Sparkles and Sunshine: Caring For An Older Cat

Caring For An Older Cat

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Happy Wednesday!

For those of you who may not know, last month we lost Oscar, Felix's brother. I have had Oscar and Felix since they were only a few months old and they've been with me through most of my life. When we lost Oscar we learned a few things about taking care of older cats that I did not know before. Now, what I learned would not have prevented us from losing Oscar, however, we now know things to look for in Felix as he ages.

1. Having your cats on an all dry food diet isn't good for them.

For the majority of my cats lives, I had them on dry food. Now, while dry food is good for keeping their teeth clean, it deprives them of the moisture that their organs (like their kidneys) need. I started giving them wet food one to two times a week when they moved in with me, but having it more frequently would've been better.  

Since Felix became diabetic he has been on a twice a day wet food diet which he's definitely happy about haha!

2. Many cats pass away from kidney failure. 

This was something I had not heard before. Some symptoms to look for are:
  • Loss of appetite - Oscar was eating somewhat normal at first and then he no longer wanted any of his food to the point where Felix was pushing him out of the way to eat which wasn't normal.
  • Drastic weight loss - this really does happen instantly. Oscar seemed ok and then all of a sudden he lost 5 pounds in a week which is huge in a cat. 
  • Lethargy - Oscar didn't really want to do anything. His face looked drained, his eyes didn't look right, and he just kind of hid himself in spaces and slept which always worried me. 
  • Seclusion - I'm not sure if all cats do this but Oscar did. Many animals seclude themselves away when they know they're going to die which is the saddest thing in the world. When he started to get worse he would keep himself away from all of us which wasn't a good sign. 
With kidney failure, it can happen very suddenly. When we took Oscar for his yearly check up last May everything looked fine for his age. The vet said that kidney issues can be hard to spot. Basically, the kidneys will keep functioning (even if they are having issues) and keep going until they basically shut off. When you start to see any of those symptoms, take your cat to the vet immediately. Chances are, your time is very limited and you need to see how much time you have and what is exactly going on. 

3. When your cat starts to get older, change your annual bloodwork to biannual. 

When Oscar passed I got really scared. I didn't want to lose Felix too. I immediately called the vet the next day to schedule an appointment to check Felix. Felix is also diabetic, so I really wanted to make sure everything was normal. The reason why you should increase the amount of vet visits when they're older is because you're more likely to find a problem faster than if you waited a full year. 

When we took Felix in we found that his kidney levels had slightly increased since his last visit and so we're watching him to make sure he's fine. We have his next check up in May to check everything again then. 

If you have an older cat, I hope this information helped you! I know that I wish I would've known all of this. If you have any questions, please let me know! I'll always do my best to answer them. 

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