Update on adopting: any info on senior cats? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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Update on adopting: any info on senior cats?

Well, after several more visits to the shelter I think I've found the kitty I want to bring home. He is the cat I mentioned in an earlier post, an old man who is pretty thin but is very sweet. On my subsequent visits he always came up to me and stood (never sat haha) in my lap and let me pet him. I wasn't considering him at first, but I started to think he might be a good choice because he was extremely laid back and even-tempered, and I just felt so bad seeing him so thin and wasted. I realized I didn't want a super young cat since I just wanted a lap companion and a lazy bum :3

My only reservations are surrounding his age. His collar said he was 9 1/2 years, but when I finally got some more info on his health from a tech, they said he was more like 10-12 years. He has been at the shelter since 2008...he was adopted once and the owner died, then was adopted again and returned because "he got sick" (seems like he was neglected) and was returned in his current wasted and sickly condition. The tech had the vet do an exam on him and I was informed today that the vet will call me with the results of his blood test and exam on Monday so I can discuss his health, etc., but according to the tech he is able to be adopted.

It's not so much the fact that he's got a high age number, I'm more worried about getting him and then having to deal with a lot of health problems in just a few years or chronic conditions, etc. The shelter is offering me a permanent foster program, meaning they will pay for his vet care as long as I live in the area, but if I move in a year or two I will be on my own with the finances. I'm 23 and while I have a good job now, I am planning on going back to school soon so my budget will be tight (though I plan on saving some money now for his care in the future)

How much does the upkeep of a senior cat cost? How old can cats really get and be healthy, especially ones from the shelter with rough backgrounds (like I said, he was possibly neglected) Has anyone else adopted a cat in this age range and how did it work out? He is definitely a sweet cat...sweet enough to be adopted twice and he clearly just wants some love and attention. It would make me feel good to put him on a good diet and give him a quiet place to himself out of the stressful shelter and all of the other sick cats there.

Anyway, any info would be great! I attached a pic of him too... he looks angry but he was purring and let me scratch him through the bars. :3 He also looks to my eye like he might have some Maine Coon in him...the shape of the head looks like that anyway....his fur is pretty short though.

Last edited by marie73; 09-26-2012 at 03:50 PM.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 06:03 PM
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I haven't had to deal with feline geriatrics yet so I'll let someone else answer that, I just wanted to say that whomever adopts and gives this poor soul a home for the rest of his life has some mighty good karma coming to them.

It certainly sounds like he chose you.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 06:23 PM
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I never adopted an older cat. I had two brothers that we adopted when they were kittens. Felix developed cardiomyopathy at age 12 with all of the things that went along with it: Extra vet visits, medications, cardiologist visits with test and followups. Felix was so good with fighting it - the average "life span" of a cat diagnosed with moderate to severe cardiomyopathy is 1 year. Felix stayed with us for a little over two years before we finally had to have him put to sleep in April of this year. His quality of life was good right up to a few days before the end. Taking care of him was expensive but I wouldn't change a thing we did for him.

His surviving brother Oscar is 14 years old. He is overweight, but we are working on that. He is healthy and has no major health problems. He is now on a six month checkup schedule with our vet and I take him in right away if anything comes up. (He is currently on antihistimines for a few weeks until the mold/pollen counts go away.) His major expense is food and the regular vet visits which would be the same if he were younger.

So, I don't think you can really know. You could adopt him and he could be healthy for a long time. You could adopt a kitten and run into major health problems early. I think this little man has chosen you and you could give him a very love-filled life. The future brings what the future brings...
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 06:26 PM
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Oh please please please adopt this little guy!
it sounds like all he needs really is a stable home with someone to love. That's a really generously offer of the shelter, though, to let you foster him permanently and pay all his vet bills. The sneaky thing to do would be to take them up on it and then if someone DOES come along to adopt him out from under you, then you can hopefully decide at that point that YOU want to adopt him instead. That would mean future vet bills would be up to you but maybe by then he will have proven himself happy and healthy enough not to need much vet care.

We actually adopted a 10 1/2 old cat and she's 11 now and is doing fabulous! I think the steady home environment and the gobs of care and love she gets, along with the much healthier grain free wet diet and regular exercise has been like the fountain of youth for her. She is doing great with no health problems at all right now. Knock on wood a zillion times!
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 06:39 PM
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He doesn't look angry to me, he looks as if he's hopeful. I think they know that visitors mean adoption. They know that visitors mean that cats leave the shelter, and he's been adopted before. There's sadness there as well.

I'm sort of old, so I adopted seniors. The first was Zenobi and I lost her to metastasising lung cancer. The vet told me she was suffering. I should maybe have waited a bit longer. She was ten and I had her just short of a year.

I think shelters maybe shave a few years off a senior's age, or maybe they don't have time to keep up with the records when a cat has been there a while. So I'm estimating my present cat, Missy, at 12/13. She was overweight with matted hair when adopted over two years ago. She seems quite healthy, but a picky eater.

It's always possible that a senior cat will carry some emotional garbage or bad habit a from previous owner. Zenobi did, but we got over that and she and I, in the very short time we were together, became very good friends.

A cat, indeed any animal companion that we accept the guardianship of, even a young one, is a bit of a gamble. However, most will respond well to kindness and respect. And the seniors do love getting a home.

I hope this helps.


Last edited by marie73; 09-26-2012 at 03:51 PM.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 06:49 PM
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I think it's great that you want to adopt an older kitty. They do tend to be overlooked. I cannot grasp how someone can just get rid of a pet after a couple weeks let alone years...

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 07:11 PM
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I agree with OSCARSMOM... I just took in a sickly feral kitten (I figured he had worms but had no idea how bad his parasites were) and have probably had him at the vet 8 times in 1.5 months... it's a gamble. I have to say, though, that I'd rather eat ramen noodles every day than not have my furbabies. Other than that, bless you for considering a senior! My second oldest cat was 2 when I got him (not a senior but not a kitten), and it was such a relief not to have to go through that kitten phase! They're adorable but very needy compared to an older cat.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 07:15 PM
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He doesn't look angry to me, he looks as if he's hopeful.
I agree. I have never adopted a senior cat but I have two cats that are 9 and 10 years old. They are both healthy and the only serious, expensive medical issue was many years ago. My friends have a healthy 20-year-old cat. You cannot predict how things will turn out. A permanent fostering program is something I have never heard of. I think you should take advantage of that. If you move out of town it will be for a better, higher paying job and I think you'll be able to manage.

Last edited by marie73; 09-26-2012 at 03:51 PM.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 08:03 PM
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My heart went out to this kitty reading about him. I always love the under dogs. Most senior cats end up dying in shelter which makes me so sad.

That being said I have to give kudos to the shelter willing to do a foster program and provide vet care. Awesome!

If I were you, I would ask the shelter to do a blood test so you could see exactly what is going on with his health. Also most likely, I’d bet he’d need a dental which can be costly. I would request that. Once you see the blood results you can know how to proceed in getting him back to good health. You could have another 10 good years with him!

I once adopted out a cat from a local shelter that was dying of cancer. I knew she would die there. Long story and had posted it on Rainbow Bridge about Sissy. These cats know and love you for taking them in and rescuing them. If this cat has your heart, then go for it. I hope you do.

There are many on this forum that can help you with getting him on a good diet to aid in his recovery. He looks like a sweat heart that had some bad luck but you’re his angels. Keep us posted.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Mitts & Tess View Post
Once you see the blood results you can know how to proceed in getting him back to good health. You could have another 10 good years with him!
Exactly what I was thinking. But make sure to get the actual test results (actual values and normal range) and post them here on H&N forum...we have a couple people that can help you interpret them. I suggest this because a vet will often give you a generic "bloodwork looks good" statement and not mention that several values, while in the normal range, are actually on the hairy edge which is a predictor of future issues. I learned about this the hard way...

If the results look decent for a cat his age, then definitely go ahead with taking him on...you could very well get 6-10 years. I have a senior (Maggie) who will be 16 in October. The only major issue we've had is that she developed hyperthyroid, the rest of her blood test results looked so good that I went ahead and had radioactive iodine treatment done. Her latest blood work showed that her kidney values are still very much in the normal range and almost identical to where they were 3 years ago. She's active (sometimes even more than the 11 and 6 year old), eats well, and is just a happy little girl. You can have many good years with a senior.

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