Thursday, December 29, 2011

Caring for Our "Seasoned" Wild Cats!

Cerella is 15+ years old!
Did you know that In-Sync Exotics has 15 geratric exotic wild cats?  And out of the 15 geratric cats, 7 of them are cougars! 

First off, let's be clear:  old age is not a disease, rather it's a natural process of life! While veterinarians use a cat's age as a measuring stick for longevity (see charts below), age alone is by no means an indicator of the animal's current health status.

With routine wellness exams, we help our cats maintain an excellent level of health while at the same time recognize early warning signs of age related issues before they become harder to manage.

At In-Sync Exotics, we watch for the following common health conditions found in older cats:
  • Arthritis – difficulty jumping and climbing
  • Cancer – sores or swellings that don’t heal, loss of stamina, difficulty eating or exercising
  • Dental disease – bad breath, difficulty eating, red or painful gums, plaque near the gum line
  • Diabetes – excessive drinking, increased urination or urinating in inappropriate places, lethargy, increased appetite coupled with weight loss
  • Hearing Loss – problems hearing the approach of another cat or animal keepers, startling the big cat
  • Heart problems – lethargy, weakness, poor appetite, weight loss, a persistent cough, breathing difficulties
  • Hyperthyroidism – a change in appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, heat intolerance, more vocal or restless
  • Kidney failure – increased drinking and urination, lethargy, poor appetite, weight loss
  • Reduced immune system function - susceptibility to diseases or infections
  • Reduced sense of smell – smell plays a big role in a cat's appetite so if the cat cannot smell the food, she may be less inclined to eat
  • Senility – disorientation, forgetfulness, excessive vocalization
  • Weight loss – a close watch of the cats' weight is important to detect other health related issues; under weight may be due to underlying disease, changes in metabolism and hormones with increasing age, and/or a decrease in the ability to adequately digest protein
  • Weight obesity – obesity is a metabolic disease with hormonal, metabolic and inflammatory changes that requires immediate attention. It is a risk factor for diabetes, osteoarthritis (OA), respiratory distress, lower urinary tract diseases and early mortality
In-Sync Exotics is unique in that we take in senior and geriatric cats that no one else will accept, such as our recent rescues,  Okemo and Sabu.  Giving these cats a chance to live a rich and full life, no matter how much time they have left with us, is what we are all about!

Since we have so many senior and geriatric exotic wild cats living at the sanctuary, we have to make sure they receive regular vet care; take their prescribed medicine and vitamins; and continue to exercise in order to avoid muscle atrophy. 

For instance, did you know that Okemo and Sabu are currently taking arthritis medication?  And Keenan, our 15+ year old cougar, takes medicine for his heart  as he was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy and arythmia.  Pretty much all our geratic cats are taking glucosamine.

A couple of our cats require help with their food. Mercedes and Keenan have to have their food cut up for them into small chunks and neither of them will eat regular ground up food and both are pretty lazy about chewing on their bones!

For Sabu and Jasmine, we loosen the meat that is on their bones given to them on "bone night" since neither of them have good teeth to rip the meat off the bones for themselves. We keep the meat on the bone so they can still enjoy the full effect of receiving a "meaty" bone; we just make it easy for them to remove their tasty treat!

All of our senior and geratric cats receive special attention during cold days to ensure they remain toasty warm through some of Texas' worse winter weather.

Cat Years Conversion

Thanks to the diligent care provided by our vet, staff, and volunteers, along with the technological advances of veterinary medicine and care, our cats are leading much healthier and longer lives. 
Many people try to convert cat years into human years by a factor of seven for each human year.  This of course is an old wives "tail."   To convert cat age to an equivalent human age, an accepted method is to add 15 years for the first year of life. Then add 10 years for the second year of life. After that, add 4 years for every cat year. This means that by year two, a cat has matured to about the same as a 25 year old human.
Using the form below you can compare your cat's age to relative human years. Remember that this conversion is only an approximation; but it is a useful tool to help you understand the physiological changes which your cat undergoes as she ages.

Sadly, the previous calculator posted yesterday (12.29.11) is no longer available as their website is down.  But we found another cat age calculator-- and it works just as great as its predecessor!

Cat YearsHuman YearsLife Stage
1 year15 yearsAdolescent
2 years25 yearsYoung Adult
5 years37 yearsAdult
7 years45 yearsMiddle Aged
12 years65 yearsSenior 
15 years77 yearsGeratric
18 years89 years
21 years101 years

Oh, and by the way, the answer to the pop quiz at the start of the blog will be revealed on Friday's posting!

1 comment:

  1. Who's the most beautiful cougar in the world? Cerella!!!! Just check out those eyes!