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New cat owner - 3 questions

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi all! I proudly inherited my Grandmother's 11 year old tabby cat in the beginning of January and have been having an awesome time! Reggie is a larger cat, weighing in at 23.3lb when I first started taking care of him. After being on a Purina OM food change he has been doing great, losing over 1.4lb since then.

I do have a few quick questions:

I had him groomed in the beginning of January since he had never had a bath and his coat was looking a bit rough. The grooming came out great and he's looked like a million bucks! One thing I've noticed though in the past few weeks is that he seems to have some dandruff. It begins on the middle of his back and goes down to his tail. I can brush and wipe it off but the next day it is back just as bad. I've searched this site and can't seem to find an answer, so I'm asking, is there anything I can do to help this? Giving him a bath myself is probably out of the question but is there any other type of product that can help?

Secondly, Reggie does something weird from time to time. While mostly he will cover up his "waste" completely and so you can almost not even see it, sometimes he will leave his "waste" right on top of the litter, uncovered or touched. Is this normal? It happens only about once or twice every 2 weeks but it's odd. The other day I walked in and he even had 2 "droppings" right on the outside of the litter box, almost like he had squatted on the edge and missed. In visiting my Grandma and taking care of Reggie sometimes over the past 11 years I've never seen him do anything outside his box so this makes me curious. It's probably no big deal but I wanted to check.

Lately, since I got him I've noticed a small little ball of skin below his left ear. When I say small I mean like half the size of the nonwriting end of a ball point pen. It's like a little bump of skin. It might be getting a tiny bit larger over time but I'm not entirely sure. Is this worth taking Reggie in to the vet to get looked at or not? I'm not hot on spending money for someone to tell me it's no big deal but on the other hand if it is something I will get it taken care of asap.

Sorry for the long post! Everything's going great so far and I'm loving being a cat owner (dog owner for past 14 years), I just would like some feedback if anyone has any for my concerns. This is a great site and has helped me a ton so far!

Here's a quick photo of the tiger:
http://www.scottmiga.com/reggie4.jpg

Thanks!
Scott
post #2 of 18
The dandruff could be from the food or the bath. Bathing dries out the skin.
You could buy a better quality of food, Purina is just so-so. Try something like Nutro Natural or Royal Canin for senior cats.

For the litter habits, older cats sometime just don't cover their waste anymore. If he is the only cat in the house, he doesn't need to bother. My senior cat doesn't do it either. Only occationally.

For the ball of skin, I have no idea what it is but if the cat is 11 years old, he should go in for a senior panel I think it is called. They will do all the bloodwork and tests to make sure he is still healthy and progressing in his senior years well. Meanwhile you can ask the vet about the ball of skin.
post #3 of 18
I second Jen's advice on a better quality food and a visit to the vet for a senior blood panel. The bump would concern me and is best left to the professional opinion of your vet.

Older kitties, especially those under stress (new environment can cause stress) can sometimes be a bit off in their habits, so I wouldn't worry too much about the little litter box accidents, but I would mention them to your vet as a matter of course.

Best of luck,

~gf~
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gayef
I second Jen's advice on a better quality food and a visit to the vet for a senior blood panel. The bump would concern me and is best left to the professional opinion of your vet.

Older kitties, especially those under stress (new environment can cause stress) can sometimes be a bit off in their habits, so I wouldn't worry too much about the little litter box accidents, but I would mention them to your vet as a matter of course.

Best of luck,

~gf~
Well, unfortunetly this is what the vet recommended I do for weight loss and to be honest, its working great. They printed out a chart of what exactly he should be weighing as he loses weight and so far he is basically dead on. I'm very pleased with his progress and hope it continues at the healthy level it has. That would be the only reason I am leary of switching foods at this point. The dandruff isn't the end of the world as I usually just brush most of it off and it seems fine until the next day, so what I might do is continue on his current food for a while and see if the dandruff gets better. If after he continues to lose weight and we reach a good level, then I can try different food if he still has the dandruff. Speaking of which, anyone have any recommendations on a good weight? I know it all depends but the information I was given by the vet described everything but what the target weight is. This may be something I can ask the vet when I go.

As for the blood panel, I did take him into the vet when I first got him and the vet did a pretty thorough check of him and didn't find anything except for a slight heart murmor which he has had for years now (possibly due to the excess weight). The vet I took him to was back home, so tomorrow I'll call one up here (Rochester NY) and get setup and ask about the blood panel as well as checking out this bump. Hopefully I won't pay money for a visit that will tell me the same things the other vet told me 2 months ago, but we'll see.

Thanks for the replies! I really appreciate everything!
post #5 of 18
I would do some reading on cat foods, and then talk to your vet about it. A lot of cat food brands, especially the common ones, have things like "meat by-product", and they also have a lot of grains like corn and soy. I was really surprised to learn all this when I came here. Do some reading, and then talk with your vet about choosing a cat food that's healthier but will still help him loose weight. When you switch foods, make the switch slowly so he doesn't have any digestive problems with it.

I don't think there's an "ideal" cat weight, since some cats are small and some are big. One of my girls, Princess, is only 6 pounds, and to be honest, she's a little overweight for her size. Our new boy, Puppy, is only a year old and he's 13 pounds already. And he's not overweight at all. I think you're supposed to be able to barely feel the animals ribs and not see them. They shouldn't have a pouch hanging down, and when you look down on them, they should have some sort of "waist" right before their back legs. Basically, he shouldn't be round.

Do you have a covered litterbox? It will help him go in the litterbox rather than going outside of it, and it keep you from seeing uncovered offerings. Somtimes older cats have issues using covered litterboxes, but some cats prefer them. You can always remove the cover if he starts having issues.

BTW, he's a very pretty boy.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bab-ush-niik
I would do some reading on cat foods, and then talk to your vet about it. A lot of cat food brands, especially the common ones, have things like "meat by-product", and they also have a lot of grains like corn and soy. I was really surprised to learn all this when I came here. Do some reading, and then talk with your vet about choosing a cat food that's healthier but will still help him loose weight. When you switch foods, make the switch slowly so he doesn't have any digestive problems with it.

I don't think there's an "ideal" cat weight, since some cats are small and some are big. One of my girls, Princess, is only 6 pounds, and to be honest, she's a little overweight for her size. Our new boy, Puppy, is only a year old and he's 13 pounds already. And he's not overweight at all. I think you're supposed to be able to barely feel the animals ribs and not see them. They shouldn't have a pouch hanging down, and when you look down on them, they should have some sort of "waist" right before their back legs. Basically, he shouldn't be round.

Do you have a covered litterbox? It will help him go in the litterbox rather than going outside of it, and it keep you from seeing uncovered offerings. Somtimes older cats have issues using covered litterboxes, but some cats prefer them. You can always remove the cover if he starts having issues.

BTW, he's a very pretty boy.
I've set up an appointment at a local vet for tomorrow evening. Heard good things about the place. It's $42 for a normal visit and $96 for a senior blood panel. The woman I spoke with said I might not need the blood panel yet so I'll have to see, but at least they can check out the bump. I'll post a reply when I find out more in case anyone is interested.

And thank you for the complement!
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by suprax
I've set up an appointment at a local vet for tomorrow evening. Heard good things about the place. It's $42 for a normal visit and $96 for a senior blood panel. The woman I spoke with said I might not need the blood panel yet so I'll have to see, but at least they can check out the bump. I'll post a reply when I find out more in case anyone is interested.

And thank you for the complement!
Quick update for anyone interested. Just got home from the vet and it they said it could either be a little wart or ball of fluid. She put a needle in it (Reggie didn't like that) and nothing but a little blood came out so I'm just keeping an eye on it and see if it gets any bigger.

I don't know what people's feelings are on this in here but for $11 I bought a flea mediciation called "Revolution" that I put on even though he is an inside cat. I might do this 2-3 times a year at the most. Can't really hurt him I guess.

I'm also going to stay on his current food for the time being until he reaches a better weight (she suggested maybe around the 15lb mark). Then if the dandruff still exists after Winter I'll look for a different food.

I appreciate all the help given in here and thanks again!

Scott
post #8 of 18
I am so happy to hear that everything is okay!!

Just to let you know, there are MUCH better foods for your cat, even for a cat that needs to lose weight. This site has educated on this subject tremendously. Research some older posts on nutrition and quality foods; you will learn a lot and will quickly switch foods! I did!!
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncarpi75
I am so happy to hear that everything is okay!!

Just to let you know, there are MUCH better foods for your cat, even for a cat that needs to lose weight. This site has educated on this subject tremendously. Research some older posts on nutrition and quality foods; you will learn a lot and will quickly switch foods! I did!!
Yeah I'm sure I'll switch at some point, the only thing I'm nervous about is that I've only had him for about a month and a half now and since everything is going so well right now I'd hate to screw something up. After he's been here a bit longer I'll look into switching, but he's done flawless with his eating, litter box, and losing weight so far.

Thanks for the info!
post #10 of 18
Good luck and please keep us posted!!!
post #11 of 18
Did they pull the blood for the senior panel or did they advise you to wait?

~gf~
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gayef
Did they pull the blood for the senior panel or did they advise you to wait?

~gf~
Well they said they normally do it from 10-12 years old, and since Reggie is 11 and relatively healthy they said it is no problem to wait a bit. I'll probably have it done in a year unless something develops. It's not that I don't want to spend the money but even she agreed that Reggie is doing really well (except for slight heart murmor that he's had for years due to weight). So I'll hold off but have a bunch of information about what they do and cost.
post #13 of 18
Something I was thinking of regarding the dandruff (and also the litter box thing) is that I believe very overweight cats have difficulty grooming themselves - does that sound familiar to anyone? And if he's pretty big, I understand pretty big cats sometimes go part-in part-out of the box! Maybe a larger litter box, but it might get better when he's a little more in control of his weight. Watch that lump, of course, and monitor for any changes. Welcome to kitty ownership!
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kluchetta
Something I was thinking of regarding the dandruff (and also the litter box thing) is that I believe very overweight cats have difficulty grooming themselves - does that sound familiar to anyone? And if he's pretty big, I understand pretty big cats sometimes go part-in part-out of the box! Maybe a larger litter box, but it might get better when he's a little more in control of his weight. Watch that lump, of course, and monitor for any changes. Welcome to kitty ownership!
Yep, you hit the nail on the head with the litter box. With his very old litter box I noticed what he would do is like squat down and put his 2 front legs on the edge of the box and go. Well I went out and bought a new box thats bigger.. almost the biggest they had at the store and he does the same thing in that one too! So I think by habit he does it and once he maybe missed and got it outside.

The vet also suggested that the dandruff is because he can't reach back there completely so I'll be happy with my boy loses some more weight. At this rate he should hit his target weight in a couple months or so!

I've been a dog guy for 12 years now (golden retriever and german shepherd) and having a cat is quite different! Like I read in an email the other day, "dogs have owners, cats have staff"! Reggie is very independent and if he doesn't want to be bothered then he will let you know!! But on the other hand he's a very lovable cat and it's great to have him hop up on my lap and sit with me for hours on end.
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by suprax
Yep, you hit the nail on the head with the litter box. With his very old litter box I noticed what he would do is like squat down and put his 2 front legs on the edge of the box and go. Well I went out and bought a new box thats bigger.. almost the biggest they had at the store and he does the same thing in that one too! So I think by habit he does it and once he maybe missed and got it outside.

The vet also suggested that the dandruff is because he can't reach back there completely so I'll be happy with my boy loses some more weight. At this rate he should hit his target weight in a couple months or so!

I've been a dog guy for 12 years now (golden retriever and german shepherd) and having a cat is quite different! Like I read in an email the other day, "dogs have owners, cats have staff"! Reggie is very independent and if he doesn't want to be bothered then he will let you know!! But on the other hand he's a very lovable cat and it's great to have him hop up on my lap and sit with me for hours on end.
Yes, with dogs you feel like their God, but with cats you have to earn it!
post #16 of 18
Not trying to be alarmist here, but the combination of age, weight issues and dandruff would really move me to go ahead with having the senior panel drawn for analysis.

Out of curiosity, do you find he drinks a lot of water and uses the litter frequently at all? When he visits the litter to urinate, do you find he voids a lot of fluid? Is he always hungry? I dunno ... I just got an old familiar feeling when I read your original post. I would just go ahead and get the blood work done to have that peace of mind.
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by gayef
Not trying to be alarmist here, but the combination of age, weight issues and dandruff would really move me to go ahead with having the senior panel drawn for analysis.

Out of curiosity, do you find he drinks a lot of water and uses the litter frequently at all? When he visits the litter to urinate, do you find he voids a lot of fluid? Is he always hungry? I dunno ... I just got an old familiar feeling when I read your original post. I would just go ahead and get the blood work done to have that peace of mind.
NOT TO MENTION that it is a good idea to have a "baseline" reading of his levels for the future. That way, if everything is "normal" now, in the future that will help you and your vet diagnose problems, and save valuable time if he's ever quite sick.
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by gayef
Not trying to be alarmist here, but the combination of age, weight issues and dandruff would really move me to go ahead with having the senior panel drawn for analysis.

Out of curiosity, do you find he drinks a lot of water and uses the litter frequently at all? When he visits the litter to urinate, do you find he voids a lot of fluid? Is he always hungry? I dunno ... I just got an old familiar feeling when I read your original post. I would just go ahead and get the blood work done to have that peace of mind.
I have to agree here. My Molly started having issues at age 10. It can't hurt to have it done. It can detect problems before you see symptoms.
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