18 year old cat not eating

by Andrea
(Barrie, Ontario)

Mittens in

Mittens in

Hi there.

My cat is 18 years old, I have had her since grade 4.

Over the last couple of weeks she has deteriorated quite a bit and I am at a loss to understand what the cause is.
She refused to eat the food that I put in front of her, that she typically noms quite happily. But she still meowed for it. So I gave her dry food instead, and she was content for a couple of days.
Then she wouldnt touch the dry food. So I got some different healthy food. (Science diet wet and dry, now Max Cat Natural chunks in sauce) She ate that for a few days. But they are only half cans, and she wouldnt eat a whole one.

She has started drooling and has a very bad odour, her breath smells like disgusting sweat and poop. And she is peeing on fabric, only if it is on the floor in a pile.

Today she was very vocal, not out of the ordinary, but she jumped into the bath tub and demanded water from the tap, even though I had just filled her water dish with fresh water.
She drank for about 5 minutes straight, and then went to the little box and vomited it all up. TWICE, she went back to the bathroom and repeated the process. I brought her food and she refused it.
Also, after vomiting, she proceeded to exit the box and pee on the floor!

when I had to leave for work, which is where I am emailing from, she was on her chair, I brought the food to her, and she sniffed it and moved away, I brought a dish with MORE fresh water and she was on it like I presented her with fresh caught tuna in a catnip sauce. I moved it away and she stood up and made to jump off the chair to get at it.

There are a lot of symptoms here, and google is not as helpful as I would like, but possible Rhenal Failure is the only ailment that seems to have similar symptoms. I am also trying to get her to a vet tonight.

What do you think? Is she suffering? What should and can I do?
Thank you for your help!


Hi Andrea
Well to me it sounds like she may have something going on in her mouth. The symptoms of bad breath and not wanting to eat even though she cries for food would suggest that something is painful in her mouth or throat. At 18 years old teeth problems etc are not unusual and it is always best to have your cats teeth checked at least once a year preferably twice a year as they get older. So it may be that she may need some dentist work, your vet will be able to check this when you go.

Her other symptoms are a little more vague and could be attributed to her just feeling unwell and anxious or she may also have something else wrong too, and due to her age, again this would not be unusual.

Be assured the fact that you are taking heart to see the vet as soon as possible is the very best thing you can do for her and so you are doing your best to help her and prevent suffering.

When our cats are ill it is never easy to see them in distress but as long as you do everything possible for them as you are then take heart in the fact that there is no more you can do and that your cat is very lucky indeed to have you.
I do hope the vet can discover the cause and treat your cat as soon as possible.

I wish her better


Comments for 18 year old cat not eating

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Diana life.
by: Mary

I put down my 17 year old cat yesterday. She had kidney failure and I'm crying off and on. She has been with me as long as my son's been born he is also 17. My heart aches terribly but I've known I've had to do this for the past week or so. Cally was my 21 year old cat I put down about 7 years ago and I'm reminded how important they are in my life. I do have a 10 year old tabby his name is Willie and he knows she is not here. So he's comforting me and I'm loving him back.

Sad news
by: Andrea

Thank you for your care and helpful advice.
We got Mittens in to a vet yesterday evening, and it turned out that she was suffering from Kidney Failure. We had to put her to sleep.
I am quite devastated by this turn of events, but at 18, I guess it was inevitable that something would come along.
Her ashes will be returning to us and my husband is going to be making a personalized urn for her to rest in. We will find a place of prominence so that she can continue to rule the roost like she always did.
Our other cat, Hubert, a male of 7 years is now alone for the first time in his life. I am a little worried about him. Should I be concerned about loneliness or anything. I mean Mittens tolerated his presence, but there was no love lost between them.
Also Mittens was on a soft food diet, while he got both, should I continue with both foods or just stick to one or the other...?
Thank you for your help and advice.

i am so sorry to hear of your loss, it's never easy.

I think if you read my page about cat grief it will help you with your question about your concerns for your other cat

yes I would say that giving a cat a mix of dry and wet food is the best option. the dry will help their teeth and the wet will help to provide moisture.

best wishes kate

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