The aging cat Simon showed signs of becoming an old cat
It did not come as a surprise that Simon was aging, and getting old and weak. There had been many signs of his age along the road. I had known him in almost 15 years, and we had been together many hours almost every day during that time.
Very noticeable was that Simon was sleeping deeper than before. He did not wake that easily now when he was an old cat. For example when the lawn mover passed by, he might not wake up until it had passed. When he was not that such an old cat, he always moved away well in time. The lawn mover and the vacuum cleaner were the machines he was afraid of. Strangely enough he was not afraid of the sound of other tools.
The aging cat lost a lot of weight when getting older
Simon had lost a lot of weight, visible during the last year. Last time he was at hospital couple of years ago, he weighed 8.5 kilo. Last year, he was at hospital again, and he weighed then only 5.7 kilos. A considerable loss of muscle. When he got to hospital about half a year ago, he was down to 5.5. And now when he went in last time, he weighed only 5 kilo. 5 kilo might sound like quite a lot for a cat. But considering the size of Simon, a big white Norwegian forest cat, it was not that much, or rather it was a lot less. It was even so that he sometimes tried out a cat sleeping place I so proudly had bought him, with soft bottom, soft fur lined walls, which did not suit him earlier. But when he was aging, he became more interest in soft places.
The old cat's wounded hind leg showed signs of age
There had the last months been two occasions where we had seen him do something that to us looked like a quick short stumble on his right hind leg. It was not easy to be sure, and even a healthy cat may slip. But we did talk about it at the time. That leg had been hurt many many years ago, when he was only half a year old. It had been broken but healed well. From the veterinarians recommendation, it got to heal without surgery. It did look good and useful then. But it was the wounded leg that was the first visible physical weakness when he got older. Probably he did hurt without showing it. Cats are hunters, so they do not show signs of weakness as long as they can hide them. A couple of months before he died, we had thought that Simon walked like the leg was hurting. We did examine it, and cut his claws. After that, he looked to be walking better. It could have been the claws, it could have been imagination.
When becoming an old cat, Simon started to get insecure around cats
Simon's self confidence around other cats changed. Possibly around dogs as well, but never so I noticed it. Simon had always been very calm and self confident around other cats and dogs. But the last year, approximately ever since he possibly lost a fight with another cat under the car (stupid move), he would hiss when close to a cat. Before that, he would not bother, he would be so sure of himself. Before, he did not even use to burr himself up for a big dog. But around the time of that fight, during the last year of his life, when meeting cats, he would hiss to tell them he was not to be beaten. And he would lower his body a bit. This was a sign of weakness. It was a sign the old cat now had to tell them. It was a sign neither he, nor them considered the aging cat unbeatable. It was also a sign he did not intend to fall back, his reputation probably still helped him, only one cat dared to call the bluff. This was also a time when I learned he had started to lose weight. I did feel it when lifting him, but got sure when taking him to the hospital after the fight. He was down from 8.5 to 5.7 kilo.
Reduced walking was also an aging sign of the old cat
The house is full of stairs, and since Simon followed me around when I walked thus had to practice stairs a lot. But many times in his older days, I felt that he was not taking the stairs as easy. There was no difference in speed. But in height. It looked to me that he passed the top stair barely above the ground, almost as doing a push up. A year ago he would have passed the stairs more "straight legged".
One other sign was Simon not always coming to great me from his outside resting places when I stepped out. Before, he would always come and meet me every time I stepped out. It would not happen that he stayed in his resting place. But last months, he would sometimes remain lying. It never happened that he stayed lying when I came back home from being away. Then he still always rose to follow me inside. But when I went out and he understood that I went out to drive away, he sometimes staid lying where he was. This in spite of him loving to be petted, especially on his back in the pebble of the sidewalk. So now it was my turn to make the move to him, to great him. And I did. I always went over and petted him before i left.
Also, the paw print path so well maintained by the patrolling Simon started to grow normal grass in Simon's last year.
Simon had a tooth disease and lost a lot of teeth long before getting old
Many cats have this decease. It causes the teeth to fall off. Simon had this problem, and only had 4 teeth left in the mouth. But this started long before he got really old. This led to I had to change his food from dry food to soft food. Two weeks before his death, at the hospital for his yearly vaccination, they found one more corner tooth was lose. They did not dare to operate him due to age (that was an aging sign). The tooth was so lose that they could remove it from his mouth using just their fingers. This more indicates the disease than the aging cat.
Simon needed more help from the brush to keep himself in shape
When Simon became older, it became harder for him to handle his own fur by himself. He did not reach well onto his far back, nor to his breast just between the front legs. So I had to brush him more often to keep the lose hair off. The advantage was that I did not have to buy that many necklaces to him as before. He had a tendency to tare the necklace off (he hated it, but it was necessary for him not to be shot). So I used toy by them 4-5 at a time. But the last year, he only needed one, and that was getting torn by his pulling, he never really tore it off.