New feline addition to the household

You all know we lost Harvey in November. It was now time to find another furball to keep us company. We’ve just returned from N.O.A.H Animal Adoption & Spay/Neuter Center, where we adopted Tonka.

We thought we would adopt Emerald and let her adapt for a week and then pick up Tonka. Both cats had been at NOAH for a while (Tonka, since August; and Emerald, since September). Emerald got a forever home this morning, so we brought Tonka home. He’s a black long-hair who may be nine years old, though most of the paperwork says he turns seven tomorrow. He’s a mellow guy with a very short tail. We closed off the bedrooms, so he’s been exploring the rest of the house. He’s eaten, and he knows where the litter box is. He was sitting by the window on one of those cylindrical cat scratch things, and now he’s behind me on the back of the couch. And now he’s down, wandering off somewhere. H never made a sound all the time we were at NOAH, nor on the 60-mile ride home, nor since he’s been in the house.

Tonka has had some health issues, and seems to suffer from bouts of anemia. We’ll have to watch him and take him to the vet to get him pumped up with fluids occasionally. He’s been chipped and neutered, and he’s current on his shots. We need to have him tested for feline leukemia, and I think the SO will take him to the vet on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Photobucket is taking forever to upload pics. I’ll post them later.

Good on you for taking on an older cat with health issues.

Congratulations on getting a new buddy. I hope you give each other many years of joy.


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Very handsome fellow.

ETA: And he certainly knows he’s found his home.

Oh he looks magnificent! I have a sweatshirt with a long-haired black cat on it, and that’s what Tonka reminds me of.

I found a pic of Tonka from last November.

He’s testing cat beds at NOAH.

Very nice! He looks quite a bit like our beloved Sal, who died in September, age 21. May you have a long and happy time together.

Congratulations on your new family member! I used to volunteer at a shelter. It always makes me happy to see somebody take one of the older cats home. He’s a handsome dude!

He looks like a fine fellow. Congratulations on the new addition to your family!

Congratulations on your new overlord! He’s beautiful. :slight_smile:

Congratulations! What a beautiful boy you have there!

Thanks for adopting an older cat. Kittens are totally overrated. :slight_smile:

I have a soft spot for the long haired black cats. Noodle is my first cat, my shadow, always at my side and is 18 now, with his arthritic spine pressed against my shoulders along the back of the couch as I type. He’s also Top Cat in the house and regularly puts the 15-pound 5-year-old in his place. Doesn’t seem to get that if the huge 5-year-old really got tired of being chased under the bed, that can of whoop-ass would be no joke!

I wish many years of health and happiness for you guys and your new fluff-butt. PM me if you want any information on what could cause feline anemia and what tests to ask the vet for. Sounds like he was at a good shelter, so they may have already tested for everything. Call the shelter on Monday and request the entire medical record (not just the vaccines/dewormings sheet) be faxed to your vet’s office before the appointment, so the doctor can see what’s already been done so tests aren’t repeated unnecessarily. That way, your vet can see what differentials the shelter vet may have already been working on for your guy.

As someone who has adopted older and special needs kitties, I sincerely thank you for giving an older guy (not that he’s all that old, whether he’s 7 or 9!) a home when so many great cats are overlooked just because they’re not kittens. I agree with above that kittens are overrated!

He looks very comfortable in his new home!

Having lost Harvey so recently, at the tender age of eight, I admit to some trepidation. Harvey lived with me for two years, after the SO rescued him from a shelter at six months old and was her constant companion for six years. I think you all know how much it hurt to lose him. Still hurts. An older cat, especially with special needs, means we’ll have less time with him. But we’d talked about getting an older cat. Not about its remaining life, though. Sensitive subject. An older cat already has its personality. With a kitten you don’t know what you’re getting. An adult cat can be chosen to match one’s lifestyle.

The SO went through every cat on NOAH’s website. Her first criterion was to look for declawed cats. (She paid $3,000 for the couch and love seat when she got them like a decade ago, and we wanted an indoor cat.) Her second was to see which cats had been at the shelter the longest. We both felt that cats should not have to live their lives in a shelter, no matter how nice. Next, she loves big cats. Tonka is described as ‘extra large’. (He wieghs about 13 pounds.) Emerald, a two-year-old female, was at the top of the list though she was described as ‘small’. She’d been in the shelter since September (second longest), and she’d been declawed. Tonka was second on the list. He’d been there the longest, and he’s big. The plan, as I said, was to bring Emerald home and let her adjust for a week, and then go back for Tonka. Two cats are better than one, right? But someone ninja’d Emerald, so we ended up with one cat: Tonka. Harvey had infrequent seizures and needed daily medication to control them. Her previous cat, ‘Vel’ (short for ‘Velcro’) developed cancer later in life. She’s experienced with special needs cats. We’re hoping Tonka’s condition is not too severe, but we have a wonderful vet.

[Aside: Vel was a one-woman cat. She would not tolerate anybody else. So it shocked and surprised the SO – in a pleasant way – when Vel hopped up on my lap when I visited one day.]

If you post here, others may find the information useful.

We received Tonka’s history – several pages of it – from NOAH. It describes tests conducted, with the relevant numbers, adoption history, weights, etc. It looks very complete. The SO is a nurse, so she can evaluate the reports much better than I can. We’ll take that to the vet this week. I did see a note that Tonka was feeling MUCH better a couple of months ago, and that he was active and playing.

As for the shelter sounding like a good one, I offer this from my best fiend:

I haven’t seen Tonka this morning. When I went to bed, he was sound asleep on ‘mom’s’ legs. He’s in her room right now. I assume he knows how to pull a door open, and it swings easily. Apparently he doesn’t care to come out yet. But I have a laser pointer ready. :wink:

Sheesh, I totally forgot about this thread! Hope your guy is still adjusting well and doing fine. Here are a couple of articles about possible causes of chronic anemia in cats. I’m not trying to be scary about it, just so you guys can go to the veterinarian informed from your end and know what tests to follow up with or ask for.

Less scary, and kind of what I suspect as it’s more common and cats can be carriers after the initial illness is treated and be pretty much fine except in times of stress, is feline infectious anemia. It it something to screen for in any symptomatic cat and especially if they’ve ever been exposed to fleas. I think if your guy has anything that a name can be put to, it’s likely this, as a carrier (and not infectious any more, so bringing another cat into the house is fine), as the description you give that he may need a little supportive care occasionally meets up with this one.

Another one that’s scarier is immune mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA), which I really doubt your guy has. Cats do seem to handle it better, though, and do better for longer than dogs in my experience. The article here is skewed a bit toward dogs, but it’s thorough.

Renal failure, FIV and Feline Leukemia are also causes of anemia, but I doubt any of these would be the cause in your kitty as he’s likely had recent blood panels that would have checked for these. Re-checking for FIV/FeLV with a SNAP test can always be a good idea if he’s only been checked for those once, though. FIV-90 days, and FeLV 30 days. He was at the shelter long enough, these re-checks are likely already done. Of course there are a few other items on the list of possibles, but from those he would still be sick.

And in the spirit of the thread, my old man long haired black cat, Noodle, and the youngster he chases around and who outweighs the old guy by at least 5 pounds, Nimbus.

An update.

Tonka was home alone all day Monday, and was mellow when I got home a couple of hours after the SO did. ‘Mom’ worked half a day today, and Tonka hung out (asleep, natch) on the back of the couch where I was working. The SO called the vet, and they can see him Friday for his FIV shot, nail trimming, and ear checkout. (His right ear seems to be tickling him.) He’s been eating quite a bit (and looking longingly at the human food, though he doesn’t get any). He defecated in the litter box yesterday, but hadn’t done today as of this afternoon. He took off on a terror a little bit ago, so he might have gone. Or he just felt like playing. He’s asleep in ‘mom’s’ chair right now.

The SO bought some heavy plastic matting and put it around the side of her expensive chair. It kind of matches, and we hope Tonka will get the idea he’s not to scratch there.

This cartoon seems appropriate.

Awww. Do you need nail trimming help? From the OP I thought he was declawed. With all the cats that have rotated through my house, they all get nail trims every two weeks (of course, I’m a bit of a pro), but anybody can do it with some training, both for you and the kitty if they’re not so keen on trims. The key is not getting too close to the quick, as it’s a bit pinchy if too close, and bloody if really too close. Those are what makes cats really not want another nail trim.

Here’s a great tutorial from Cornell, it’s almost 4 minutes and well done. Do get good trimmers like the red-handled ones in the video, the tiny ones that you find at most pet supply stores are crap and just break the nail rather than cutting it. You might find those red handled ones in the dog supply section if they’re not in the cat section.

Sorry if I’m going on and on too much, but if he’s got claws and you guys aren’t used to a clawed cat, I just want to help out with information that will save your furniture since it sounds important to you. Scratching devices are key. If you’re not used to having cat furniture around, you might want to consider adding some. The reason cats scratch the heavy chairs and sofas is because they don’t have anywhere else they feel is secure to scratch on. A bigger cat like yours needs a post or two that he won’t feel will tip over when he digs in. Something like this is attractive to both people and their cats, and a couple simple cat bed cardboard scratchers might go a long way with your guy. My cats love these.

Cats have a physical need to scratch, it stretches tendons and helps pull the sheath of the nail off, as the nails grow, they shed entire top layers off. I’ll bet even your declawed guy still showed tendencies to scratch, because the tendons are still there even though severed. Your new guy, even with nicely trimmed nails, will definitely scratch on your furniture if he doesn’t have an acceptable alternative. He will possibly do little to no damage as long as you keep up with the trims every 2 weeks or so, and do the back nails once a month or so. There is the alternative called Soft Paws, but personally I think they’re silly as the nails still need to be trimmed before placing them, and if the cat is amenable to the trim in the first place, then the plastic nail covers are totally unnecesary.

I apologize again if you already know all this or don’t want to hear it, this is a longer post than I anticipated! But I’m submitting it anyway in the name of education so that maybe others will pick up something from it. Thanks for your patience now that I’ve hijacked your thread.

Awe, good on you, Johnny. Much good karma coming your way. The SuperKitties at Casa Scubaqueen highly approve!

What a beauty! Congratulations to the whole family.