Need help with an old, toothless kitty

Discuss ways to improve the quality of your cat's life and longevity through proper nutrition; a place for all of your questions and answers about feeding your kitty!

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Purred: Fri Dec 30, '11 8:40am PST 
This is going to be a two part question so I'm sorry if it goes a little long. A very friendly, deaf, skinny stray cat showed up in our garage a week ago. Since we've never seen a stray in the 5 years we've lived in this neighborhood we assumed that it was someone's indoor/outdoor cat and that after it was done resting it would go home. Well, long story short, it didn't. We've been feeding her in our garage and put a crate out there for her and left the garage door up a crack so she could come and go. We took her to the vet this past Wed to get her checked for microchip/AIDS/Leukemia since we have other pets in the house and we moved her into a spare bathroom in the house yesterday.

The vet said she's ancient (like 14-18 years old) and the only teeth she has left are the top two canines. No obvious diseases and she's not diabetic. So, my questions are:

1. What do we feed her? I've had cats for 20+ years but this is the first skinny, old, toothless cat I've ever had. I've been giving her wet food twice a day and leaving dry kibble out all the time but I'm wondering how well she can eat the kibble. I would prefer not to feed wet food exclusively as it's expensive, leftovers have to be picked up quickly and she would be the only animal getting it. Should I give her a kitten chow formula that has extra fat to help put some meat back on her bones? Would a smaller kibble size be better? I really don't know if cats chew their food or swallow it whole.

2. I'm having a hard time introducing my other cat because my resident cat is oblivious to the fact that the newcomer is here. I even fed them on opposite sides of a closed door last night and this morning and she didn't appear as though she knew the new one was there. The new one is deaf and so she doesn't meow or make a whole lot of noise. I am going to switch their blankets later today so they can get each others scent but I don't know whether it's time to skip to opening the bathroom door a crack and bringing my resident cat over so she can actually see the new little girl. My cat pretty much stays to herself and stays in her room or our bedroom when I'm up there at night.

Any suggestions on anything?


Ambassador at- the Kitty U.N.
Purred: Fri Dec 30, '11 1:19pm PST 
You should be feeding wet for health reasons, if not teeth reasons, mol. If you look into the reason why cats shouldn't eat kibble, you'll see that it really causes a tremendous about of health problems. I recommend catinfo.org for a great overview. That said, cats don't actually chew kibble, they usually swallow it whole. You'll notice that if a cat vomits after a kibble meal that you can actually still see the kibble shapes. So she would probably be able to eat the kibble, but she won't thrive. Hope this helps.


Purred: Sun Jan 1, '12 4:27pm PST 
Did you have your vet do senior blood work on her to confirm her thyroid and kidney levels are normal? Those are things that many of us older kitties have problems with. If her kidney values are not normal the vet can help you select a food that will help with that. Many vets recommend prescription food for that, but there are regular-food alternatives as well.