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Old lady cat seeking solitude

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by lostbear, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. lostbear

    lostbear Bear right at Newcastle . . .

    May 29, 2013
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    Our cat celebrated her 21st birthday last month. Although old, she is very healthy, eats well, still goes out to roam (though rarely leaves our street now), and her fur, teeth etc are in great condition.

    My concern is this:

    Until very recently she slept on our bed - in fact, she slept on my chest with her paws on my face. Occasionally she would come under the blankets and snuggle in if it was chilly. About three days ago she moved into the wardrobe. She has found a little nook on top of some unused pillows, and is spending her time there. She only comes out for food and toilet, and even at night, although she may start on the bed, she moves, and in the morning she is in the wardrobe. I know we could just close the door and stop her getting in, but it seems unkind to do this if she's feeling the need to be alone.

    I have heard that when animals feel death approaching they very often take themselves off to meet it alone. As you can imagine, this has got me pretty upset - I know that we will lose her sooner rather than later, but she's been part of our lives for so long and we love her so much that I can't bear to think of it (and tears are trickling down my face as I type).

    I suppose my question is - is it likely that this is why she's drawing away from us? And if so, how imminent is her death likely to be? Days, weeks, months?

    Is there anything we can do to make her more comfortable and let her know how much she is loved?

    I've been putting off getting a kitten because I thought it was a bit unfair on her to bring a new baby into the house when she is at an age when she probably couldn't be bothered with one, or would feel rejected - might it work the other way? I know that many elderly dogs develop a new lease of life when a puppy is brought into the home. Is it likely that she would be the same?

    I am absolutely dreading reaching into that wardrobe one day soon to find that she has passed, but at the same time, from her perspective, there is no better way to go to God. I want to do what is best for her, not for me, selfish bugger that I am, and so would appreciate any advice anyone can offer, and any experiences of your own that I could learn from.

    I'm worried that I'm talking myself into another kitten from purely selfish reasons (can't bear the thought of a cat-free interlude). At the same time, I don't want to think that if there's any way of giving her a new reason for living, I'm depriving her of it.

    When we got her, we had two eight-year old cats, and she got on well with them, but obviously they died long ago at the age of eighteen, and she has been an only cat for 11 years.

    Oh, dear! Now I'm rambling. I'll finish now - but please let me know your thoughts - especially if you think she may be retreating as a preparation for dying. I'm hoping that she just want a bit of peace and quiet and has found herself a little 'catcave' to enjoy it.
  2. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

    Feb 11, 2011
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    Even though she's a golden oldie, I'd still be tempted to take her to the vet for a check up if you haven't done so recently. You're right, cats can start to withdraw when they feel their time is coming near, but they can also do this as a sign that they're not feeling well, often, from very treatable conditions. Vets tend to brush this off with the oldies, preferring to do nothing rather than investigate, but if you're firm that she's normally healthy and you'd like a thorough check, then it may turn something up.

    However, if it is her time to go, then all you can do is make her as comfy as possible. Give her a favourite, special blanket in the wardrobe and make her a nice, snuggly nest to keep her old bones warm. Don't ask her to go out, but go to her instead, and love on her lots and lots when she's in her sanctuary. Treat her just as you would an older relative who's getting ready to leave us, giving her whatever food or comfort she desires.

    If this is her time, I'd not bring a new kitten into the house just yet, as I fear it would be too much for her. Mind you, every cat is different. One of my kittens went to live with two older cats, one of whom was still a mad devil when it came to play, but the other who was 19, deaf, almost blind, and really didn't do much any more. This kitten used to go and snuggle with her at nap time, and the owners thought it gave her comfort.

    It's a difficult one, and my heart goes out to you.
    Citrineblue likes this.
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