Itchmo Forums for Cats & Dogs Brought to you by Itchmo: Essential news, humor and info for cats, dogs and pet owners.
June 16, 2019, 06:58:11 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  

Go To Itchmo.com: Read the latest cat, dog and pet news, pet food recall info, product reviews and more — updated daily.


Pages: [1] 2 3
  Print  
Author Topic: Living with Senior Cats  (Read 6798 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
catmom5
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 1520


« on: January 18, 2013, 12:53:49 PM »

What a roller coaster ride with these older girls.

I'm experiencing many of the same things with CJ, who is going to be 17 in February (hard to believe after all she's been through). But we're getting the demanding vocalizations (often during the night and early morning hours), needing to be near me as much as possible. We do know that her kidney disease is progressing and we have made the decision to go with quality of life now. I suspect some dementia with her, too, and she has diagnosed severe osteoarthritis (which she gets pain meds for, acupuncture and adequan shots every 4 weeks). She is eating well (well enough that I just picked up some renal kibble samples to try) and seems interested in everything going on around her. But it's very hard to know what's going on, what to treat, etc because it can be very complicated.

Prayers that Isis continues to show improvement and that you can get some idea of what's causing the demanding, needy, loud behavior.

continued hugs
catmom5
Logged
catbird
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 9410


Never underestimate the power of crazy cat ladies!


WWW
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2013, 07:04:32 PM »

I'm sorry to hear that CJ is doing some similar things, catmom5. But it helps me to be able to talk with someone else who understands.

Sometimes Isis gets really hard to take lately, but I feel so guilty for thinking that. It's quite stressful when we can't figure out what she wants, and yet she won't let us even watch a TV program some evenings, or do other normal activities. None of my other cats got like this when they were elderly.
Logged

The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer--Paula Poundstone
catmom5
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 1520


« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2013, 08:02:06 PM »

I understand what you mean. It is so hard, and I feel guilty for complaining about her. She has gone through so much, as Isis has, and she truly is my heart cat. But sometimes it is hard to live with the yelling and demanding behavior.

catmom5
Logged
macush
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 445



« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2013, 08:05:17 PM »

It really makes me feel so not alone when I hear you folks about this.  Annie is about 18/19 and is hyperthyroid.  It seems to be under control at the moment but she now has developed an upper respiratory infection which clears up and then comes back again. But she has picked up the habit of yowling and I have no idea what she wants or needs.  She doesn't seem to be in pain and she doesn't seem to have any idea of why she is yowling but yowl she does.  She goes between loving and hating me (I pay when I give her meds)  On the other hand, her appetite is terrific.  It gets so much harder to make the right decision as all this goes on.  It's just up/down - up/down.  Fortunately, I have a home vet to help me make a decision when the time comes (Annie loves this vet and will let her do all the things she would never let me do).  I do really love her == she's been a part of my life for so long.  But it does help to know I'm not alone as sorry as I am to hear your problems.    
Logged
caylee
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 2565


« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2013, 08:29:57 PM »

Regarding the yowling of elder cats - have any of you had the cat's hearing checked lately? One of my elderly cats started doing this yowling and we found out that this cat was mostly deaf.

Another elderly cat that I had wanted to have her hot water bottle bed re-warmed. She had arthritis and hurt and the warmth made her feel better.

Hugs
Logged
catmom5
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 1520


« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2013, 05:41:12 AM »

I decided to start this thread to help those of us dealing with the challenges of seniors.

Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone in dealing with some of these things. CJ is probably hard of hearing, but definitely not deaf. (I thought of that because her yelling is very low and insistent - almost like some people seem to talk louder when they think the listener isn't getting the message!) She sleeps in an orthopedic foam heated bed so that's not an issue either. CJ seems to need to be close to me when she's like that. Earlier this morning I actually put her in bed with me, but when Cassie joined us, CJ left. She seems to have less tolerance for the other cats now. We have a wonderful vet who supports me in maintaining her quality of life, discontinuing tests/procedures (except for checking blood pressure), and keeping her as comfortable as possible. She takes her meds without too much fussing and is good about her daily fluids. I don't know how much time we have left together, but I so want it to be good (and there have been a few times that I have shouted at her, out of my frustration at not understanding what she needed  Undecided ).

I'm always open to suggestions or just sharing experiences.

So many people don't understand and I know that a lot of them (family and friends) think I should have let her go, but darn it, she is still spunky and fighting and I won't do that to her. She has fought too hard through too much to not honor and respect her in this. She will tell me when she has had enough.

With gratitude and hugs
catmom5 (and CJ who is glad I have someplace to figure this out)
Logged
lesliek
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 11098


Trooper,Remy & Fragile


« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2013, 06:44:51 AM »

First of all you are absolutely right to allow her to enjoy her life. We all get some weird habits as we age & that doesn't mean anything is necessarily wrong. Secondly don't feel bad that you occasionally get frustrated trying to figure out what she wants, that is totally normal & I'm sure everyone on here has done it at times. I did with my angels. Sometimes you try everything & still can't figure out what they want. I think the biggest changes I had to make were to my own schedule to adapt to their changing needs. Just remember that as long as she has enjoyment & no pain her quality of life is good. After that, you would be thinking of yourself , not her by not making the harder choice. Just age itself also seems to affect how they react to some meds, so don't be afraid to call the vet is you think anything needs adjustment.
 1 thing that really helped was I put litter boxes & water bowls or fountains on every floor. That way they didn't have to do steps when feeling stiff or tired. When trying to encourage 1 to eat more, I would cut down the other's meal sizes so they could have some when feeding extra to whoever wasn't eating well. Puppy pads & waterproof padded furniture throws helped too , as well as an old shower curtain over the bed covered with a blanket for them to sleep on. Also many different types of ortho beds scattered around !
Logged

"the world's most inept extortionist"
lesliek
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 11098


Trooper,Remy & Fragile


« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2013, 06:57:57 AM »

Glad there's some more improvement ! I forgot to mention this in Catmom's thread, but I did find that sometimes the night yowling was Punkin not seeming to remember where we were. Leaving a light on in the living room & carrying him in & putting him on our bed sometimes worked. I had to do that with Trooper too.
Logged

"the world's most inept extortionist"
catbird
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 9410


Never underestimate the power of crazy cat ladies!


WWW
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2013, 08:57:40 AM »

Thanks for starting this thread, catmom5. I'm going to move the posts on this topic from the Isis thread over to here (just because I like to keep things organized!)
Logged

The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer--Paula Poundstone
catbird
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 9410


Never underestimate the power of crazy cat ladies!


WWW
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2013, 09:49:25 AM »

We know that Isis can definitely hear, although of course her hearing may be less acute, since she's 15 1/2. Isis is quiet at night, oddly. (She and Kalahari have always been "put to bed" in the laundry/storage room downstairs with three litter boxes, food, water, beds, etc. because my husband is a very light sleeper and easily disturbed by something like a cat batting a toy. We even got Isis another one of the enclosed beds with orthopedic cushion for downstairs, since she liked the upstairs one so much.)

When she hears one of us stir in the morning, she starts to mew insistently until she is let upstairs, given more water, and fed. Then, she's pretty energetic for awhile. If she accepts what she is offered to eat, she will then generally do some normal cat things, use the scratching post, etc. in the living room before Linley is let out. Then she wanders back into "her" spare bedroom (where there are also beds, heat-reflecting pads, cat tree, an litter box, two food and water setups, etc.) She has never been one to hang out a great deal with other cats, but after 2008 she started avoiding the living room unless Linley was enclosed somewhere else. She is very afraid of him.

The worst time for Isis is in the late afternoon and early evening, between about 3pm and 9pm. That's when we are most likely to get the insistent meowing, where we try everything but nothing seems to solve the problem. When Linley is out and about, she pretty much won't stay in the living room, although as her T4 has come down, she's actually gotten a bit braver about coming out from the spare bedroom to meow at us! She comes out of "her" room, stands by the bathroom door meowing (which sometimes is a change-water signal). Then we start the whole routine of try changing water, try offering food (for some reason, she won't eat in the spare bedroom unless she has someone sit next to her first), try sitting with her, etc. etc. Some days, we may get only one or two "requests" from her during that time period, and they are easily understood--"there is a hair in my water bowl", "I want you to sit next to me while I munch some dry food," etc. On those bad days, this may go on every 15-45 min. without our being able to figure out what she wants; nothing satisfies her.

Oddly enough, she almost always settles down after she gets her thyroid meds, although on a couple of really bad days she hasn't. I know it isn't a direct result of the medication itself, because it doesn't act that fast. I've sometimes wondered if she's mad and sulking because we applied the med, or if there was something she actually liked about it, so becomes more content.

I've never been able to figure out the "sit-by-me-when-I-eat" behavior in the spare bedroom. It seemed to come about with the hyperT, but hasn't gone away as the T4 has lowered.  She has always been a nibbler, eating multiple times per day, so you can imagine what this is like!  Good thing DH is retired!

Isis has always been a little bit "talky" because of her breed. We are fine with the "conversational" sounds, because they are much quieter and just part of who she is, and we have always enjoyed her personality. It's the loud, insistent meows that can get problematic  if we can't figure out what she wants. Of course, we also feel sad and frustrated, because we really want to be able to help her with whatever it is.

Isis' last couple of labs have said she's doing fine, as far as her kidneys and thyroid go. T4 is pretty much under control, kidney disease is not progressing very fast at this point. No other abnormalities; everything rock-solid normal; she doesn't have nausea or vomiting or loose or constipated stools. So she is basically healthy for a senior cat.
Logged

The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer--Paula Poundstone
catmom5
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 1520


« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2013, 10:18:38 AM »

I actually rubbed some rescue remedy on CJ's ears last night and gave her some extra attention before lights out and she was less bothersome last night. She got into some yelling (for it is yelling) early this morning. When I put her in bed with me (and then she left when Cassie came) she yelled a couple of times and then stopped. I actually got to sleep until a bit after 8:00!

Isis almost sounds similar to when a baby has a "fussy time" each day. I really don't know what to say - if I come up with any ideas, I will certainly share.

CJ (a calico) has always been a talker, but this is over the top!

Keeping all of you who are living with the seniors in my prayers.
catmom5

Logged
catbird
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 9410


Never underestimate the power of crazy cat ladies!


WWW
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2013, 10:46:20 AM »

Wow, congratulations on the extra sleep today, catmom5! I know what a blessing that can be.

I have thought of trying to rub the RR on Isis' ears too, but so far have not figured out a good strategy, since obviously the priority is to apply the thyroid med.  But I am very glad to hear that it seems to have helped CJ, so far.

Yes, Isis reminds me of a fussy baby, too, with that "scheduled" cry period. One of my daughters was like that in her infancy, and the crying that could not be solved occurred during pretty much that same time period.
Logged

The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer--Paula Poundstone
Meowli
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 2992


Oscar


« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2013, 10:58:12 AM »

Our tux Purry was close to 18 when we lost him to the tainted pet food.  Way before he got so sick he had been getting sort of quirky for a long time.  Among other things, he would walk out into an unoccupied room and yowl.( I think it's possible that this is sometimes related to hearing loss as his brother who was born deaf always did this.).      

Quirky old kitty or not, he was always interested in his surroundings, never ever missed a meal, and slept by my side every night, purring himself and everyone else in the room to sleep. He was set and settled in his ways and had his routine.    

To me, elderly pets seem to have a quiet dignity about them,  look in their eyes and you can sense a wisdom and understanding that comes with age. I've observed several very elderly cats and dogs and they all have this wonderful quality about them. Maybe people will think this is crazy,  but I see these animals as thus: maybe as the body ages and fades, the life force retreats inward and glows even brighter.
?
Logged
mikken
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 590


« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2013, 11:12:23 AM »

Having been through this with my old girl Mikken, I can relate.  She lived to be 21 (renal failure in the end) and often would demand things and not really know what she wanted, just that she wanted SOMETHING.  Well, we'd go through the list (do you need your heating pad?, do you need your water changed?, do you need petting/brushing/cuddles?, do you need different food (we won't even get into the whole food thing - it got crazy at the end trying to find what she would eat), do you need to be played with?, etc., etc.).  You get to the point where you are out of things you can think of, so you start with the nonsense things - do you need a lawyer? do you want to be a fire engine?  do you need a box of crayons and some paper so you can draw me a picture of what it is you want?

Our Percy's internal medicine specialist says that she's been trying for thirty years to get cats to tell her "where it hurts" and they are still not forthcoming.  She thinks we need a new generation of cats that can at least see a picture of a cat and touch a paw to the spot where it hurts.  I think things would be a lot easier for the seniors if we could get a little flip book with pictures of choices and just go through them until the cat meows at the right one...

Logged
JoMax
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 1523



« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2013, 11:24:28 AM »

Reading all this thread with sadness - my heart goes out to those of you going through this with your 'seniors' right now.
My Max used to yowl - when he'd just woken up (?not sure where he / I was), come in from outside (looking for me/announcing his presence), or other randome times.  It's so frustrating feeling you cant help when you dont know what they need and my thoughts go out to you - but Mikken's lovely post also raised a few smiles at the thought of the crayons and esp the flip book....
Love & light to you catmom5, catbird, macush and anyone else here dealing with this.
Logged

"I can think of many ways in which I would become a better person if I were more like my cats. But I cannot think of a single way in which my cats would be any better for being more like me."  A.N.Wilson
Pages: [1] 2 3
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Copyright 2007 Itchmo.com: Read the latest cat, dog and pet news, pet food recall info, product reviews and more — updated daily.
Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines | Sitemap