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Old 07-15-2013, 02:21 AM
 
Location: California
454 posts, read 729,594 times
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How many posters have a senior cat in their household, over 20 years old? Tell a little about them and the changes you notice as they get further along in years.

I have a 23 year old cat, Ebony... she is a sweet, petite little girl who has enriched my life greatly. In the last 2 years I notice she moves a lot more slowly, sleeps more and seems thinner/bonier. But she eats like a little piggy, still runs through the house yowling carrying her favorite toy
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Old 07-15-2013, 04:20 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
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Well, it certainly doesn't take 20 years old to make a senior cat. 20 years old is a nice round number, not unlike a 100-year-old human. It's great that your kitty has lived such a long life. It's definitely well above average age, 23 years. Equivalent to human age in any method would put her over 100. (Usually the scale is 15 years for the first year, 8-10 for the second then 4 years for every year after. That puts 20 years at 95-97, although some charts change up this equivalency so that certain years are equal to 5, or maybe they do 4.5 per year.)

The basic concerns about cat health don't really change too much from age maybe 10-12 and on. Various issues of aging may come earlier or later in any given cat, and for you it seems like they are much later, but there's no particular thing that would be more worrisome in a cat at age 23 than a cat at age 15 or such.

I am a little concerned that you say she "seems" thinner/bonier and you may not know for sure. Weight loss is often the first noticeable sign of something wrong, and weight loss while continuing to eat is a classic sign of hyperthyroidism or sometimes diabetes or a few other possible issues, most of which are treatable easily. While it is fantastic that she has reached the age of 23 and has apparently gotten there with few health problems, the weight loss is not something to chalk up simply to old age IMO but is worth checking on.
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Old 07-15-2013, 07:51 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
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23 years old -- amazing! Good for Ebony. I'd love to see a picture of her. *hint hint*
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Tampa bay
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wow thats an old cat
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Old 07-15-2013, 11:41 AM
 
Location: California
454 posts, read 729,594 times
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Hi Greg,

Ebbs had a vet checkup recently, no thyroid/diabetic issues... her kidneys were not operating as efficiently due to extreme age, apparently a common issue in very old cats.. he also mentioned cats in extreme age (as with people) lose muscle mass, making them more fragile looking. so for now i'm just grateful she is with me, i know can't have her forever just taking it one day at a time
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Old 07-15-2013, 11:52 AM
 
Location: California
454 posts, read 729,594 times
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[SIZE=2]

here's pic of Ebony... think i did it right, if doesn't show image, the pic is in my albums under title "Family"
[/SIZE]
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Old 07-15-2013, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SandyLuvsToTravel View Post
Ebbs had a vet checkup recently, no thyroid/diabetic issues... her kidneys were not operating as efficiently due to extreme age, apparently a common issue in very old cats.. he also mentioned cats in extreme age (as with people) lose muscle mass, making them more fragile looking. so for now i'm just grateful she is with me, i know can't have her forever just taking it one day at a time
That's generally good to hear then. Decline in kidney function I think is almost a given in a cat that lives long enough. The only question really is how soon will it get to the noticeable level and will there be anything else that affects the kitty sooner (such as hyperthyroid, etc.) By the time you can actually measure the decline in kidney function via blood testing, it's over 2/3 gone anyway, and you can't get it back (well, short of a transplant, which is so rare and expensive as to be essentially not generally thought of as an option). It's a little odd generally for them to have sustained appetite through this but not impossible. It's also possible that something else is wrong that causes her body not to be able to use the food she is eating. Or just simply the age as you say, although I tend to think it must be related somewhat to the various complications of the age more than just the age alone.

But really, at age 23, I can't imagine going too crazy trying to find unusual problems. The main key is for her to be comfortable as long as she can. And it sounds like she still is for the most part, still gets around, still eats, still plays with a toy. Pretty amazing at 23 I'd say. You might ask the vet, if you want, if she would benefit from any subcutaneous fluid treatment for the kidney function. It's really not invasive at all and Amber actually seemed to enjoy those sessions oddly enough, surprising given the things she didn't tolerate. (Yes you can learn to do it, I promise. I never thought I could either.) The fluid can help keep her hydrated, which it ultimately becomes impossible for her to do on her own with declining kidney function, and it can be a big factor in comfort. But, at age 23, maybe you decide even that is not something you want to do, and it's hard really to insist upon such measures with a cat so advanced in age already.

I hate to say this but yes indeed focus on her now while you have her. Give her all the attention you can spare and she will tolerate. I feel like it would be hard at her age not to expect a sudden and swift decline that could happen at any time. Make the most of the time you have right now.
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Old 07-15-2013, 12:10 PM
 
Location: California
454 posts, read 729,594 times
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Hi Greg !

thanks kindly for info about Sub-Q treatments! will ask my vet if this might be helpful for Eb..

yeah, it's relatively easy to do, have done lots of times with ill cats... i find the only thing they don't like is the coldness of the fluid going into them and they fuss a bit
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Old 07-15-2013, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
9,918 posts, read 22,742,804 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SandyLuvsToTravel View Post
Hi Greg !

thanks kindly for info about Sub-Q treatments! will ask my vet if this might be helpful for Eb..

yeah, it's relatively easy to do, have done lots of times with ill cats... i find the only thing they don't like is the coldness of the fluid going into them and they fuss a bit
Usually the suggestion of sub-q comes with creatinine (most likely) above a certain level, and it's possible that hers isn't that high. Also possible that the vet thinks "Oh she's 23 already" or something to that effect and wouldn't bother to suggest it.

You can warm the fluid by submersing the bag in hot water, which is what I did. I would put the entire set (fluid bag plus IV line) inside a gallon zipper bag to make sure I didn't get anything wet that shouldn't be, then immerse that whole zipper bag in hot water for a while.

I'm going to think most of the info is probably overkill in your situation, but if you want to read more about the kidney disease and its treatments and complications, this is the site: http://felinecrf.org/ I feel more like you may not ever see the various things that can come about and are mentioned there, but, you never know I guess. I will say that at times I felt like there was such a thing as too much reading about symptoms and treatments and had to make myself back away. Anyway, cats without other complications (and sometimes even with some of them) can manage for even a few years or so after initial kidney diagnosis, but I'm not sure what the advanced age would do. Maybe nothing, maybe she could have a couple more years. The record age for cats is in the 30s.
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Old 07-15-2013, 12:36 PM
 
Location: in my mind
5,119 posts, read 7,613,394 times
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My cat turned 17yo in May.... I hope he can make it several more years!

He is a bit wobbly when he walks, gets confused at times, leaves a few poops on the carpet (thankfully most go in the box), he sleeps more than he used to, his body feels a bit more frail than it did in the past, and his fur gets super greasy fast- within 2 weeks of a bath, he needs another one (he has long, fuzzy-fine fur).

But otherwise is still his normal self.

I hate thinking that he is going to be gone one day. I don't think I will ever have a cat as wonderful as this one. He has the best personality, more like a dog than a cat, and is so fluffy and adorable.
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