THE SENIOR CAT
Written by: Alison W. Certified Veterinary Technician, Reiki Master
Zaichik the Magnificent came into my life while I was working in Moscow, Russia. I grew up in Connecticut but lived all over the US (personal choice – not military) before visiting a friend who was working in Moscow. I’m a country girl and never thought I’d live in a city (let alone one with a population of over 8 million!) – but I got a job working for US Agency for International Development. I managed environmental contracts and as part of my work travelled over the entire country. (That is a book in itself.) I will never forget seeing Siberian Tiger tracks in the Russian Far East.
Zaichik is a Japanese Bobtail and “Zaichik” [z-eye-chik] means “little rabbit” in Russian. “The Magnificent” part was his own idea. Valentina told me he was a very special kitten, and incidentally the grandson of the Japanese Ambassador’s cat. She insisted that I must have him! How could I resist?
Zaichik the Magnificent in my Moscow flat 1996
Veterinary clinics as we know them did not exist in Russia. Vets made “house calls” for everything, including surgery. Fortunately Zaichik was healthy and his only veterinary encounters were for vaccinations and neutering. I got him an international health certificate and passport and was thrilled when I could bring him to the US in 1997.
In the US cats are far less likely than dogs to have annual examinations. Indoor cats aren’t often exposed to contagious diseases, but they are not immune to other potentially life threatening conditions. This is particularly true as cats age.
Among the most common problems in older cats are:
– Kidney disease
When diagnosed in the early stages by your veterinarian these can all be treated. Prompt care will prolong and enhance the quality of your cat’s life. Symptoms to watch for include:
– Increased thirst (generally paired with increased urination)
– Weight loss
– Behavioral changes
Zaichik the Magnificent in NH 2006
Three years ago I noticed a marked increase in the amount of water Zaichik was consuming. He had also lost weight. My first thought was that he might be diabetic. However, blood tests revealed he was hyperthyroid.
Hyperthyroidism can be treated with a daily pill. Note – I did not use the adverb “easily” in the previous sentence. Does the thought of giving your cat a pill strike terror in your heart? The best medicine in the world is worthless if you can’t get your cat to take it. Fear not! Simply ask your vet to prescribe one of the new transdermal gels that are applied to the skin inside the ear – decreased anxiety for people and cats!
Zaichik’s advice for a long and happy life is “see your vet regularly and just say no to stress”. =^..^=
Zaichik the Magnificent in FL 2013
More from Cat Faeries regard hyperthyroid and medication:
1) When applying the transdermal gels you MUST wear either a vinyl glove or a finger cot because you will absorb the medication and this will affect your own thyroid. Gloves and finger cots can be bought at your local drug store.
2) Veterinary Pharmacy of America can take your cat’s prescription and turn it into a tasty treat. Most cats will gobble their medication in the form of a treat right up!
The treats come in these flavors: beef, chicken, liver, and venison.
We favor the venison because it’s gluten free which is something Cat Faeries feels is important. Wheat gluten causes many health problems and we feel cats and people should eliminate it to maintain health. When your venison flavored treats arrive they must be refrigerated right away.
VPA is located in Texas and can be reached by phone at 877-838-7979 or fax 877 329 7979.