Saturday, July 30, 2011

Grandma and the Teenager

This month, one of our clients was considering adopting a sweet kitten named Mitzi.  He called to ask advice about introducing Mitzi to his 20-year-old cat Ella Mae.  We discussed all of the recommendations for introducing new cats like providing a safe room for the new kitten and introducing the cats very slowly under supervision so everyone can get to know each other without negative interactions.  We also discussed a few tips specifically for senior cats like Ella Mae.  We discussed that, at twenty years of age, Ella Mae is like a 100-year old person.  Imagine telling a 100-year-old grandma that she’s getting a new teenage roommate.   It takes some special consideration. 

First, we checked to see that Ella Mae had been in for recent blood work an exam, and vaccines (she is current on vaccines, and she had a blood panel drawn in February of this year).  We recommend that all cats and dogs be examined once a year, and this is especially important for our senior furry family members.  Many of our pets (especially cats) will hide problems as long as they can.  As we’ve discussed before, I find this frustrating because it makes it hard to catch problems early unless they get regular exams and blood work.  To me, it seems that these animals are balancing on a wire until some stressor (like a new kitten) tips them off balance, and a cascade of problems becomes apparent.  Luckily, Ella Mae’s blood work was clean as a whistle.  Still, her owner will be careful to minimize the stress on Ella Mae since she is such a senior girl and she’s used to her quiet routine. He’ll make sure he brushes her every morning as he’s always done and lets her sleep on his bed at night.   He’ll make sure he watches the interaction of his feline friends so that they’ll hopefully become lifelong friends.

Kelley Wagner, C.V.T.

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