. The baby brush may not be extremely effective, but at that age it's best to do whatever you can without hurting the cat. Even though it's an extremely soft baby brush, it is still something. Trixie didn't seem to mind these two things, because nothing hard was rubbing on her bones.

I think any pet owner always needs to keep in mind the well-being of their animal. What would they want? What they need is much more important than what we want. I know in the case of Trixie I had to let her go, for her sake (I'm not at all telling you to put your cats to sleep, by any means). You know what they were like when they were younger, and I think it's best to compare how their lives are now compared to the "younger years". Are they happy? Do they improve with treatment?

Sounds like you're doing everything in your power to make their last years the best possible!
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks, mismaris. My mom had been mentioning having him put down, but now that I've recently moved back home and started helping with his care, she seems less inclined towards the idea. Mum was just tired of having to do it all, I guess. I would certainly be considering that, too, if it seemed like he was in pain. Mokie is rheumy and arthritic and deaf as a post...but he still loves kitty treats and begs at the dinner table, jumps up on the computer desk (even though his landings aren't very graceful anymore) and occasionally is in a cuddly enough mood to purr while being snuggled.

Mokie has never been a very demonstrative cat, and his tolerance of being touched/petted/groomed has declined further over the years. I think it's true about his skinniness making brushing uncomfortable--he's especially uncomfortable with having us brush around his pelvis, which sticks out like butterfly wings. Unfortunately, this is where his fur is thickest and longest, so it needs to be groomed with a long-tooth comb or pin-type brush. Brushing with a soft brush or mitt only grooms the surface, and he's had mats develop in his undercoat before.
post #10 of 16
You're such a good daughter - and maybe things were getting a bit much for your mom on her own. Do you think it's possible for you to make an appointment with the vet, either with mom or on your own, to discuss all the alternatives for Mokie, including ideas for grooming and which supplements you'd like to add, and see if the vet has some ideas? Sometimes it's a lot for one person to take in during a visit - maybe another set of human ears would be a good idea.

What kind of food are you using - I'd certianly chat with the vet first, but I've been transitioning mine to a senior indoor food (even though they're just starting to hit those mature years) to get some of the supplements Momof Many mentioned - there's a lot of ways to approach the whole situation, but I can see that Mokie has a home with a lot of love and attention, and that's the most important thing, I think.
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Awww, shucks. *blushing*

The main thing is, I moved back in with my Mom because I ran out of money to live on my own/with equally broke boyfriend. (cough) So I don't really have money to spare for an extra vet visit. I thought I might be able to scrape enough together for a few supplements, though.

Mum usually buys whatever's cheapest at the grocery store, usually the house brand. AAFCO certified and that, but it makes me wonder...in fact, I have heard that recent research into cats with hyperthyroidism have linked the disease to tinned cat food. Unfortunately for Mokie, he already has the condition so I doubt it makes any difference in our case.

I made a run to Petco last week, spent 45 minutes perusing the organic/holistic section, and finally settled on some dry food, "Spot's Stew sensitive formula for cats" by Halo. It has no gluten, wheat, or corn. Mokie and our other cat, Mischief, vomit at the slightest provocation, so I thought 'sensitive formula' sounded hopeful. I also got a few cans of "Natural Balance" wet food, which is also gluten-free and boasts of 'limited ingredients.' I myself try not to eat anything I can't pronounce or identify in nature, so I suppose I go for the same for pets!

I hope the fiber supplement is making them more comfortable--as the weather is nice, they go outside more often than using their box.
post #12 of 16
Just a thought - and especially if your mom and Mokie have been long-term clients at the vet - maybe call and see how much a discussion/appointment would be, just to see. Or maybe the vet could do a phone talk, without charge, about supplements and dosages, just so you could get her take on it before you buy. It might be a lot less expensive than you think, and the vet might be thrilled to talk with a 'good' pet parent. My Dharma recently had an anal infusion done when she had a dental exam (yes, being out does help in conducting a really full exam with my little girl) and they asked that I bring her back in a month for a check-up. So, of course I did, especially since I couldn't get her full course of Clavomox down her.

Can you believe the vet actually thanked me for bringing her back! And the whole charge, for a 20-minute check up and talk, was $20. and I had gotten free advice on my phone calls during Dharma's recuperation, when I was panicky about no daily poop! I mean, I know $20 is $20 - but I was expecting a lot more pain in the wallet. And I really got the impression that vets will tend to go out of their way for their regular clients and those who really care about their pets. And they know times are tight.

I've seen that story about the canned cat food and possible links. It's so frustrating that there's been so little really long-term research into foods and formulas, of any types - then again, less than a generation ago you rarely heard of cats making it into their teens, so I guess we're still in the exploration age. And, heck, we don't know all that much about human diets yet, for all the five million trendy diets out there!
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by darlili View Post
Just a thought - and especially if your mom and Mokie have been long-term clients at the vet - maybe call and see how much a discussion/appointment would be, just to see. Or maybe the vet could do a phone talk, without charge, about supplements and dosages, just so you could get her take on it before you buy. It might be a lot less expensive than you think, and the vet might be thrilled to talk with a 'good' pet parent. My Dharma recently had an anal infusion done when she had a dental exam (yes, being out does help in conducting a really full exam with my little girl) and they asked that I bring her back in a month for a check-up. So, of course I did, especially since I couldn't get her full course of Clavomox down her.

Can you believe the vet actually thanked me for bringing her back! And the whole charge, for a 20-minute check up and talk, was $20. and I had gotten free advice on my phone calls during Dharma's recuperation, when I was panicky about no daily poop! I mean, I know $20 is $20 - but I was expecting a lot more pain in the wallet. And I really got the impression that vets will tend to go out of their way for their regular clients and those who really care about their pets. And they know times are tight.

I've seen that story about the canned cat food and possible links. It's so frustrating that there's been so little really long-term research into foods and formulas, of any types - then again, less than a generation ago you rarely heard of cats making it into their teens, so I guess we're still in the exploration age. And, heck, we don't know all that much about human diets yet, for all the five million trendy diets out there!
You know, when I was living with my boyfriend about a year ago, a scrawny juvenile marmalade Tom showed up on our front porch and would not leave. We couldn't keep him as our roommate had allergies, so I took "Thomas Magnum" to the low-cost clinic for shots and neutering and conducted a massive advertising campaign on campus at my college. We found him a home, and the whole shebang at the vet only cost I think about $60.

I just worry--my mom lives in a pretty affluent area and I doubt the vet is used to people who actually need bargains (although I can tell you from my job in foodservice, even the richest-rich will try to scam their way out of paying a few bucks!) However, you're right--it doesn't cost anything to ask.

I've seen moist cat food in pouches, and that's what we fed Thomas during his short stay on our front porch, but Mokie and Mischief just lick up the gravy and leave the nuggets. So we have to get the ground-up kind of moist food, the pate. As far as diets go, I have to agree that since cats are not granovores in nature, grains have no place in their diets. I found another kind of moist food that is 95% meat--can't wait to have them try it!
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi, everybody I know it's been awhile. Just wanted to thank everyone for their good advice and their time regarding Mokie's health. Mokie didn't come home for dinner one night last October, and we never saw him again. We figured he knew it was his time, and he did what animals do--he went somewhere private. We alerted the neighbors but no one found his remains either. I guess animals have the best instinct for finding a place like that when it's their time.

The thing that makes me believe it was Mokie's time, rather than him having been abducted or whatnot, is that our other cat, Mischief, wanted nothing to do with him starting about 48 hours before his disappearance. If he came in the room where she was, she would hiss and spit at him like she was really scared, and run away. She knew he was dying. Funny how we humans have lost these instincts with our domesticity, and cats haven't.

So thanks again, just wanted to kind of bring this post to a close as it were, it was nice to go back and see the nice things y'all said about me being a good mommy and whatnot.
post #15 of 16
I am so sorry for your loss... RIP Mokie
post #16 of 16
I will now close this thread since poor Mokie has most likely passed to the Rainbow Bridge

Feel free to put a tribute thread to Mokie up in the Rainbow Bridge forum
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