My human parents asked that I ‘speak out’ about aging cats in this September/October quarterly issue of IVS’s Feline Fans.
My name is Grover, and I was named after the Manager of the Cleveland Indians, when I was just a kitten in spring of 2000. Guess I take after Grover because I am a big, gorgeous (in my Mom’s words), sable male Burmese. Check out my handsome face. I am the leader of my pack at home except for my bro Manny, who is skinny and pushy. He’s faster than me, but I am bigger and stronger! That’s why I am the pack leader at our house, even as old as I am!!
So according to the charts at 14 years of age, my body is equivalent to about a 72 year old human. I guess that is old by any standard. So why does my age matter? According to our IVS Vets, it matters a lot! While I am healthy, my body needs special attention.
- My older immune system is less able to fight off foreign invaders, such as viruses and parasites.
- Dehydration is something to watch out for, a side effect of many feline diseases.
- Older cat’s skin is thinner and less elastic, has reduced blood circulation and is more prone to infection.
- We tend to groom ourselves less; that causes matting, skin odor and inflammation.
- Our claws tend to be overgrown because we move less and scratch less.
- Our brains age — causing senility. Sometimes we wander excessively, meow all the time, and even avoid those we love.
- Our eyes can get hazy, and our hearing loss becomes acute the older we grow.
- Dental disease is a BIG problem for even young felines, but dental disease can become life threatening for us ‘oldsters’. So far, I have had three dentals, and have had a dozen teeth pulled. At IVS we do dentals on lots of older cats! Life savers as we age! Check out our dental video!
- Feline kidneys go through many changes as we grow older. Kidney failure is one of the top diseases among older felines.
- Degenerative joints and arthritis are big for senior cats. This makes mobility tough (you know how much we love to leap and run!) this is especially a problem if our food or water bowl is in a high place, or our litter box is hard to get into.
- Hyperthyroidism, hypertension, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease, ‘top’ the list of less than fun conditions felines develop.
So, what can our humans do?
First off, MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TWICE A YEAR FOR A VET VISIT!! Just because we are getting old does not mean that we cannot benefit from treatment following early detection of disease or discomfort. The biggest problem we see at IVS is when clients DO NOT report changes in their cat’s behavior.
Secondly, consider bringing your favorite Feline into IVS for our special Senior Preventative Care Program! The cost is just $442.00 for a year and includes the works:
- Two (2) comprehensive physical exams with an IVS Vet, a comprehensive wellness screen for your senior cat,
- a urinalysis,
- a blood pressure test,
- eye pressure test, and
- a pedicure!
When you in sign up for our Feline Fans Club, members are entitled to 10% off all services at IVS for a full year!
Until next time, I will sign off.
With much love (purring),
How much water should your cat drink daily?
Normally, a cat will require at least 2-4 ounces of fresh water in addition to its food. Dry food is only 10% water, while canned is approximately 80% water. So, obviously, your cat is going to drink a lot more water if you are providing dry food only.
Dehydration is an imbalance of water and electrolytes (minerals) in the body, and can cause serious complications for pets and people alike. Water is essential to cats depending on proper daily fluid intake to maintain appropriate health and replace fluids that are routinely lost through urine, feces and respiration. Water makes up 80 percent of your cat’s body, and is necessary for all his biological processes, including circulation, digestion and waste removal.
How you can be an advocate for your Senior Feline!
Here is what to look for and report to your Vet at your next appointment:
- A cat can be fearful and a reclusive behavior can mean a cat is in pain.
- Increased urine production can mean kidney failure, diabetes, or hyperthyroid problems, ALL treatable!
- Marking behavior CAN signal onset of hyperthyroidism, especially in older cats.
- Urinating, defecating outside the litter box can signal illness-or-arthritis.
Additional things to consider for the health of your cat:
- Close and regular observation-access your cats habits regularly
- Daily brushing
- Proper nutrition- access diet needs according to a Vet evaluation/lab tests
- Exercise-even moderate play can help your cat move better.
- Reduce stress-older cats do NOT like change! Be considerate of your cat when moving or making any family or environmental changes in your home.
Piccolo saved Lucy!
“I was called today regarding your doing a story about “senior” felines. Well, I have three, but would like to introduce you to Piccolo (calico) and Lucy (Tri-colored Himalayan). Why both? You’ll see.
We got Piccolo as a kitten from a litter available for adoption at IVS. She was a spunky active kitten and had energy galore! Shortly thereafter, I was asked if I wanted a beautiful Himalayan. My vet knew I had recently lost my two very loved Persians. Lucy was a traumatized kitty who was in a cage for seven months! IVS rescued her from this, and I agreed to take her. For months, she hid under various pieces of furniture and only came out to eat and use the box– mostly when no one was around. Little by little, Piccolo, through her generosity and intuition, led her to food, water, toys and general playfulness. To this day, the “Kitty 500” occurs in the evening. Piccolo steps aside so Lucy could eat. She took her around the house, she slept near her, and she showed her how to integrate into the family. We always said, “Piccolo saved Lucy!”
Lucy goes everywhere Piccolo goes. She’s out and about, and although she is frightened of strangers, she is no longer hiding under beds and chairs. She’s loving and sweet and also shows a sense of humor as well.
Piccolo is a healer with a sincere heart! Our daughters and all our friends and family are in love with Piccolo! (We call her ‘Dilly’ because she is a Silly Picadilly.) She is just funny in an intangible way. She talks as she runs around. She answers me when I talk to her. She talks to Lucy, and Lucy answers. Really!!
Piccolo has changed Lucy’s life, but most of all, she has changed ours! – Mrs. Jaros, UP Client
Samone Stecker is a beautiful Himalayan cat and is always a pleasure to see come in when she boards with us. Although she is not yet a senior pet, it is great to know every pet receives a complete physical exam at admittance by a technician at no extra charge when boarding at IVS. She has a cute, quirky and sweet attitude, and always greets me when I come up to her with a little “meow.” Simone does really well when she comes in for her baths. She is one of a kind! — Liza Deemer, Lead Kennel-UP
Kittens Available for Adoption at IVS!
Four little kittens looking for their ‘forever home’…
There are 3 males and 1 female domestic kittens. These babies are very healthy, clean and have had their vaccinations. They are very friendly and can be a wonderful playmates for kids and adults. If you are interested in adopting one or all of them, please contact an IVS staff at the University Park location.
Meet our New “Feline Fans” Veterinarians!
Introducing our new “Feline Fans” Veterinarians at IVS! At IVS, SENIORS RULE! We invite all our Senior Felines to enjoy a 20% discount on our Senior Dental Packages in October!
To learn more about our new Veterinarians please visit our website at http://irvinevetservices.com/about/irvine-veterinarians/