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Crating A Senior Cat?

Discussion in 'Cat Behavior' started by NewHorseMommy, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. NewHorseMommy

    NewHorseMommy Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Feb 8, 2019
    First time posting here and I wasn't sure if this should go under Behavior or Health :) This will probably be a long post!

    Anyways, we have an 18 year old cat with some health issues and I'm not sure what to do at this point. For about the last two years she has refused to use the cat box. Partially due to arthritis, and partially due to the fact that the other cats, all younger, harass her when she does. I have been using pee pads in my kitchen for two years and generally she's been good about using those.

    Lately, however, her issues have worsened. She has diarrhea at times (long history of suspected food allergies) and the food that used to control it is no longer working. She has gone in her bed a few times now. I am trying a new food with a single protein source to see if that helps. She has also ventured out of the kitchen to go on my area rugs :(

    I should mention that she spends most of her time sleeping and hiding under a microwave cart in the kitchen. We have tried confining her to a single room, but she doesn't seem to enjoy that at all. Plus our house is very small, we need access to that room frequently, and we have a floor furnace (no central heat/air) so it's kind of cold back there.

    She has been to the vet. We have had bloodwork done annually only to be told that she has "early kidney disease" for the last 10 years or so. To be honest, at her age I am not interested in spending a lot of money on diagnostics. But I also don't think she is ready to be put down since she is still quite the little eater, enjoys being brushed and pet, and she can move around pretty well when the mood strikes her.

    We thought about confining her to the kitchen with a gate, when someone suggested crating her. The idea has some appeal :) She might use a cat box in a crate. She'd be closer to the AC and the furnace than in the kitchen or the back room, and she'd also be able to watch everything going on around her. The other cats would not be able to harass her, and any messes would be confined to the crate.

    Is this an awful idea? I've never had a cat just get this old and arthritic and somewhat senile. The two cats I've had to put down before had very obvious quality of life issues (renal failure in one and cancer in the other). Same with our dogs. She would have more room in the crate than where she spends her time now. We could add a small cat tree (it's a huge dog crate) and we would of course let her out when we are able to keep an eye on her.
    Thanks in advance for anyone who read through all of this!
     
    neely and tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  2. FelisCatus

    FelisCatus RIP </3 Alpha Cat

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    Dec 27, 2018
    Hi, before we move on to the actualy question, may I ask if the arthritis is actively being treated? Several users here use Cosuquin or Dasuquin to help alleviate the pain. This might encourage her to go back to using the litter box?
     
    neely and tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  3. NewHorseMommy

    NewHorseMommy Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Feb 8, 2019
    She is on Cosequin. It's a combo of the arthritis and the other cats harassing her. She also had a prescription for Gabapentin, which I didn't use regularly and has now expired (I need to get it re-filled), because a combo of Cosequin and fish oil seemed to be really helping. I took her off the fish oil though in case that was making her digestive issues worse. We also have a dog, which means cat box locations are limited. I suspect that there is some senility going on as well.
     
    tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  4. NewHorseMommy

    NewHorseMommy Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Feb 8, 2019
    If the crate is a terrible plan I'll buy the gate and confine her to the kitchen :) The crate just had a certain appeal because the messes would be confined and the temperature control would be a little better. The house was built in 1948 and we haven't upgraded the heat and AC.
     
    tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  5. NewHorseMommy

    NewHorseMommy Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Feb 8, 2019
    And then crate is about 4x the size of where she spends her time now, although with a gate she might cruise around a little more. But it won't keep the other cats away.
     
    tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  6. FelisCatus

    FelisCatus RIP </3 Alpha Cat

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    Dec 27, 2018
    Sorry, I don’t have experience crating cats, but I am sure someone will check in soon that can provide better info.
     
    nunnc84 purraised this.

  7. NewHorseMommy

    NewHorseMommy Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Feb 8, 2019
    Thanks! I suppose we could just try it and see how it goes. I don't think she will mind at all. I just can't decide if it's a terrible thing to do or not.
     
    tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  8. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    If she doesn't like to be confined to a single room, why do you think she is going to be OK in a crate?

    You could concoct a two tier baby gate (or even higher) that you could open/shut when you need to, but should keep the other cats out.
     
    tarasgirl06 and Kflowers purraised this.

  9. tarasgirl06

    tarasgirl06 TCS Member Top Cat

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    Hello @NewHorseMommy and welcome to TCS! Other posters' comments are valid and good, but I'm going to dissent and suggest that yes, I would try the large crate. After all, if she hates it, it's very easy to take her out of it and try something different. I am no stranger to these issues as all of my cats are with me for LIFE. They are family, and beloved of me. I have never had, much less used, a crate, but it sounds like a creative idea that might work very well. Also, not sure what cleaners you use, but I've always relied upon Nature's Miracle-Just For Cats, which I buy in the gallon size from Petco. It's an enzymatic cleaner that, in my experience, really works. I also have a Bissell SpotBot Pet robotic shampooer which I use when the situation warrants, with the cleaners sold with it. For really bad spots, this adds an extra layer of cleaning.
    Keep us informed, won't you? All the very best to you and your sweet elder feline.
     
    Fish Em, neely, danteshuman and 1 other person purraised this.

  10. NewHorseMommy

    NewHorseMommy Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Feb 8, 2019
    Thanks! We may give it a try. Luckily, the area rugs are the only carpet in the entire house. For now I am using the Arm & Hammer cleaner, but the rugs are a sisal-like material and we will be able to take them outside and clean them thoroughly using the hose once it warms up. They are Ikea rugs and very suited to pets :) We gave up on actual carpet a few years ago and have hardwood in most rooms and a floating laminate in the bedrooms.
     
    tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  11. NewHorseMommy

    NewHorseMommy Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Feb 8, 2019
    Because she's alone in the spare bedroom, but would be in the center of activity in the crate. She spends 24 hours a day under the microwave cart :( So a crate seems like a step up in that regard.
     
    tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  12. FelisCatus

    FelisCatus RIP </3 Alpha Cat

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    Can’t hurt to try, maybe do something temp before you spend money on an actual crate or whatever you go with.
     
    tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  13. Kflowers

    Kflowers TCS Member Top Cat

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    What is it about the microwave cart that she likes? It's position? The flow from the heat vent? The blow from the drier, the fridge?

    There are heating pads for pets that might make her crate more fun, in a not moving staying warm way.
     
    tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  14. NewHorseMommy

    NewHorseMommy Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Feb 8, 2019
    I should add that the new food, although just started yesterday, has yielded very promising results :) I'm
    No warmth at all. Just away from the much bigger and younger cats. She would be warmer in the crate. I should add that the new food, although just started yesterday, seems very promising so far with no messes for over 24 hours now :) She is a female and 18, and the others are male and under 12 and they are complete dicks when she comes out despite all efforts to keep them away from her :(
     
    tarasgirl06 and Kflowers purraised this.

  15. NewHorseMommy

    NewHorseMommy Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Feb 8, 2019
    We already have the crate because our dog came with it :) We actually had to buy a second crate for the bedroom after he had ACL surgery so we're good on crates. These are huge crates for a 80 pound dog, not a carrier or anything like that.
     
    tarasgirl06 and Kflowers purraised this.

  16. Kflowers

    Kflowers TCS Member Top Cat

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    Got it. She may just adore her cage that keeps the annoying boys out. I had one who spent several months on top of the furnance, she was younger. I insisted she come upstairs with the rest of us. She shared the second floor with one cat. That ended in a fight with one of them peeing into the typewriter (yes, long ago, no the typewriter did not survive.) Then she took over the top of a chest of drawers and spent the rest of her life there with a bridge to the top of the fridge. She was blissfully happy with her own little turf.
     
    stephmnichols, tarasgirl06 and NewHorseMommy purraised this.

  17. tarasgirl06

    tarasgirl06 TCS Member Top Cat

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    Glendale, California
    Love IKEA -- a lot of our furniture and some of our textiles are from there! I'm lucky, I guess, in that I have very old thrashed carpet in 5 rooms -- it really can't be hurt, but the cleaner and the bot do clean up any "accidents" -- plus laminate in 4 rooms and tile in 1. Basically, there's nothing that isn't fixable. We have beautiful peg-and-groove plank oak in the carpeted rooms, but I decided not to get the carpet ripped up when we moved here, for comfort and noise reasons. So it's very livable.
    So glad the new food seems to be helping your little lady!
     

  18. NewHorseMommy

    NewHorseMommy Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Feb 8, 2019
    We refinished the original hardwood in the living room and hallways when we bought the house and carpeted the bedrooms (over hardwood). We had to rip out the carpet after an irreparable dog incident that no amount of cleaner or shampooing could have corrected :( We found something called Traffic Master Allure at Home Depot that floats above the original floor surface (no glue) and installed that in the bedrooms. It has held up amazingly well considering how cheap it was and isn't damaging the hardwood underneath in case we decide to have that refinished someday.
     
    Kflowers and tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  19. tarasgirl06

    tarasgirl06 TCS Member Top Cat

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    Glendale, California
    Nice! That's another thing I'd have on my mind with the oak, which I don't want to lacquer and wouldn't want destroyed by "accidents".
     
    NewHorseMommy purraised this.

  20. Talien

    Talien TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Oct 10, 2018
    Michigan
    If you already have the crate then you might as well try it. If she likes it then problem solved, if she doesn't like it you can just take her back out.
     
    NewHorseMommy and tarasgirl06 purraised this.

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