Porky and Buddy Pet Health – Grooming Older Cats

Porky and Buddy

Dear Porky and Buddy,
Our Kitty is very old, 15 plus years. The vet said she is no longer able to groom herself. I can brush her, especially when I hold her. She is very clean and never misses the kitty box. She just needs help grooming. Is there a product you would recommend?

Please don’t recommend any thing that will make her uncomfortable. I hesitate to use commercial products. What have other older owners of senior cats done for their kitties? She looks like a rag-a-muffin, but she is our beloved pet.

Dear George,
You know, a lot of times, we joke around about the issues raised in this column because, really, there is a lot to laugh about with the weird behavior of our pets, (and to be honest, ourselves).

But there are also some aspects of having pets that are just unbearably sad.

And this is one of them —they get old and frail long before we are ready for it and then it is our job to tend to their needs, just like we would want someone to do for us.

There are a lot of health issues to think about with older cats.

It’s good that you have been talking to your vet about this.  That is where every pet owner should start.

It is also very good that you are able to brush Kitty.

Many older cats have trouble with the basic self-grooming that they are used to doing.

But if they have been accustomed to being brushed by their owners and will accept more brushing, you can use those sessions not only for bonding but also to prevent mats, check for skin conditions, and find any areas that need special cleaning.

If Kitty is prone to matting (as many long haired cats are) sprinkle a tiny bit of corn starch near the areas that mat before you brush her.

The corn starch is a little slippery and will help smooth her fur but will brush right out and not leave a lot of gunk.

If there are soiled areas that need to be cleaned, try just a soft cloth moistened with some saline solution.

It too will not leave any residue and is safe.

Kitty may not like that so much, so try not to associate those all-important “brushing” sessions with annoying “washing” sessions.

For some more practical advice on caring for and accommodating the needs of older cats, check out the Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine Feline Health Center website.

The address is www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/Health_Information/CW_older.cfm.
There are lots of tips there for how you can make Kitty’s last years as full of comfort, and love and joy, as her first years.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Located at 29 W. Seneca St., Oswego, NY.

Phone: (315) 2,07-1070.

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.oswegohumane.org

Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other!