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In the House of Ancient Animals

Perl Cat : she is seventeen now, and it's showing.  She isn't grooming much, so her fur is a bit manky, and she stops to have a sit down every 20 feet or so.  Her back legs feel weak, and it's hard to persuade her to eat much. I don't think she can do the cat doors very easily either - though now I think of it, she's sitting on the back of the sofa right now, so possibly some of her dislike of cat doors is just Perl being Perlish and expecting servants to whisk ahead of her to open the doors.

All her life she has been a bit overweight, but she is now only 3.8 kilos, after a life of being over 5Kg.  She was at the vet for a checkup last week, but hasn't had any blood tests yet. I am divided on how many vet visits to put an old cat through, but am wondering if one more trip for blood tests might be worth it, just in case there is something going on there that can be easily treated.

Footie Cat: There's nothing (that I know of) fundamentally wrong with Footie, but he does look old now, and his eyes tend to be a bit grotty as he has slightly ingrowing eyelashes.   He's sixteenish, and has never really had the sense to come in out of the rain, so it's not surprising that we have to keep an eye on him and pop him out regularly to stop him deciding that actually, it would be fine for him to just pee in a corner rather than walk all the way to the litter trays or garden.

Today Perl and Footie were doing curling up together, so here is a picture of our two geriatric felines:


I can see a day coming fairly soon now,  when we just have Yama Bungle and Henning the Brown Bear : two cats more ill-assorted and furiously at odds, you can't imagine.  I think I can safely say that I will be able to show you a Yama and Henning Snuggling Photo when hell freezes over.

Az is probably about fifteen, and apart from his heart - which seems to be doing OK with his medication, his back legs are slowly losing their muscle and their connection to his brain.  You can see his back feet wandering all over the place when you walk behind him, but somehow or other, he keeps on going forward .

I think he did enjoy his holiday on the Scilly isles, but in retrospect, I realise we overdid things a bit.  Normally when we are walking on his familiar walks, even in exciting places with rabbits or squirrels, Az will toddle along gently and hang back, so it's very clear when he has had enough, but in a new exciting place, he was very keen to explore, and I think that led us to let him do more than he really should have done.  He has lost weight (I haven't weighed him recently, but he looks thinner) and getting him to eat is sometimes a bit difficult. I am not sure why he will take food from my hand but not from his dish, but sometimes that seems to be how things are.

He dreams a lot, and I'm sure all the running in his sleep that he does is good for his overall fitness!  He can mostly still hop into the boot of my car, although the times when he decides that actually, he'd prefer me to lift him do seem to be increasing.  Having Brythen around seems to be good for him. I think it encourages him to keep going, and to want to pop out into the garden since he doesn't want Brythen going out there on his own and getting  a treat when he comes back in.

On the last couple of days on our holiday, Az lost control of his bladder a bit and wet the bed (thank heavens for accommodation with a large washing machine and a drier!).  This has improved somewhat since we got home, but he has also become a bit difficult to persuade that he really should go outside as often as he needs to.  It's like the bit of his brain that used to make him think 'hmm, need a pee, must go out' had got overwhelmed by the 'but I'm TIRED' bit.  It probably doesn't help that our garden has so many steps so going out onto the lawn requires a certain amount of effort.

Az, probably overdoing it on a beach...




( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
7th Oct, 2013 02:19 (UTC)
Your cats are sweet.My two old boys are 16 and 17 and now both need me to groom them. They still enjoy their food though.I'm sorry Perl isn't well.
7th Oct, 2013 10:16 (UTC)
Well, she seems happy enough, but she's definitely much quieter than she used to be. So hard to tell if cats are really ill!
7th Oct, 2013 07:46 (UTC)
Would Perl let you dry clean her? If you rub about 1 tsp cornflour into her shoulders and comb it through with a fine comb, that will get out a lot of grease. We did that with Magnus and it meant that at least on top he looked OK. We didn't dare attempt the tummy, in the interests of keeping all our fingers...

As it is non-toxic if there is a little bit left in then it won't matter if it is ingested. I found it at least as effective as the commercial dry shampoos.
7th Oct, 2013 10:17 (UTC)
I've brushed her, but I've not tried the cornflour thing - will give that a go, thank you! Perl tends to be a little impatient about being groomed, but she does like it if it doesn't go on too long.
8th Oct, 2013 17:02 (UTC)
I had the same problem with Magnus- if you don't get it all out the worst that will happen is you have a slightly greyer cat...
7th Oct, 2013 11:28 (UTC)

Hopefully Perl's weight loss is something easily treated, it's horrible to try and balance their quality of life vs constant vet visits when they get old, especially if vet trips stress them out :(

(Your dog link doesn't appear to expand BTW)
7th Oct, 2013 12:01 (UTC)
That's odd - it works for me. I've put a space in, in case the proximity of the two cuts was discombobulating Javascript in some browser...

Perl is now the about the weight that vets have been telling us most of her life she really should be, but for a cat that has always been fat and shouty to lose 1/5th of her body weight in 6 months and become quiet and easy to have about the place seems a bit worrying!
7th Oct, 2013 12:50 (UTC)
It's working now, I think it was my browser, I had the same issue temporarily with another post. (ETA: but no-one had commented about Az which made me wonder if it wasn't just me...)

Edited at 2013-10-07 12:50 (UTC)
8th Oct, 2013 07:51 (UTC)
I think maybe I witter on about Az so much that nobody felt there was anything to add!
7th Oct, 2013 18:08 (UTC)

Wow, Perl weighs less than Floss now! I can't imagine a tiny Perl, hope she's ok. Footie looks his usual grumpy old man self in the photo, he's so lovely.

I think you're right about Henning & Yams, can't ever see them snuggling. I can't imagine two more different cats, big, hairy and soft & small, silky & angry (& snotty), but both gorgeous :-)

Poor old Az, he's getting to be a real old gent now, nice that the spirit is still willing though, even if the flesh is weaker :-(

8th Oct, 2013 07:55 (UTC)
Perl's just kind of saggy, and she seems to need to take a rest a lot - she'll go and have a drink and then have a little nap by the bowl before she goes back to bed...

I mostly notice the difference when I pick her up, she doesn't look very different - I think her skin is still the same size, just not as full of Perl!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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