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"Outdoor" senior kitty advice?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I've got a cat outside who is 13 years old, I think. I decided to take her to a different vet than usual as he & I have been butting heads(he wanted me to put her down & I don't think she needs to be-at least not quite yet). The new vet did a senior blood panel & was amazed at the results. Everything looked OK. Fafeena got spayed(don't ask) this February by the old vet. She now lives alone in the 3 car garage as she butts heads with the other cats. She is much more content alone in there. The other cats now sleep in the shop. I gave her 2 litterpans, food, water, toys, & a comfy bed(an old pillow covered with fleece). I am feeding her Iams Senior. She got sick on Felidae, Purina, & Nutro Senior formulas. I am not comfortable with trying new foods as for now she is doing great on the Iams-gorgeous coat, finally at a decent weight(she was overweight before), etc. She lost most of her vision in one eye last fall, & her eyesight in the other eye is beginning to fade. She is living the life in the garage. She comes out when all the other cats get let out to play, several times a day & under my supervision. She plunks down in the middle of the driveway in the sun & naps. I am in the process of crafting a cat window perch for the garage windows, & for now she sleeps on Rubbermaid tubs covered with blankets.

Does Iams make a senior wet food? I don't recall seeing any, and for now all Feen gets is Merrick wet, but not much as it can upset her tummy, one TBSP. 2x a day.

The new vet suggested that maybe I should bring her in for bloodwork every 3-4 months since she is outside. Is that a little too much? She seems to tolerate vet visits very well. I want to be sure that I don't miss anything & I think a check-up that often might be a good idea. A neighbor told me I was being paranoid, but the older they get, the more closer the need to be watched.

She had a bulge fixed in March(by the old vet), I cannot think of what it was called, all I can think of is a prolapse & it wasn't that. The vet who fixed it repaired it, & then when she woke up after the surgery(same day) he noticed another one, so he put her under & fixed that one, too. He suspected her intestinal lining was very thin. She developed another bulge days after surgery, but the old vet said not to worry about it, she can live with it. Should I consider having this vet fix it? I forgot to ask her about it when we were in for bloodwork.

She could use a dental cleaning, but I don't know if I want to put her under anesthesia again. She didn't do too bad, but she did not do as good as the vet who spayed her(the old vet) & fixed her "bulge" would have liked her to do. She was off personality & not herself for days after surgery. Should I also consider a dental cleaning?

Understand that the old vet, IMO, does better with livestock than small animals. The new vet only does surgeries(unless it's an emergency) on certain days as she has her own anesthesiologist(sp?) come in, she doesn't "put them under" herself. Anything else you have to add to help make Fafeena's life better? Honestly, I have tried her in the house. She does not get along with any of the other cats. What can I get to keep her extra warm for this winter? I looked into those beds that trap body heat so they help keep cats warm, but I didn't know if they really worked.

Sorry this got so long, but I want to be sure I address all of her problems to see what you guys think. I will be in to see the new vet either later this week or early next week to take in a urine sample for Ophelia, so if I have questions I can ask her then. I'd like your guy's feedback before then, though. I've never had a senior cat before, so I am lost. Oh yeah, she has her distemper & rabies vaccs. No FeLV as I can't get the one vacc. a member reccomended around here, the only one avaliable in the distemper/FeLV combo.
post #2 of 3
IAMS does make a senior wet food, which my mom gets for her cat at Petco. Since your kitty does well on IAMS, I wouldn't switch her at this stage either. The bulges you mentioned were probably hernias. They are common in young pets (umbilical hernias) but they can occur whenever the muscles in the abdominal wall thin enough to let some of the "guts" push outward, creating the bulge.

If her teeth are looking bad, a dental cleaning would be a good idea. You may want to ask your vet about alternative types of anesthesia and the use of fluids during surgery. If you decide to have the new bulge repaired, it could probably be done at the same time as the dental, so she only has to go through one round of anesthesia.

Has she been tested for FeLV and FIV? Since she is outdoors, she is at risk for both and should be tested regularly. To keep her warm in the winter, you can try those pads, or you can get a heating pad that has a really low setting and that can be covered by a blanket. Have you tried very slowly reintroducing her to the other cats? I do understand that some cats refuse to get along, but I also know that my mom's cat has had a change in personality as she's gotten older--she used to spend lots of time roaming outside, but now she rarely leaves the house and never leaves the backyard.
post #3 of 3
I wouldn't go for bloodtests that often, but if you can afford it and she is happy, you could have them done every 6 months. I have senior cats, and I get mine done on a yearly basis, they also get a check up when tehy have their vaccs (6 months before blood tests), and they also go to the weight clinic monthly, so if there is a drastic loss, I can decide if they need extra blood tests. I would be wary with her eyesight, but if she is happy, then she shoudl be OK, you will just have to be careful with introducing new things. You can also get gels and dry food that will help with their teeth, but I would get the vet to look at them to see if they need sorting or not first.
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