Worried and concerned about old cats behavior

IMPORTANT: If your cat is in any distress or discomfort, please consult your own vet as your first priority.
Post Reply
New Cat Chatter
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:25 am

Worried and concerned about old cats behavior

Post by Worried » Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:28 am

My cat is almost 17 years old and for the most part has always been healthy. However about two years ago he started scratching my face and arms while I was asleep to get me up to feed him. I tried closing the door for a while and that seemed to help and eventually he came back into my room. Unfortunately he well he doesn’t scratch my face anymore he does scratch my arms and it takes a really long time for the scratches to heal. A friend of mine is saying that it’s time to put him downBecause he really doesn’t have much quality of life for example he doesn’t play with anything anymore and sleeps most of the day and the other part he’s meowing a lot and I don’t can’t seem to satisfy him although he seems to be hungry I gave him food he still doesn’t eat that much. Do I just ask the vet what to do or is there something else I can do on my own?

VIP Cat Chatter!
Posts: 1125
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:58 am
No. of cats in household: 1
Location: UK

Re: Worried and concerned about old cats behavior

Post by Mollycat » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:06 am

Hello and welcome to the forum. Cats do always find the one thing we can't sleep through, don't they :roll: One of my old ones used to scratch with one single claw just inside my boyfriend's nostril!

Older cats ideally need to be seen by a vet every 6 months as check-ups can show up early signs of problems before the cat lets any symptoms show. I'm not preaching here though, the 3 cats in my previous relationship never saw a vet for years and one is still going strong at 22 years old.

I would see a vet with your old boy though. If he is always hungry and meowing a lot but not eating much it could be as simple as he is getting a bit quirky in his old age or there could be something wrong that could easily be treated. It's normal for older cats to sleep a lot and not do very much though, they can easily sleep 20 hours a day.

The time to say goodbye is not when your friend says so, it's not when he just sleeps a lot, and it's not just because he's old and tired and hasn't got the energy to play and eats less because he isn't using much energy. It's possible these changes are because he isn't feeling well, but it's possible he is just slowing down as we all do when we get old. The vet should really see him and be able to tell you which it is and help you assess his quality of life. He might be very happy, comfortable and contented just sleeping a lot and doing nothing. On the other hand he could need help to feel better or to move on, but whichever it is a vet is best to help guide you.

User avatar
Ruth B
VIP Cat Chatter!
Posts: 1540
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:31 am
No. of cats in household: 3
Location: Wolverhampton

Re: Worried and concerned about old cats behavior

Post by Ruth B » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:50 am

Welcome to the forum.

My first suggestion is to get your old lad checked by a vet and some blood tests done, make sure there is no problem with his mouth, and that all of his organs are still functioning reasonably well. That at least will let you know that the only issue is that he is getting a bit old.

If his scratching you at night is a problem then there is no reason you can't shut him out of the bedroom at night. Make him a nice cosy bed somewhere, make sure his food, water and litter tray are all fairly close by and leave him be each night, and shut your bedroom door, you might even want to consider shutting him in one room instead. He might yell a bit to start with, but you will have to ignore him and leave him to it, he will soon settle into a routine and just sleep through the night. If he does start to yell in the early hours each morning then a timer food bowl set to open at that point with some food or treats in might be enough to calm him down.

I have an old girl, about the same age as your lad and like him she spends most of her time asleep. i recently got some of the cat cave bed as I'm having some work done on the house soon and thought they would give one of my other cats, who is rather nervous, somewhere to hide while the workmen are here, Tiggy, my old girl has claimed two of them. Some times she will eat anything put in front of her, other times she will turn her nose up at it. It may not be the wild adventurous life she had when she was younger, but she is an old lady and if she is happy to sit in a cat bed and watch the world go by then that is fine by me, she is happy enough, so I'm happy with that. One day she will let me know she has had enough and then we will have a vet help her on her way. I have a feeling your lad is the same, happy to live the life of an elderly gentleman, and there is nothing wrong with that. If the vet can't find anything wrong, and he isn't in pain, then if could be that sleeping, eating and plodding around the house is a good enough life for him at his age.

User avatar
VIP Cat Chatter!
Posts: 932
Joined: Sat Dec 23, 2017 6:11 pm
No. of cats in household: 2
Location: North West England

Re: Worried and concerned about old cats behavior

Post by fjm » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:35 am

I too would recommend a complete vet check. The thing that springs to mind, given his age and night time hunger, is hyperthyroidism - it is very common in older cats, and there are several treatment options. A sore mouth would make him reluctant to eat and arthritis would slow him down - also conditions very common in older cats, and both treatable. I would make an appointment ASAP, budget for blood tests, and take it from there. Both my cats are a similar age to yours - Pippin was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism two years ago, and has had moderate arthritis for many years. Tilly has early kidney disease. Pip's hyperthyroidism was treated successfully, and he gets painkillers and glucosamine to control the arthritis; Tilly is on a special diet which is keeping her in good health. You may be surprised at the improvement in your cat with quite simple interventions, and should it prove that there is something more going on you will at least be making your plans based on firm evidence.

In the meantime I also agree that if he is harming you with his scratching he needs a room of his own!

Post Reply