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Thread: Senior Coonie Boy recovering from starvation- Advice Needed!

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Senior Coonie Boy recovering from starvation- Advice Needed!

    Senior Coonie Boy recovering from starvation- Advice Needed!-merlin1.jpgSenior Coonie Boy recovering from starvation- Advice Needed!-merlin2.jpg

    This is Merlin. He was found by the dumpster at a local no-kill shelter, where they took him in and then straight to the vet. He was diagnosed with starvation, dehydration, extreme flea infestation and six hideously rotted teeth that had to be extracted. He only has two canines left now, one on top and one on the bottom. I think they took a molar as well. The vet estimated that Merlin could be anywhere between 12-15 years old. We had been thinking about adopting an older cat because we know that outcomes for senior kitties in shelters are never good, so when we saw his picture on their website we adopted him that day. He can only eat wet food right now, and seems to have a strong appetite despite having what I'm sure is a sore mouth! He tried to eat our other cats' dry food but I put a stop to that because he was just swallowing it whole- not good. He is the usual chirpy, talkative, follow-you-everywhere, head-butting Coonie despite all he's been through and gets along beautifully with our other cats. My other Coon, Mandy, is less than thrilled but is curious to see another one of her "own kind", and Merlin seems to be equally curious about her.
    In addition to his wet food, which he is given three times a day, I've been researching what other things Merlin needs to gain weight and strength. We do not believe he is any older than 10-12, given his energy and playfulness--still an old cat but not the ancient cat he must have looked like when he was found. Incredibly, his kidney and liver function tests came back perfectly normal and his eyes are very clear and not cloudy. He's a complete stick figure right now, to be honest I've never seen any cat this thin but it's really sad to see what should be a huge, robust Maine Coon in the bag-of-bones state Merlin is. He's a big boy with bushy feathers or "snowshoes" on his feet, super long whiskers and a never-ending tail, and I look forward to the rest of his beautiful fur growing back in So again, we're totally new to having a cat with special dietary needs. Any advice or help is greatly appreciated!

    -Karen
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  2. #2
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    I am not sure if he has so much special dietary needs so much as lots of food needs? basically it's going to be a question of finding out what he likes most. If it were me, I would simply try a lot of things
    I am an adept of "wet food is best" though - read up on this forum about the difference between wet food and dry food - some prefer one over the other - to me wet food wins because it is much better for the kidneys. Dry food has no moisture and cats don't tend to get thirsty and if they don't get moisture they have more chance of kidney damange. I only allow mine dry food if I saw her drink plenty during the day (she drinks from the tap :-D)
    otherwise try plenty of things, lots of brands, mine is crazy about raw salmon and cooked chicken - for her, chicken breasts are best, but let's not kid ourself, chicken is chicken.
    oh and may be feed him and Mandy separately at first? Males are gentlement, so even if he's hungry he might let her eat first.... ?
    hope this helps, tell us how you get on!

  3. #3
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    We had BBQ chicken breasts last night and Merlin definitely showed interest! But he has a hard time chewing because of all the teeth he's missing. :( At this point he eats almost anything I've put in front of him, and he's still raiding the others' kibble.... he even busted into the pantry and knocked over the bag. He goes straight to the water bowl after eating it, though. I also visited a local organic grocer, and while they do not sell pet food they can order it in, along with pet supplements. They also gave me the name of a local Himalayan breeder that sells her own homemade raw food, so we might try that too.
    As far as separating for feeding time, Mandy hides under the kitchen table and has never been able to eat around other cats so there's no trouble there. She sniffed Merlin's leftovers once, grumbled, and trotted off in a huff. For all the hissing and mean faces Mandy gives him (and our other non-Coon male- she's a man-hater. If she was a human she'd probably change her name because it has "man" in it. It's taken almost two years for her to warm up to DH) Merlin never makes a sound and just quietly walks the other way.
    Interesting about the raw salmon! That's nice and soft, might be something Merlin could eat. And I love sushi myself...Maybe I will get a special order for Merlin the next time I'm hankering for raw fish.
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    Maybe you could try the canned pate style, or putting cooked chicken breast in the food processor and grinding it up? I tried to give Ginger some Iams canned chunky cat food, she usually eats science diet canned chunky chicken. She tried to bury the Iams, so I think we'll stick with the Science diet hahaha

  5. #5
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    He does alright with the chunky wet food, but seems to be a little finicky with the pate?? A friend of mine suggested the Chicken Soup brand, and I just switched the others to their dry kibble. I got a few cans of their wet food for Merlin and he looked at me like "I'm supposed to eat that?" Same thing with a few of the Fancy Feast and Purina One pates I gave him. He loved the Meow Mix wet food, though. I tried Blue Buffalo over the summer with my other cats and it was a disaster, not to mention way too expensive for this house! I tried it because my gigantic 24lb orange tabby is the talk of the neighborhood and if he gets any fatter we're going to be one of those people on the news. And here lies the tricky part: Four cats with very different food needs!
    Rose: very slender tabby/Bengal who eats like a bird. She eats just enough to stay alive, hated Blue and got scary-skinny.
    Mandy: The only normal sized cat here, no eating problems, loves kibble, wet food, and Mommy's roasted chicken
    Sampson: 24lb kibble addict, refuses to even TRY wet food, no treats, no table food, just kibble kibble kibble. And small birds and rodents...
    Merlin: Older cat, 10yrs+, Still very underweight, needs to eat wet food 3x a day, missing 6 teeth, likes kibble but can't chew it (scares Mommy!)
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    my old kitty was pretty much toothless towards the end, poor Darling, and whe also loved kibble - I just gave her small or kitten kibble - the vet advised me that her teeth were there just for show anyway so she'd be ok (then again that vet saw her wasting away at the end of her life and never had the idea of checking for Thyroid problems so not sure what credit to give her there)
    One thing I have learned, also is - if you give him chicken bits from your table - be sure it's not cooked with garlic or onions - sorry if you already knew that - those are nasty for kitties, kill the red bloodcells or something.... I mean once probably wouldn't hurt him but especially if he's fragile...
    donnad likes this.

 

 

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