Senior Cat Oscar

Oscar enjoying the sunshine by the balcony door © Ricky Yates

Oscar enjoying the sunshine by the balcony door © Ricky Yates

It is three and a half years since I wrote a blog post about the third member of our family – Oscar the cat. Other than an occasional passing mention, he hasn’t since really featured here very much. So I thought it was time he once more deserved his own post.

These days, we refer to Oscar as our ‘senior cat’ as he is now nearly sixteen and a half years old. This is a very good age for a cat and in many respects, it is quite remarkable that he is still with us.

Whilst Oscar has never been a large cat, we began noticing earlier this year, that he seemed to be getting thinner. We tried feeding him cream and other goodies, in an effort to fatten him up. He also was failing to groom himself as he did in the past, with Sybille resorting to catching him and brushing him herself, to try and keep his fur in order. And increasingly, his breath smelt somewhat unpleasant.

All of this we put down to Oscar getting old. However, whilst I was in the UK for a few days in early July, Sybille managed, without losing blood 🙂 , to get a closer look at Oscar’s mouth and realised that there was a major build up of tartar on his teeth which needed attention and was clearly the source of his increasingly bad breath. So on my return to Prague, I made contact with the vet, who fortunately speaks fluent English and German as well as Czech, to ask whether he would be willing to treat Oscar’s teeth – treatment which would certainly involve giving him a general anaesthetic, bearing in mind his advanced age.

In his reply, the vet said that they would first want to carry out a complete geriatric profile, to assess Oscar for treatment. But if that was satisfactory, they would then carry out the necessary dental work. All this could be done the same day, meaning only one journey to the vet’s surgery, bearing in mind how much Oscar dislikes car travel. So Oscar was booked in for his profile and possible treatment, on Thursday 25th July.

The geriatric profile was comprehensive, involving a clinical examination, the taking of blood for a series of tests, an abdominal ultrasound and a thoracic X-ray. The X-ray revealed abnormalities in the shape of Oscar’s sternum which the vet thinks are due to old fractures. We can only think that these might have occurred when he went walkabout for two months in the summer of 2007. Fortunately, there was nothing revealed to prevent the administration of a general anaesthetic, so one was duly given and five rotten teeth were then extracted.

However, what the blood tests did reveal, is that Oscar is suffering from an over-active thyroid – in fact a very over-active thyroid! This is the explanation as to why he had become so thin. Therefore three weeks ago, he started taking a prescribed methimazole tablet twice a day, to help bring his ‘T4 values’ back to more normal levels. The results have been phenomenal, so much so, we now have a very healthy ‘fat cat’ as you can see in the photo I took of him yesterday, sitting on the mat by the door to the main balcony, enjoying the sunshine.

Anyone who knows Oscar, despite him mellowing in recent years, will realise that getting him to swallow a tablet, it no easy task. But Sybille has discovered the foolproof method – wrap it in a small piece of ham! It then goes down a treat 🙂 Bearing in mind that he will need this medication for the rest of his life, we are clearly going to also need a constant supply of ham. And judging by the healthy cat we now have, who is also once more grooming himself far better than before, it looks like Oscar is going to be with us for a few more years yet.


9 comments to Senior Cat Oscar

  • 5 rotten teeth, that’s pretty rough!

    • Ricky

      I know Currybadger – we feel a little guilty that we didn’t get him to the vet somewhat sooner than we did.

  • Our foolproof method for cats swallowing tablets is (raw) fish. You could try that, too – a piece of your basic cod filets do the job for us, and it’s something we occasionally eat ourselves anyway, so not much extra cost.

    Oscar’s a handsome cat! Glad to hear he’s mostly all right.

    • Ricky

      Thanks for the advice Hana. Ham is working fine at present. And Oscar certainly appreciates being called handsome 🙂

  • How nice to see Oscar looking so well and contented. 🙂 Five rotten teeth won’t have helped his general condition, but the over-active thyroid certainly explains the weight-loss and lack of grooming. Good luck with getting him to take medicine every single day. I used to find it hard enough to do so occasionally with any of the cats we’ve had over the years. Long may the ham trick continue to work….

    • Ricky

      Thank you Perpetua. Oscar is now looking remarkably well & contented. I know very well what you mean about the difficulty of getting cats to take any form of prescribed medication. However, the ham trick is working fine at present.

  • More than sixteen years and counting? That’s very impressive. I admire how much you care for Oscar, and it really shows. He now looks so well. With him being treated with the care he is currently getting, I’m willing to bet he’ll be with you far longer. Plus, you’re forgetting cats have nine lives. 🙂