Cats. It seems that you either are a cat person or you aren’t. The more you don’t enjoy their company the more they enjoy being next to you. That is what I personally think is great about them. They get what they want one way or another.
Cain is a 12 ½ year old Domestic Short Hair cat that I adopted from a rescue in Fargo as a 5 month old kitten. It was love at first meeting. He was chill, friendly and arrogant – just the way I like my cats. He has always been independent with a sprinkling of needy. Through our life together there have been moves, other pets (dogs, cats, and rats) added to the family, pets that have passed away, foster dogs and cats, pet sitting and a child added to his life. He has taken everything in stride. The last one he still does not particularly care for a whole lot.
Signs & Symptoms
Due to some changes in routine with our child recently, I attributed that to Cain acting differently. He wasn’t pestering me in the middle of the night (he certainly wouldn’t want any of the other humans in the house see him seek affection too frequently) and it’s not that I minded the extra sleep. I am a mom after all.
He was keeping to himself more (he doesn’t like the littlest human in the house). He also seemed thinner and hungry more often (if we don’t shut his room door when he eats the other cat pushes him out. Also, he’s old). My husband does the a.m. feeding and doesn’t, AHEM, listen to me to close the pet doors all the time so I thought it was no big deal. He also was vomiting hairballs more frequently. I don’t brush him much because I am not going to follow him all around the house with the brush – a requirement of his.
I had been keeping an eye on him, but all of the changes certainly seemed to have reasons that made sense to me as both a pet owner and a technician. He has had bloodwork periodically throughout his life and it’s always been normal – Yeah! When petting him I had noticed there was less to him (muscle atrophy? It happens to every creature as they age).
Light Bulb Moment – It’s a medical problem!
Finally all of the signs aligned. He was too thin to attribute to anything other than a medical problem. I brought him in and the cat that had always been a consistent 14.7 lbs. his whole life was down to 11.3lbs! Completely unacceptable in my mind that my own cat had lost that much weight and I didn’t realize it. That amount of weight loss without me noticing made me so mad at myself! Clearly all of these signs meant something more than what I had attributed them to.
What kind of bloodwork should I run for my aging cat?
We performed an exam and then were able to run his bloodwork. We covered what is recommended for Sr. Pets: Chemistry Panel, Thyroid and SDMA. All of his organ function was fine. It indeed was Hyperthyroidism.
There is medication available to cats to manage this condition. We tried it and the weight loss stopped, he was acting more like himself. Pestering me again in the middle of the night, cuddling a little more – not too much, he has a reputation to uphold after all.
So if you have any concerns it is always best to contact your Veterinarian to discuss your pet’s well-being. They may want to perform an exam at the very least. Also I urge you to have their annual exams done even when they are healthy. It’s always best to catch something before it becomes a major problem. We can’t have the partnership to keep your pet healthy without you.