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Senior Cats And Health Care

Senior cat health issues

Got a senior cat?

Aging is not for the weak of heart, I’ve decided.  Especially when you have a kitty who is 16 years old!  I try everything I can to be proactive for all my cats’ health, and although it’s not cheap, I find getting a new blood panel twice a year to be extremely valuable.  Senior cats can develop complex health issues, so it’s important to stay on top of things.

Six months ago Hershey was having some challenges with feline hyperthyroidism along with elevated liver enzymes.  Back in November he had been very hit and miss with his appetite, so I finally broke down and took him in for another check up.  His thyroid and liver levels came back still too high so our vet and I agreed it was time to put him on meds to help control the hyperthyroidism.  

Keep Re-Checking

Senior cat health care

We went back three weeks later to recheck his blood pressure.  He truly is a great little patient…rarely making a sound on the car ride to the clinic or even during the exam.   He definitely didn’t like the blood pressure cuff!  Poor thing…by the time the third or fourth test out of five was completed he was trembling in his carrier while I held on to him.  His numbers came back high again, I think due to the discomfort and stress, so we decided to do the follow up blood work right then.  He had been on his new meds, Methimazol, for three weeks, and we wanted to see if things were returning to normal.  He is also taking 1/2 ml of a homeopathic remedy called Natrum Mur twice a day.

I waited anxiously for the two days to pass, and when the vet called I finally got some good news:  his thyroid levels were back in range, and his liver enzymes were also back to normal!  His recent ultrasound revealed that his kidneys were starting to show signs of erosion and his blood work confirmed that his kidneys were definitely more compromised. 

Kidney Support For Senior Cats

We needed to support them as best as possible because the erosion process wasn’t going to reverse itself.  I pulled out every kidney support product I have:  herbal medicine, homeopathy, supplements…you name it.  My intention was to find the very best one to support Hershey’s kidneys and not waste time or money with products that weren’t going to work.  I used muscle testing to determine the best to start with:  Renapath by Energetix.  According to their website,

Renapath is a homeopathic combination formula for symptoms of weakened kidney such as bloating and frequent, diminished, or involuntary urination. Since the function of the kidneys is to filter the blood and remove waste it is often noted that the kidneys become weakened at critical stages in a healing process.

After a couple of weeks and retesting I switched him to an herbal supplement called Kidney Gold by Pet Wellbeing.  I’m also using a product called Phos Bind by Rx Vitamins that reduces the load his kidneys have in processing phosphorus.  Due to the connection between cans, BPA and hyperthyroidism I’ve been incorporating fresh or freeze-dried raw food into his canned food with the hope that he will ultimately be off canned cat food for good.  Truth be told, he’s been a tough cookie!  With his appetite being up and down these days he’s been very picky when it comes to his food.  

How Can I Help His Appetite?

senior cat healthBecause I’m not a fan of using drugs and giving Hershey B12 injections myself may make me pass out (I’m needle phobic), I started searching for some natural appetite stimulants.  There are lots of possibilities out there, including herbals, homeopathy, dietary supplements like Nutri-Cal, and even catnip.  One source even suggested that some cats just need to be held more.  This helps reduce stress and reaffirm your love and affection.  With Hershey this really does help!  He will often walk around wailing loudly until I pick him up and cuddle him.  I tried offering him catnip and it was a success, but he didn’t test well for any of the homeopathy.  

With a lot of patience, love and determination I will continue to offer him some fresh raw meat or freeze-dried food with his favorite canned products with the hope that at some point we can eliminate canned food for good.   To help support his kidneys we even got a second pet fountain and put it upstairs to make access to fresh water more convenient.  

Find a Vet You Can Partner With

Great health requires constant monitoring and tweaking, especially when it comes to senior cats.  Having a cat with hyperthyroidism has been a challenge due to the complications the disease can have on other organs.  It’s great when you can partner with your vet to be your cat’s best advocate.  Our vet has been very open-minded about my desire to treat conditions as naturally as possible, whenever possible, and this has truly put me at ease, allowing me to make the most important decisions regarding Hershey’s health.  Hopefully he and I will share a few more years together!

Do you have a senior cat?  What preventative measures are you using that’s helping?  Leave a comment below!

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