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Adopting a Senior Kitty

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
My stepmother's been trying to find homes for for several pets left behind after a friend's death (a pomeranian, an Amstaff, an elderly corgi and a 12-year old kitty named Salty). So far, she found a home for the elderly corgi, and folks to help foster the pom and the Amstaff. But she couldn't find a home for the cat and the woman who is currently fostering the cat is moving to a place she can't take him. He would have to be locked away in part of my parents house and they own 3 large dogs--2 of which are cat-agressive. So yesterday I decided to adopt him after my fi and I move next month.

Here's the questions- My stepmom thinks he's twelve, but she doesn't know for sure. Is there any way to find out really how old he is? I know that cats can live into their late teens and 20s.

I've lived with cats before, but I've never had the honor of growing up with one who made it to his golden years--this also the first cat I've had a cat in my adulthood. Is there any health concerns that I should look out for as he's getting older?

My stepmom is having him vet-checked and is getting his initial vax (very kind of her).

We have 2 pomeranians and some small pets. Luckily, Salty is used to dogs (his late owner was an agility trainer) and he is used to living indoors. I've never had the honor to own an inside kitty (my folks are very "old school" about their cat care) but always believed they are best off that way.

What should I do to prepare for his arrival and what kinds of toys are good toys to keep indoor cats entertained?

Also, what is a great cat food for senior kitties?

post #2 of 12
Ok Royal Canin makes a food called Senior 26 and i like Royal Canin i feed it to my 2 kittens. It's pricey but worth it.As far as telling his age the vet should be able to take a closer guess.
post #3 of 12
Welcome! You're so sweet for taking on a senior kitty, and caring enough to get online to search out info for him!! How wonderful. You definitely found the right place to get answers, start with the whole section of "Our Feline Companions", I've found the "Sharing Golden Moments" forum very informative.

The other members can answer your questions better than me, but I wanted to say "Hi! and what a great thing to do".
post #4 of 12
First I want to say welcome to this site and want to say congrats to your senior cat . I lost a 15 year old Persian last year due to his 2nd stroke . I was feeding my Persian Nutro . But I am sure you will look into all aspect of food to make up your mind .You can try to give him some catnip toys to see if he still like to play . Also each cat is differend , there are some in that age and still act like a young cat and then there are other cats they are more of the relaxed cats . I guess you really have to see how he is . Good luck with him and keep us posted .
post #5 of 12
Hello, welcome, and what a wonderful thing you are doing in providing that senior kitty with a loving home!

This link may be helpful to you - it's my vet's page on Senior Cats:

I also recommend the "Sharing Golden Moments" forum, and Amy Shojai's book "Complete Care for Your Aging Cat".

You're starting him out on the right foot with a vet visit. It's a good idea to do a "geriatric profile" exam & bloodwork at least once a year on a senior cat. A vet visit twice a year is a good idea to catch any potential problems early, when they're most treatable. Your vet can give you a guideline for him once he's gotten a general idea of his health. The oldest cat I've ever had personally lived to be 17, but I've seen them as old as 25. Felixia, my 14+? year old former stray is still quite playful and healthy. I feed my cats Science Diet Senior formula hairball control diet, and a teaspoon or so of the Science Diet Senior canned food every day. But any premium food for senior cats should be OK - you can ask your vet for a recommendation. If you can, try to find out what he's been eating, and if you don't want to stick with that, buy some of his old food and some of his new & start mixing gradually. Sudden changes in diet can sometimes cause stomach upset.

You can also get some good ideas on introducing a new pet to your home in the Behavior forum and here: http://www.thecatsite.com/cat_behavi...=introductions

There is also good info about cat boxes, caring for an indoor cat, and lots more in the Care & Grooming forums.

Best Wishes!
post #6 of 12
welcome girlie!

I moved your thread to the proper forum. it was tough though because i wasn't sure if i should move it to health & nutrition (IE what kind of cat food should you feed) or behavior (IE what kind of toys should you have etc.) since most ot he same people frequent both i flipped a coin

good luck and bless you for giving a loving home to an older kitty!
post #7 of 12
Welcome and bless you for giving a senior cat a home and a chance at life! May you and he enjoy many happy, healthy years together!
post #8 of 12
Firstly - Congradulations and thank you for adopting a senior kitty. That was very sweet of you.

Secondly - there are many good foods out there for senior cats - from both lite to normal for designed for elder kitties as well as special diets for those with illnesses and allergies.

As for the toys, its pretty open and trial and error for the kitty. Feathers and wands toys are pretty popular with many cat owners, as are mice and interactive,and self-playing toys so you will have to see what Salty likes.

The most important thing is to interact with Salty.

I too have adopted 2 senior kitties last year from a local shelter (Sphinx - 17 years old DSH male Russian Blue/Siamese mix and Kuce - 10-12 year old DMH Calico Van pattern Female).

Good luck with Salty and keep us up-to-date on how things go.

post #9 of 12
I wish I had some good advice to offer, but my two kitties are young and like you I've never lived with a senior kitty before. But I would like to congratulate you for opening up your home and heart to a senior kitty who needs you.
post #10 of 12
that is great that you decided to give this kitty a home!
12 is still pretty young, if he is indeed 12

i have a roughly 20yr old boy i got from the shelter a few months ago, and there are a few things about older cats you may be interested to know

the advice you got already about having the senior blood panel done is good, it will establish a baseline and may find something early while it is much easier to treat.

older kitties may tend to drink more and pee a little bit more, but if kitty is peeing and drinking a lot more, take him to the vet- there are several things that can cause that, from urinary tract problems to hyperthyroidism to diabetes, etc
all of those things are treatable

older kitties often lose some of their sense of smell, and so if you feed canned food, heating it up a bit may help, or if he is having trouble with his teeth you can add a little bit of water to the food to make it easier to eat.

older kitties also gradually lose their hearing and sometimes, not as commonly, their vision. if they are used to their surroundings they will adapt so well you may never even notice

older cats, esp those over 15- tend to yowl loudly at times for no apparent reason. they can get disoriented and may need more frequent reassurance that you are there and they are safe (they get a bit senile) they may forget to use the litter box or have trouble getting in and out of it, esp if they have arthritis

older kitties tend to like to have you sit with them while they eat!!
consider it a nice break from other activities..

and they often prefer smaller more frequent meals

they will want to find the warmest spots to sleep and will sleep a lot more than a younger cat- and can also sleep much more deeply- so d eeply that they drool. also it is distressing to them to be woken up suddenly when they are in this deep sleep so try to avoid it if you can

oh dear, i am sure there is more but that is all i can think of for now
of course every cat is different and many people see very little difference between their younger cats and their older ones!

all the best to you and your 'baby'!!
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you, Everyone, for the wonderful advice! It's so nice to find a friendly forum like this, and I'm amazed how some of you have "herds" of kitties (and I thought FOUR cats was a lot--LOL).

I will definitly check out the other sections to this Forum - especially Sharing Golden Moments, and I'll get the book, Complete Care for Your Aging Cat, too.

Currently, it looks like Salty is going to be eating Back to Basics Natural cat food. My stepmother decided to wean him onto it from Iams. Iams was making the poor guy sick, and if the new food works for him I'll probably keep him on it. She's also feeding him canned (not sure what kind yet) because it seems to help increase his appetite. I think it's very much like what Catnapt said. His sense of smell is going and he needs someone to be with him while he eats.

When I met Salty, I fell in love. I have owned enough pets, and know it is something special when an animal instantly connects with you. As soon as I entered the room he was staying in, Salty instantly walked right up and sat on my lap. He's very talkative and if there's anything appears "elderly" about him, it's his voice. He has quite a husky meow, but I LOVE IT.

I think he is part..or maybe full...Maine Coon cat. I'll post a picture up when I get one. He has b/w longish fur, GIANT paws, and a tail to make my sugar gliders jealous. He is very large, but quite underweight (only 9 pounds).

He went to his first vet appointment today. When we get him home, we'll be having a full geriatric checkup appointment for him. So far, he received a very clean bill of health, except the vet told my stepmother that she was being very generous with guestimating his age. Salty is actually 15+ years.

This does not bother me, though. After seeing Salty today, all I can say is if I look that good when I'm at the equivalent of 15 in cat years, I'm gonna be one happy healthy woman! Aside from needing of some TLC, he looks very young and he's so sweet. He is energetic and his eyes are full of life!

Thank you once again, everyone! I look forward to getting to know you better and will keep updates about Salty here.
post #12 of 12
You and I seem to be in the same boat!! I've just adopted a 15+?? year old neutered male Maine Coon cat who is deaf,a bit senile and wobbly and very, very malnourished.
I am trying to acclimate him to my 10 year old neutered male Morgan. As of now, 2 days into it, it's not going well! Lots of hissing and Lucky as tried to attack Morgan.
I've gotten some advice here and am going to try. I'm new to the site, and am desperate. I feel so bad for Lucky--he's been abandoned and he's just an old man. I hope it works out.
Good luck and I'll be praying for you.

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