22 year old cat

kashka_katNovember 12, 2012

My cat will be 22 next July. She had the beginning stages of kidney disease a few years back, but is still quite stable. Sometimes drinks/pees more than normal, but not always. (I think feeding nothing but wet food has helped in that regard.) Occasionally pukes up a mucous mess after she eats, but not very often, may or may not be kidney related.

Has given up grooming so she looks a mess, and she sleeps most of the day and then spends the night as she has her entire life, either sleeping next to my head or sitting there purring.

Still uses the litterbox faithfully, except if the other cat gets in her space and terrorizes her (then she just lets loose wherever she happens to be.) If its a sunny day she still goes out on the back porch and sleeps in the sun and occasionally I take her down to the garden in a carrier - its nice to see her still being a cat and finding some enjoyment in life.

So Im not needing any advice at this time about letting go - I think when the time comes the worst of it will be just the sheer loss of it - 22 years of a kitty purring all night next to your head is not something I will easily let go of The only regret is not having her teeth cleaned at 10, or at 15 when it could have been done. The thing is - I thought a 10 year old cat was old! Then I thought 15 was old and she wouldnt live much longer. Little did I know!

Just curious if anyone out there has had such an elderly cat - just how long do they live anyway? And what things have you done to make them more comfortable.

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I had a Siamese who live to 20 or 21. He was the love of my life. Now I have another one who is my heart cat. I have three others who I love dearly, but this one who is 10, I hope will be here as long as yours. She's with me all day and i even dream about her.

I also have another indeterminate aged cat...could be in upper teens. I've had her since I rescued her pregnant and starving. No age but estimated at 7 or 8 and that was 10 years ago, Routine is the answer, and a stress less life. And keep them inside for a protected life.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 12:18PM
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My last batch of kitties (let's say a collection I rescued from various sources) lived to their later teens but one who succumbed to FIP and her mother, a feral who died from cancer). The oldest of whom was eighteen and was still healthy other than a megacolon probably the aftereffect of a fractured hip when he was a kitten. Twenty plus a couple years is yes, not an unusual lifetime for a healthy, well-cared for cat. My mother had one who lived to 21, almost 22. My MIL even had a large dog (collie mix), a totally outside farm dog who had no vet care at all and ate human food (don't look at me, LOL, I had no control over it) and that dog lived to twenty, and up to the last few months was still going out on hunts. No for a dog, especiallly a large dog, especially an outside dog, and throw in all the other circumstances. That is ancient. God bless and hope you kitty sets records and has more healthy, happy years to come.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 1:02PM
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We had a cat who lived to about 19-20. I got him from a neighbor who couldn't tend to him enough. He was awesome.

The oldest cat I ever knew was a Siamese too. She boarded at the vet I worked at every winter when they went to the Caribbean for a week to scuba dive.

She was so cranky! And spoiled. Owners left deli meat & cash to replenish deli meat. Instructions included whispering sweet nothings while she was hand-fed. They'd phone every day & we had to hold the phone to her cage.

Then she got sick at Christmas one year & we were so busy. The Dr. had her on a back counter on a heating pad (she was almost gone, no danger of falling off) & I kept going to her to say I'll sit w/you at lunch. She died before lunch & I went in the X-ray room to cry. I NEVER cried over animals passing away but she was special. And I really wanted to be with her to make her passing more peaceful. The hospital was a madhouse that day. I believe she was 23 yrs old.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 1:13PM
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Animals live a long time in my house. Last my 18-1/2 year old last July. The old man before him was almost 21 when he passed. I have a 22 year old cockatiel that plays with the 1 year old cat.

If you take care of them, they will live a long time. Just give them all the love you can.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 1:49PM
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We had a long-haired white indoor kitty who lived to be 22 and a half. The vet said she was his oldest patient.

She had to be brushed with a de-matting comb and have subcutaneous fluids for kidney failure the last few months, which we gave her at home pretty easily.

Another two boy cats lived to be 18, and those had the fluids the last year or so.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 11:08PM
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boy, would i love to see a 22-year-old cat. can you
show pictures of your beloved?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 8:32PM
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Mine have lived to be 16, 19 and 20. The ones I have now are 18, 13 and 3. Twenty-two seems to be getting pretty close to the top.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 9:29PM
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Loved the old cat stories - and jomuir, some I think prefer to be alone when they pass. Ive heard of that happening w people too, they wait until everyone is out of the room. I think in spite of your regret the kitty knew you cared.

Sorry, luvdogs, I'm one of the few on the planet who still doesn't have a digital camera. Kashka (my namesake!) looks kind of like a punk rocker with matted spiky calico fur, other than that surprisingly good for her age. I wipe her down with a warm wash cloth now and then but it's not really getting out all the dirt and oil anymore. I wonder if there's some kind of shampoo thats easily rinsed and wouldnt leave a lot of residue? She would complain about being bathed but if it was over quickly I think she would appreciate being clean.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 6:28PM
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We had George who we put to sleep at 22. He was blind, deaf, and had asthma (we thought hairballs but it wasn't) and he had stopped eating and drinking. He was telling us it was time to go.

Indoor cats live on average 12-15 years whereas outdoor cats only live on average 4-6 years. I read that recently, very shocked because George was an outdoor cat all his life.

Our Frankie passed away from heart disease (common among Ragdoll cats) at 10, and he was an indoor cat. His sister Lily is 13 and 6 years ago she was getting very thin and bony and we took her to the vet hospital. She had kidney stones. They did surgery to remove the stones from her right kidney and discovered the left one was completely dead. The hospital did an ultrasound a day later and it showed the stones were back. We chose not to have anymore tests or procedures done and took her home to live out the rest of her days. When we got home, I sat with her for a little talk. I told her we loved her so very much and if it was her time to go we would help her on her way, but we really loved her and wanted her with us as long as she wanted to be here. She watched me and listened the whole time without moving a muscle, and, a week later when she should have passed or gotten worse, her former skeleton feel seemed to have more meat on her bones and she seemed perkier. We took her back to the hospital and they did another ultrasound and not only was the "dead" kidney healthy and functioning, the stones in the other kidney were gone completely! The hospital was so amazed that one of the students (it is a teaching hospital) gave us the last tests and ultrasounds at no charge, she was going to write a paper about the "miracle" that Lily was.

We also switched to Hill's KD prescription dry and wet food, it is expensive (all four of our cats free feed on it) but I believe it has kept Lily healthy and alive.

They will let you know when they are ready. Your heart will tell you one thing, but listen to your mind and your kitty, that is where the decision lies.

Best of luck, and here's to hoping for a long life for her!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 4:57AM
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My cat is 19, with renal failure, and he is the skankiest looking thing you ever have seen! Never grooms himself (doesn't even like to be brushed), skinny at 6 pounds, usually has a shaved neck from blood draws and we usually have to shave the matts off his back here and there. Teeth and breath are just awful! I wish like you I had found a vet that was good with teeth to do work on them when he was younger (My vet at the time told me he was "too old" at 13). But I love him to pieces just the way he is! I'm having problems right now with eating--will post myself. With a cat that old, I think you develop a really special relationship.

My other cats lived to be 18, 19 and 20. Great health up until a year or two before they died. I did lose a couple when young to coyotes, and two to feline leukemia quite young. They were all outside cats--I can't stand being cooped up and can't do that to my cats.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 10:32PM
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Kashka, you are lucky and so is your dear cat. Good idea on keeping her on wet food! Keeps her better hydrated.

Some things to offer an older cat:

1. Put a heating pad set on low under her bed to keep her warmer. Or get a Snugglesafe.

2. Get a grooming mitt, or just stroke with a glove.

3. Warm her food slightly.

I envy you. Kiss your cat for me.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 8:51AM
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spedigrees z4VT

It's wonderful that your 22 year old kitty is still holding her own. A calico too, cat after my own heart! They do get kind of scraggly in their last years, because of being unable to groom themselves, but then a smooth coat isn't everything! A 22 year old cat is equal to a 105 yr old human, and I bet most of us would be lucky to have hair at all by that age!

Our first cat, Paisley, lived to be 23. Then Ms Fluffy and Squiggy made it to ages 20 and 21 (or 21 and 22 - the vet's records differed from mine, I think because they counted each patient's birthday as Jan of the year they were born, while I kept track of their actual birthdays). We lost Johanna at age 10 due to internal injuries. Our current kitty, Plywood, is 19 and doing fine.

I try to get my pet's teeth cleaned a last time when they reach late middle age, but regardless their teeth usually deteriorate once they get up there in years. Antibiotics usually can clear up dental infections once they are too old for teeth cleanings.

Giving sub-cutaneous fluids at home might be something you should look into. It greatly improves the quality of life for geriatric pets and probably extends their lives as well. It should eliminate her nausea and perk up her appetite, and, in general make her feel better. I give fluids to my old girl once a week.

The suggestion of a heating pad is a good one too. My kitty loves her heating pad bed on the table by the front window. It's therapeutic for those old bones and joints.

I think they included feral cats, and cats who receive only minimal vet care, in the equation when they estimated the age at which a cat is considered "old." Because at age 10, all my cats behaved like pets who had scarcely reached middle age.

And gogwmos, I know that statistics on ferals were used when computing the longevity of outdoor vs indoor cats. Also many outdoor cats are not given the level of veterinary care as indoor cats, so this too skews the equation. I once heard a vet give a talk where she said that her feline clients in their 20s are all indoor/outdoor cats. There are many health benefits for a cat who is allowed outside, soaking up sunshine and eating, partially at least, a natural prey diet. Obviously the possibility of accidents from cars or predators factors in also, but the statistics do not really apply to an indoor/outdoor cat who has a good home and is well cared for. All of ours were indoor/outdoor kitties.

I hope your kitty will be with you for some time to come. You are right, everyday is a gift, but she may surprise you and live another couple years or more. At any rate if she is enjoying even some parts of her life, she is not ready to leave you.

This post was edited by spedigrees on Sun, Dec 2, 12 at 17:29

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 3:23PM
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We (my wife and I) had two wonderful female cats. Both lived past 20 years. Jasmin, the oldest, lived to be 22 1/2 years and Sydney, lived to be 21 years. Unfortunately, in 2009, they both developed kidney disease. (After a long and expensive hospital battles) we were forced to do the humane thing and allowed them to succumb to their illness. It hurt both of us very badly, but we are now emotionally buoyed in the knowledge that we all had a grand old time during those 2+ decades.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 5:19PM
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My wifes best friend just lost her cat of 25 years.

Our cat just turned 6 and we love her so much! I hope she lives to 20..we really can't imagine our lives without her :-)


    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 7:45PM
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