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October 25, 2013     Post-Gazette
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October 25, 2013
 

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POST-GAZETTE, OCTOBER 25, 2013 Page 7 You can email your questions to postgazette@aol.com to the attention of Freeway. Don't forget folks, Freeway is not a vet, so please keep the questions light-hearted! Thanks. GROWING OLD WITH YOUR CAT: Tips on Senior Cat Care Cats are not just pets; they are part of the family, which is why people want to provide their cats with the best life possible. Just as people are living longer lives, so are cats. Advances in science and medicine have improved the ability to detect and treat diseases early, leading to longer and healthier lives for our feline friends. Cats' aging is a process ex- perienced differently among cats as opposed to humans. Factors that affect aging include the quality of hu- man care, other environ- mental factors and genetics. Many people find it helpful to associate the age of their cats with the equivalent age of humans. A 1-year-old cat is generally at the same stage as a 16-year-old per- son. Now you know why kittens are sometimes so destructive and rebellious; they are going through their teenage years. A 2-year-old cat is equivalent to a 21- year-old human. Each year of a cat's life after the sec- ond is equivalent to four human years. Although we aftei,,think of cas of one to three years as still being kittens, these cats are actu- ally the equivalent of human adults. Looking at the aging process for cats makes it much more understandable why your 10-year-old cat does not want to play as much; he or she is the equivalent of a 53-year-old person. Gen- erally, a cat of this age would be considered to be a senior citizen. Nutrition is a key compo- nent of caring for an elderly cat. Many cats have a ten- dency to gain weight with age because of slowing metabo- lisms and decreased levels of exercise. Some cats have a tendency to become thin as they age, progressive and substantial weight loss may be the sign of a more seri- ous problem. Since changes in weight can be an early sign of disease, it is impor- tant to monitor your cat and seek the help of a veterinar- ian as soon as you notice the changes. Older cats should be fed a lower calorie and lower fat diet ff they begin to show signs of weight gain. Weight gain can aggravate problems such as diabetes and arthritis. Among medical issues cats have is a tendency to cope well with and hide disease successfully for years. This means that by the time symptoms of a disease show, disease may already be in advanced stages. Normal aging does cause many changes, and these changes should not be considered to be symptoms of disease. As cats age, they may have a tendency to slow down, their hearing may change, their vision or eyes may change and older cats sometimes also experience muscle at- rophy. Other cats may tend to bathe less and may de- velop a smell, their fur may be slightly matted, or they may have patches of fur that are missing. If these symp- toms suddenly worsen, you should take your cat to the veterinarian. However, a gradual change should be considered a normal part of the aging process and is not cause for concern. Regu- lar checkups for your cat are very important because checkups can help detect disease early. Some common diseases and conditions that often affect older cats in- clude arthritis, dental prob- lems, hearing loss, vision loss and senility. Because of the combination of muscle atrophy and arthritis, it is important to be sure that your cat does not have to jump up and down from high places. Placing small pet stairs by the bed is helpful ff your cat sleeps with you. It also may be helpful if you use shorter littler boxes or cut down the size of your existing b0x: The litter a.nd food maY have to be moved closer to the cats sleeping area so that your older cat does not have to walk as far. Changes in vision or senility may also affect the cat's ability to get around the house. You can help by trying not to make any major changes to the furniture placement in your home. One of the first signs of dis- ease is often changes in lit- ter box use. If the cat can no longer find or walk to the litter box, he or she may be- gin to urinate and defecate in inappropriate places. This and increased water con- sumption may,also be in- dicative of kidney disease. You may want to feed your cat softer food and brushing teeth more often to stave off gum and dental problems. If you notice major changes in your cat's normal behavior, notify your vet immediately. Early detection of disease often leads to the best treat- ment options and will give your cat more healthy and happy years. Older cats generally show a decreased amount of physi- cal activity. You may notice that your cat sleeps more than when he or she was younger. It may be time to keep your older cat indoors entirely or reduce outdoor time. If your senior cat will still be spending time out- doors, he or she should be supervised. Keeping your cat indoors can add years to your cat's life because older cats have weaker immune sys- tems and are less able to fend off disease. Joint pain and muscle atrophy can pre- (Continued on Page 12) Maverick Marketplace Grand Opening by Sal Giarratani Official Ribbon Cutting The newly completed Maverick Market- place held its grand opening on Thursday, October 10 th at 154 Maverick Street just outside Maverick Square. This place is a whole new way of shopping in East Boston as it features numerous shops and businesses with many services and merchandise for sale. This building had been vacant for a num- ber of years until John and Melissa Tyler came along with an idea for the site. On October 10 th, their idea turned to reality as two floors of commerce opened up allowing small business to flourish. John and Melissa are calling this place an incubator for small business develop- ment, a sort of test kitchen for dynamic in- dividuals daring to make dreams reality. If you get the opportunity stop by Salamander's Coffee Shop and tell Mercedes Pica that Sal G. sent you. Also, among other businesses selling great stuff and services is Shirley's Bou- tique. Hey, the ladies will love this place. Owners of Maverick Marketplace John and Melissa Tyler with City Councilor Sal LaMattina. By the way, this place is owner-occupied as John and Melissa call the third floor home and are awaiting their roof deck with great Eastie viewing. (Photos by Rosario Scabin, Ross Photography) EAST BOSTON KIWANIS CLUB Kicks Off Holiday Canned Food Drive The Kiwanis Club of East Boston kicks off its holi- day food drive with a canned food collection effort on Thursday, October 24, 2013, from 4:00-7:00 pm at Shaw's Supermarket in Liberty Plaza, East Boston. The food drive will benefit the food pantry at the Grace Church Federated and the Meridian House, both in East Boston. Shaw's customers are asked to purchase canned foods, pastas and other dried goods and drop them off at the Kiwanis table that will be set up outside the exit doors at Shaw's. The Kiwanis will also accept monetary donations, which will be given to the food pantry and used to purchase additional food items. All food items and donated funds go to help those in need in the East Boston community. Starting on Thursday, the East Boston Savings Bank will also support the Kiwanis holiday food drive by setting up canned food boxes at the three EBSB branches in East Boston -- Meridian Street, Central Square and Orient Heights -- so that donations can also be dropped off at those locations until Christmas. Those donations will also be given to the Grace Church food bank and the Meridian House. The Kiwanis Club of East Boston is an organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time through community service. LUCIA RISTORANTE & BAR Traditional Italian Cuisine 415 Hanover Street, Boston 617.367.2353 11 MountVernon Street, Winchester 781.729.0515 Private Function 00oorns for a.y Occasion Chvisleninq B0000J.I B.b, Skow0000 B0000tl,Jo, Donato Frattaroli donato @ luciaboston.com www.luciaristorante.com