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Answers About Caring For Aging Pets

Answers About Caring For Aging Pets

My cat, Pumpernickle, is 18 years old, and from the extensive blood panel we drew up on her in June, 2004, she is in very good physical condition. However, she screams all night long, waking me and my husband and to a somewhat lesser extent, our 3 year old son. I have worked with homeopathic remedies with her relating to grief and loss (her sister died of kidney disease 5 years ago). Our vet suggested that she is indeed depressed or at least anxious, and he prescribed an antidepressant called Elavil, which actually calmed her for 1-1/2 weeks, but we’re now back to incessant howling between 10 pm and 6 am. She is eating less, but appears to be drinking. Is this cat asking to be released (i.e. die) from this life? When we attempt to stroke her, be with her, hold her or offer her comfort in any way in the middle of the night she simply races away, so there’s nothing we can do to soothe her. I am chronically sleep deprived due to the incessant meowing and I am seriously thinking that it might be time to put her down. What does Pump have to say about this? I am emotionally and physically at the end of my rope with her, and so is my husband. It’s an horrible situation. Please help us; I don’t want to put my cat down unless that is the heartfelt thing to do. Thank you, Mitzi

I’m sorry that your Pumpkin is having these night traumas. My 17 year old cat does the same thing from time to time and is it very distressing! However I’ve been able to get him refocused and he allows me to go bring him back to bed. Pumpkin has what I would call a feline dementia where she is no longer able to recognize a benign reality at night. Humans can have the same thing. It’s called Sundowners Dementia. They become very frightened from the twilight time of evening and through the night thinking of all sorts of things. One of the remedies for humans is to place them in the sunshine for about an hour a day and to make sure that the light bulbs you use are full spectrum light.

From what you’ve said that your family is going through just trying to get some sleep I think that you need to think of the family’s health as well as Pumpkin’s. Pumpkin says that she is ready to leave this body and go on. She will not think you are mean and selfish if you put her down. It would be a blessing to allow her relief from the mental torment she goes through at night where she can not be comforted from her mistaken thought processes.

I know that it is hard to do this when her blood work shows no problems physically but it’s her mental state that no longer allows her to be a happy cat which needs to be considered in the mix of things. Is she sleeping a lot during the day?

She has been with you a long time so spend some time before you do anything talking with her and reminding her of all the fun times and about how you first met her. You both need that time for closure. Be easy with yourself and allow your family to get some much needed peace and quiet at night. Love, Laura

Help!!!!! I have a 12 year old, deaf saluki bitch that naturally grows more and more dependent on me with each passing day. Unfortunately, I have to go to work every day which does not help her extreme separation anxiety. I look at her calmly and reassuringly whenever I leave the house but there are times when she is just terrified for me to leave or gets frightened when I’ve been gone. I can’t put her in a crate as that intensifies the problem. I seem to be having a hard time getting her to understand that I do love her very much but I have to go to work. I come home to check on her for lunch every day. How can I comfort her and let her know all is well even if I leave for a few hours? Debbie

Oh dear, I’m afraid that her old age and deafness are making her a bit “senile”, returning her to a kind of puppy state where she feels like she needs her mom nearby.

It might help to leave a TV or radio on – as loud as you can get away with it so she can feel the vibrations coming from it… you might also consider getting a cat, another animal in the home could be very useful in helping you both to deal with this transition. Make sure that there are lots of soft stuffed animals around for her to play with… leave her a piece of your clothing to snuggle with while you’re away and give her a treat when you leave… see if you can have a neighbour come to visit a few times a day… ???

Finally, send her a loving hug from wherever you are several times during the time that you’re away…

Those are my best suggestions for now… in some cases, I would suggest working the communications more, but unfortunately I feel that your baby forgets soon after you have left that you spoke to her and spends the rest of the time worrying about when you’ll be back… the best thing I think you can do is get another animal in the house so she will have some company, comfort – and distraction… Lotsa LLLove, Danielle

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