Spare a thought for your old cat. She may not play much any more and might be arthritic but is still a great companion.
The feline matriarch in my household (who has just had her 16th birthday) is as deaf as a post and occasionally leaves vomited up hair balls on my favourite chair. Apart from arthritis, she is still in great health and loves a cuddle. She only has four teeth left which means that she can dribble with the best of them when sitting on your lap. She also needs regular manicures to prevent her from getting hung up on furniture or the carpet.
Elderly cats suffer from several common ailments that can be treated. If Chloe has the appetite of a tyrannosaurus rex but has a backbone that resembles a rake, then she may have a problem with her thyroid gland. We can diagnose this with a simple blood test and there is medication available to control this condition.
If Henry has started to use your boots as a latrine and drinks water like a fish, he may have a problem with his kidneys or he may be diabetic. Again, a blood test can check these conditions and we can prescribe medication to help.
Arthritis is a common problem in older cats, we can prescribe medications for Ted if he can no longer jump on the bed. We can also recommend a tasty prescription diet full of supplements to help his painful joints.
Not to forget dental care. Virtually all old cats will need dentals to keep their teeth in great condition. You would be surprised how well they do after nasty painful teeth have been treated even if they end up with no teeth at all! My old girl is a good example, she only has her four canine teeth left, but will happily crunch up biscuits with her toothless gums!
Beauty maintenance therapy may be necessary for your old cat too. They are unable to shed their claws like younger cats, and so may need them clipped on a regular basis. Their claws may even grow long enough to curl round into the soft pads of their paws (ouch!). A brush or comb is a good idea even for short-haired cats to try and prevent those nasty vomit hairballs. The older puss can be less flexible and is often unable to groom those hard-to-get-to places. Once again, we can help you with these problems. It only takes a couple of minutes for us to clip your cat’s claws.
If you think your cat is too old to treat, then think again. To the distress of his owners, ‘Buster’ the 17 year old cat was accidentally run over. He was deeply shocked on arrival at the clinic and was found to have a broken pelvis. He amazed us with his attitude. A few hours after his condition was stabilized, he developed the appetite of a demon and started purring like a train whenever we gave him attention in the clinic. Buster is now doing very well and can look forward to some more quality time on this earth.
I get a real kick out of treating old cats, especially when our treatment gives them a new lease of life. So, bring you old cat to see us in the clinic if they have a problem, as we will be very pleased to see them!
Small Animal Veterinarian
27 February 2012
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