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cat getting older (11 now) - teeth/weight problems

maigrey
September 14th, 2009, 09:01 PM
So Mitzie's paws are fine but apparently her teeth are not. There's plaque buildup on one side of her upper teeth and the vet is going to clear it up in a week in what will undoubtedly be a rather unpleasant day for her. Depending on what he sees of the gums underneath, there's also a chance her teeth might need to be removed.

And I feel awful for that and for not realizing just how old she is (I think I was in a state of denial and not counting the years right). Tabby, my other cat, is one year behind Mitzie and probably has the same teeth issues (he'll get checked up in another week). He weighs less than Mitzie and eats more moderately. Mitzie's also a medium sized cat that now weighs 5.6 kg, which is on the heavy side.

So food issues - I want to switch her to raw. They're on mostly Origen now and I'm going to try and move them to Acana asap for easier digestion immediately as I find a recipe for that - I'm headed to the food forums now.

Here's a question though. I'm assuming that switching to raw food at this point, even at this age, will still be loads better for them, but will it make their teeth worse faster?

And also, I do want to brush their teeth as I gather that would help a lot but they've both never had it done before. They resist getting their nails clipped and I'm sure they'll resist this (it's okay, I'm used to getting scratched) but if anyone has any tips, I'd be glad to hear it.

Honestly, just thinking about them getting older makes me tear up or you know, want to sob like a baby (by next year Mitzie would've been a part of my life for more than half of it), and I want to balance making their life last as long and healthy as possible with keeping them as happy as possible.

sugarcatmom
September 14th, 2009, 11:38 PM
So food issues - I want to switch her to raw.

That's great! Have either of your cats ever tried fresh meat (either raw or lightly cooked)? If not, just offering some small pieces of muscle meat (like chicken breast) as a treat would be a good place to start. Don't worry about doing a complete switch at this point, just work on getting them familiar with the taste, smell and texture of unprocessed meat. You can worry about the other details later.

They're on mostly Origen now and I'm going to try and move them to Acana asap for easier digestion

Do they ever get any canned food? If they're reluctant to go straight to a raw diet, switching to a quality canned product sometimes helps with the transition. Some more tips here, if you haven't seen this link before: http://www.catinfo.org/#Transitioning_Dry_Food_Addicts_to_Canned_Food_

Here's a question though. I'm assuming that switching to raw food at this point, even at this age, will still be loads better for them, but will it make their teeth worse faster?

No worse than the damage that dry food is likely to cause. Here are 2 links worth reading on the subject:

http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=library&act=show&item=doesdryfoodcleantheteeth
http://home.ivillage.com/pets/cats/0,,p8ds,00.html

Other things to try aside from the brushing would be to gently wipe the gums with a piece of gauze or a Q-tip, or using an enzyme gel like this one: http://www.petkingbrands.com/products/bioteneMaintGel.asp

And also, I do want to brush their teeth as I gather that would help a lot but they've both never had it done before. They resist getting their nails clipped and I'm sure they'll resist this (it's okay, I'm used to getting scratched) but if anyone has any tips, I'd be glad to hear it.

This might be a more difficult undertaking :laughing:, although not impossible. The best link for showing a gentle way to get a cat used to teeth brushing is here: http://partnersah.vet.cornell.edu/pet/fhc/brushing_teeth

I want to balance making their life last as long and healthy as possible with keeping them as happy as possible.

That's a fantastic attitude to have, and I wish more people shared it. You're on the right track, just remember to do things at your cats' pace. :cat:

maigrey
September 15th, 2009, 12:08 AM
Thanks for all the links, I'll definitely work my way through them asap. As for preferences, I have one cat (Tabby)who likes some canned foods but not things like wellness. But this is the cat who lives for shrimp and used to steal food from the kitchen (raw meat, cooked meat) and from people's bowls so I think he'll transition eagerly.

Mitzie will be a little difficult as she likes her kibble. She drinks milk. She'll occasionally eat bits of cooked chicken or fish but usually only after giving it a couple of good sniffs. She turns her nose at (cooked) beef/duck/shrimp. She prefers the cheap kibble but she's hungry enough that she'll eat origen too *rolls eyes* now that we've mixed everything up so that it's mostly origen. I don't think she's ever had raw food and I'm not sure if she'd be interested. I'll get some raw meat tomorrow and give it a try.

And canned food is usually a wash. When it comes to canned meals, it's either one cat or the other (unless it's ultra crappy stuff like friskies which they will both eat). They both like almo but that's not really meal food.

I'm glad to see that I wasn't completely off about being skeptical about the whole kibble cleaning teeth thing. I really don't think the Hill's T/D (there's still a little in their food because my parents believe the party line) is helping to keep the gums healthy.

I'll see what the dentist has to say about brushing (or at least q-tip-ing) when I bring Mitzie in next week. Thanks for the video though. I think it's worth a try. Maybe if I take it slowwwww, they won't fight it as much.