She may be Telling you She is Sick
A Facebook friend just adopted an 8 year old female cat who she says is perfect for her. The cat seems happy, plays and purrs. The problem is this poor woman is exhausted. The cat talks a lot all day and all night. When Catherine described her new cat on Facebook she is so tired she can hardly string three words together.
Chatty Cathy Kitty has plenty of opinions, including that she is perfect for your friend Catherine. Keeping this loquacious cat occupied with feline-specific behavioral opportunities could reduce some of her verbosity but I advise having her health evaluated first to rule-out internal problems. She may have lied about her age just to get the gig. Her old joints may be suffering. Safe prescription pain medication could make a difference. Your veterinarian can make the diagnosis.
There may be other reasons for this feline senior’s yakking, yakking, yakking (OMG!) Benign thyroid tumors are common in cats who carry an AARP card. With a sped-up metabolic rate Cathy may be struggling with continual agitation. A growing appetite, along with weight loss, are common signs of this often curable disease of older cats. Hyperthyroidism is almost always responsive to modern medicine, but like most chronic ailments, early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to success. A blood test will provide answers.
While Cathy is at her doctor’s office getting her blood drawn, a careful exam may also reveal itchy skin, dental infections, or stomach or intestinal issues. Anything that causes pain can lead some cats to complain. In addition to a thyroid test a chemistry panel, blood count, and urinalysis should also be submitted.
If Chatty Cathy is physically fine, her namesake can keep her querulous cat occupied with indoor approximations of a natural feline life in the great outdoors. At least one floor-to-ceiling cat tree located against a window will be essential for climbing, perching, and bird watching. Multiple hide boxes at various heights in different rooms will provide the solitude and sense of safety that is essential to feline serenity. She’ll find the full list of feline environmental enrichments on my website, drjeffnichol.com.
Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in-person and in groups by Zoom (505-792-5131). Each week he shares a blog and a Facebook Live video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Post pet behavioral or physical questions on facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.