Elderly cat with heart problems

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June 30th, 2011 10:05
Canada
CharlotteAnn61
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Hi -- I am new here and need some guidance.
   
When my elderly mother passed away late last summer, I took on the care of her two cats, who are also elderly Ė almost 14.
   
Unfortunately, Mom had never taken them to the vet since they were very young. I recently had them both checked out by a vet (via a house call) for the first time since 1999. The one cat, Renny, is in relatively good health for his age. However, the other one, Robin, is apparently showing symptoms of a heart problem. Iím in shock as I never expected this at all. He seemed to be a bit arthritic, and has some dental issues, but I never expected a heart condition.
   
Thinking of his behavior, I am quite sure he has had this problem for a number of years -- it has only now been discovered simply because he hasnít been checked over in so long. He has always been a lethargic cat. From quite a young age he has liked to sleep a lot, tires relatively quickly, and he rarely moves faster than a trot. However, he is eating well, not losing weight, and is able to get up and down the stairs without any problems. He enjoys being taken outside on a harness to sniff the grass and go for short strolls. His eyes are bright and clear, and the vet says he has no fever. He is very affectionate and loves being petted and brushed. He doesnít pant, cough or get out of breath.
   
At this point, we donít know exactly what the heart condition is. But because Robin is so fearful and easily stressed (hence the house call), I am not going to put him through the trauma of taking him to the clinic for x-rays and tests. Iím afraid it might provoke a fatal heart attack. And at his age, there probably isnít much, if anything, they can do for him anyhow. I would rather simply care for him at home in as stress-free a way as possible.
   
The vet suggested a very low dose of aspirin to help prevent clots from forming. Is this a good idea? I heard that you should never give aspirin to cats. I really donít want to put him on a lot of medication, as he is very hard to pill.
   
Does anyone else have a cat with heart problems, and how do you care for him? I really would like to think that Robin will live another couple years, and to do what I can to help that happen. Renny is very attached to him and would be devastated if he dies.
   
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June 30th, 2011 14:39
Pennsylvania
penquinsfan
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Aspirin is considerably more toxic to cats than dogs.
   
However, cats can take a baby or low-dose aspirin under the advice of a vet, as is the case here, so as long as you adhere to the vet's instructions you should have no toxicity issues.
   
The last time I had to give a cat aspirin low-dose aspirins weren't on the market yet so it was baby aspirin or nothing.
   
We crushed a baby aspirin and mixed it into her food. She wolfed it down without noticing so that might be worth a try for you.
   
Baby aspirin is chewable and thus easily pulverized so it was a snap.
   
I think most of the low-dose aspirins are coated so they're not easily crushed and not as good an option if you try this route.
   
Since baby aspirins are chewable you could also try just offering it to him to see if he eats it (you never know, stranger things have happened).
   
Having never had a cat with a heart problem that's all I can tell you but I figured at least I could help with the aspirin portion of the question.
   
Good luck to you, hope this all works out.
   
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