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Perfectly Imperfect Life..........

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How To Care for Your Geriatric Cat


I thought I would share some information about what we are going through with our beloved Baylee and aging. We have Baylee (16), Angel (8), Mama, (7), and Bynx (6).

**First let me say I have no Veterinary education. This is just my experience with my pet. Always consult your Vet regarding any concerns you have with your pets.

A cat who is 10 years or older should be considered middle to senior aged, and a consultation with your vet is in order to determine the best health care maintenance program for your cat as she/he ages.



Some normal signs you may expect of your aged cat is :

• Slowing down, not as active
• Sleeping more than usual

• Not wanting to climb the cat condo as much
• Any difficulty grooming the "hard to reach" areas
• Difficulty going up or down the stairs, jumping up or down off of favorite perches, etc.
• Reduced hearing
• Cloudy or bluish eyes
• Muscle atrophy

Needless to say, it is very important to keep up with annual checkups and keeping vaccines current.

When to call the vet:

* evidence of poisoning or injury

* house-soiling
* constipation or diarrhea despite a balanced diet
* frequent urination or problems urinating
* unexplained or frequent vomiting
* excessive thirst
* loss of appetite or excessive appetite
* sudden loss of weight
* change of activity level - suddenly hyperactive or lethargic
* lumps and bumps on the cat's skin
* panting when at rest
* rapid heartbeat
* dental problems
* looking off- color, withdrawn or not interested in things
* unusual behaviour, confusion
* staggering or sudden collapse
* mobility problems, stiffness, limping, pain when touched


Baylee had to have surgery (actually 2 surgeries and almost lost her front leg) a few years ago for a quick spreading Cancer which was caused by vaccines, you can read about it here. (Since her Cancer was due to the vaccines, she no longer can receive vaccines) She recovered nicely but the following year was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. She was losing weight while being ravenous about any kind of food. We couldn't even leave a loaf of bread out, she would grab it and run off to tear into and eat and eat. After lab work we were given the diagnosis. She was started on Methimazole 5 mg, 1/2 twice a day. She developed twitches that at times were strong enough to make her lose balance. Eventually her system adjusted and the twitches stopped. This year during her check up/lab work her Methimazole was increased to one whole tablet twice a day. I was worried the twitches would come back but they haven't. Enapril was added for her Heart (for a murmur) along with a supplement called Zentonil 100 mg for her liver which is failing. She takes these meds with no trouble at all when they are semi crushed up in a teaspoon of canned cat food. 

As she gets older she is having more issues, which is totally normal, even though I hate for her to go through this. At her visit she weighed in at 4 pounds! I was devastated. I knew she was skin and bones, but 4 pounds is like air. She has dry food available at all times and gets a teaspoon of canned food several times throughout the day. But good news, she seems to be getting a little belly. The increase in Methimazole has helped. Now if she could gain some weight along her spine...when you pet her you can feel every bone. Her appetite has calmed some too. She doesn't attack you when you're trying to eat...yes a good thing!

I noticed she was having trouble jumping up to the dresser where her dry food is kept (high, so the dogs can't get it). I placed a step stool near the dresser and am glad to say she is using it. Another issue I've been frustrated with were her accidents. She has never had an accident before a few weeks ago. No changes in litter box, litter, placement, etc. I did some research on the Internet and found that older cats can have trouble maneuvering a covered cat box. I've removed the lid and NO more accidents! That lasted for a few weeks then they started again. I decided to remove the liner, as mentioned on some internet sites.  So no cover, no liner and cleaning as many times a day as needed is keeping her accidents down to nil. What a relief! So glad we are able to do little things to help her.



She doesn't groom herself like she used to, so we brush her. She likes to be around us more and often lays on pillows which are more comfy for her thin body. She often howls in the middle of the hall or a bedroom. Yes, senility is setting in. She gets a little confused and disoriented but when we call out to her she quiets and comes to us.

I am cautiously optimistic with her health and the new meds.  Barring any new issues I think she has a few more years left in her ♥♥

A young healthy Baylee


***This was originally written a few months ago,
and I never got around to posting it.
SInce then she has developed diarrrhea and unfortunately
leaving signs wherever she sits. (sorry trying not to be gross).
She currently is at the vet having more lab work done.
The results will determine if she will need to put to sleep due to liver failure.

***Update***

Lab results showed her Liver has improved significantly - by half!
The supplement Zentonil has worked.
Her Thyroid is still too low, so her Methimazole is being increased
again to 1 1/2 twice a day.
She had no bacteria in her stool..bad or good.
She has been put on Fortiflora Feline which is a probiotic to help get the good bacteria back in. She takes one packet once daily.
Metronidazole 60 mg once daily was also prescribed, which is an antibiotic as well as an anti-imflamatory to aid with the diarrhea ie. intestines.

She will go back for repeat lab work in about 6 weeks. At that time if her thyroid hasn't improved that means there is most likely cancerous growth. We may have to make a difficult decision at that time. But as long as she is not suffering, we can keep her on a mantainence regimen to keep her comfortable until "that" day comes.
She has also gained 3 ounces..not much but much better than losing weight.
  
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