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Old 04-28-2012, 04:34 PM
 
Location: the wrong side of the tracks Richmond, VA
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Question for the senior owners out there... do you groom your cats when they no longer can like they used to? If so, what works well for you? I'm interested in hearing what you use specifically, how you use it, how often etc.

My 15 year old can still manage to launch herself up to the couch and the perch on the window no problem so she's still doing well but she's very slow and evidently arthritic so she can't quite reach herself like she used to. I've noticed in the last year or so she doesn't do much grooming except for her paws and I would like to help her in the least humiliating way possible. She doesn't smell but her coat has lost its sheen and I want her to be comfortable without making her mad. You know, she deserves dignity in her old age and all that.

I have the Pet Head wipes but they don't seem to do much in the way of cleaning. I do also have a Furminator which is especially great for her since she is a medium hair Tortie. She doesn't like it (especially around her tail - she was abused as a kitten and one of the things the jerk would do was pull her tail so she doesn't like when you touch her backside but unfortunately that is the area that needs the most help due to her fur length) but she will sit still for it and seems happier once all that heavy undercoat is gone.

I have never owned a geriatric cat so despite doing research on the matter, I'm not quite sure how much I should be helping her if at all. Any advice or insight?
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Old 04-28-2012, 05:07 PM
Status: "Support the Mining Law of 1872" (set 29 days ago)
 
Location: Cody, WY
10,233 posts, read 13,036,132 times
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Help her to the extent that she enjoys it. I had a cat who actually liked it when a dog licked his face. Most cats are disgusted and outraged. In general, I'd say that they like what they've liked as younger cats whether it's a wire brush (for the thick coats) or just a stroking hand.

Do what she likes; you won't go wrong.
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Old 04-28-2012, 05:08 PM
 
Location: Near Nashville TN
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As far as her rear end goes, either cut the fur shorter or have a groomer at your vet do it. I have a young medium haired cat and we have to trim her "backside" and under her bushy tail to help her keep it clean and odorless. We do it about 3 times a year.
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Old 04-28-2012, 05:55 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
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Yes I definetly help my fluffy furball Senior Citizen kitty. I also have a Furminator and with her thick coat it really helps. I brush and comb her too. I noticed as she was getting older (13 sometime this year) she wasn't doing as good a job as in the past of grooming herself by herself. Part of that is she has a touch of spondylosis in her back and cannot reach as well.

She looks great with her grooming and she purrs all the while I am taking care of her. It's like a bonding between us.

I am a Senior Citizen too. I don't were makeup any longer and I now dress for more for comfort than style. I guess not being so fastidious regarding grooming (or clothes) kind of comes with old age.
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Old 04-29-2012, 10:05 AM
 
8,267 posts, read 15,863,374 times
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My most recent senior girlie has gone to the Bridge these past three years, but in her last two years I groomed her every day and she loved it. Usually it was a dry grooming with her favorite comb. But three times a week I got out her Little White Bucket and she would get so excited to know she was going to have her bath. She would hurry to her bed next to the heater and wait for me to lay a towel down over the bed, then she would climb in.

I put warm water in her Little White Bucket. I had a paper towel handy to remove fur from the comb. When all was ready, I would dip the comb in the warm water and comb her with it. I followed the same routine as when dry combing her, as did she, turning and twisting to make sure I didn't miss a single spot, dipping the comb in the warm water after every few strokes. Before dipping the comb, I used the paper towel to pull the fur off the comb. She was a tiny cat but had heavy thick long wavy fur.

By the time we were done she was only slightly damp, but enough so she felt fresh and clean. I would remove the towel, but leave the heater on (even in summer, until she was dry) and she would curl up for a nice long nap.

I poured the water down the drain by straining it through a paper towel to avoid all that fur going down the drains.

This was very special bonding time for us and I cherish the memory of it.

PS this ritual was also very good exercise for her, because she did a lot of turning, twisting and stretching in her soft but supportive bed to allow me to comb all her spots. By the time we were done, whether it was wet or dry combing, not only did she feel clean and relaxed, all her muscles and joints had been gently stretched.

Last edited by catsmom21; 04-29-2012 at 10:21 AM.. Reason: .
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Old 04-29-2012, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,502 posts, read 49,472,062 times
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try the Zoom Groom. I use it on my Ragdolls and am astounded how much fur I get off. She might love it.
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Old 04-29-2012, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Near Nashville TN
7,201 posts, read 13,511,635 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minervah View Post

I am a Senior Citizen too. I don't were makeup any longer and I now dress for more for comfort than style. I guess not being so fastidious regarding grooming (or clothes) kind of comes with old age.
I'm also a senior and can really relate to that.
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Old 04-29-2012, 02:10 PM
 
2,873 posts, read 5,373,772 times
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One thing often neglected on older cat is the nail sheaths. When cats dig into a scratching post (or couch), they're actually removing the old nail sheaths. When they get older this is harder for them to do and the old sheaths just keep building up. They end up with really thickened nails that can't retract well. You can help here by clipping the nail and then gently working the old sheaths loose if the cat will tolerate it.

Because older cats don't typically scratch their owners as much as kittens, nail trimming seems to fall by the wayside. It was very common at my hospital to see senior cats with gnarled, thickened claws. I had a 'thing' about it and just had to clip those suckers and get rid of all the built up sheaths and crud.

Edited to add a reference picture of what I'm talking about. Go here: http://catpurrfection.com/images/thick_cat_nail-2.JPG

Most of what you're looking at in that picture isn't actually the nail. The nail is under several old sheaths. If you pulled them off the nail would be sharp and pointy like you'd expect for a cat's claw.
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Old 04-29-2012, 02:22 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,697 posts, read 26,100,930 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ParallelJJCat View Post
One thing often neglected on older cat is the nail sheaths. When cats dig into a scratching post (or couch), they're actually removing the old nail sheaths. When they get older this is harder for them to do and the old sheaths just keep building up. They end up with really thickened nails that can't retract well. You can help here by clipping the nail and then gently working the old sheaths loose if the cat will tolerate it.

Because older cats don't typically scratch their owners as much as kittens, nail trimming seems to fall by the wayside. It was very common at my hospital to see senior cats with gnarled, thickened claws. I had a 'thing' about it and just had to clip those suckers and get rid of all the built up sheaths and crud.

Edited to add a reference picture of what I'm talking about. Go here: http://catpurrfection.com/images/thick_cat_nail-2.JPG

Most of what you're looking at in that picture isn't actually the nail. The nail is under several old sheaths. If you pulled them off the nail would be sharp and pointy like you'd expect for a cat's claw.
On another thread, I mentioned having to have my cat's two deformed claws double row on the thumb of each paw that grow sideways against her paws professionally clipped as she got older. One reason was just what you mention; claws have gotten thicker and a little gnarled and she cannot not bite the tips and trim them herself as she used to. So if they are not clipped they will grow into her paws.

I cannot clip them because I don't have the fine motor skills (shaky hands) to do it and a regular clippers don't work well. It's worth the $12 I pay the groomers to do it. She doesn't like the trip to the groomer but she has come to expect her treats and loves when we get home.

I think older kitties, like older people, sometimes have special or at least different needs to stay healthy.
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Old 04-29-2012, 02:37 PM
 
Location: Northern Illinois
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We have several seniors who need varying types/amounts of help keeping them clean and happy. Two of our senior girls are sisters who are overweight and can't reach their backs and backsides. They tend to get dandruff and little fur mats and I used to catch them scooting their butts on the carpet. They were chubby when we adopted them from my nephew and his wife a few years ago, and they have gotten fatter but still have the tiniest feet! Anyway, I brush and comb their furry backsides and I buy baby wipes and gently clean their "nether regions" because a) it needs to be done, b)they seem to be more comfortable when they are properly clean, and c) I don't like having butt dragging going on on my carpets!! A couple of our other older guys tend to do a pretty good job of keeping the head, ears, chest, and front paw area pretty well groomed but neglect the sides, backs, and underbelly. Their fur looks unkempt, and once again Mama (that would be ME) helps them out. I get a lot of this done while watching TV in the evening - they seem to know that is their time, and I love getting smoochies from them. Everybody likes to be pampered!!!!
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