Aging is a natural process that no living being can avoid including your cat. Maybe you have already noticed your senior cat sleeping more or losing interest in the great outdoors. This is due to many physiological changes that are common to aging. However, what you may not know is that cats can experience dementia just as humans can.
What is Feline Cognitive Dysfunction?
Older cats often experience a multitude of health problems and disorders. One such disease that is quite common to aging felines is feline dementia, or feline cognitive dysfunction syndrome. This is a condition that affects your cat’s brain and is brought on by various chemical changes.
Dementia in cats can lead to many different cognitive problems including a loss of awareness, decreased responsiveness to any type of stimuli, loss of memory and difficulty learning. Typically, initial symptoms of feline dementia are quite mild; however, over time, they gradually become worse.
Common Symptoms of Dementia in Cats
In the early stages of dementia, your cat may display few symptoms of the disease. However, in later stages, it will become obvious that your pet is suffering from the condition. It is essential to note that some of the symptoms of dementia mimic signs of other conditions.
As such, if your pet experiences any of the symptoms of cat dementia listed below, it is essential that you take your cat to a veterinarian for a thorough checkup. In this way, you can rule out such pet health problems as kidney diseases, urinary tract infections, vision or hearing loss, and arthritis.
- Wandering Aimlessly
- Getting Lost in Familiar Territory
- Getting Stuck Behind Furniture
- Standing in Corners
- Staring at Walls
- Being Excessively Vocal
- Loss of Interest in Play or Exploring Outdoors
- Refusing to Eat and/or Drink
- Unable to Navigate Doorways or Stairs
- Relieving Itself in Inappropriate Areas and/or Incontinence
- Excessive Grooming
- Sleeping More than Usual
- Inability to Recognize Family Members or Other Pets
- Getting Startled Easily
- Forgetting its Own Name and/or Familiar Commands
Feline Dementia Treatments
As mentioned above, since many of the symptoms of dementia in cats are similar to other medical conditions, your veterinarian will want to run various tests on your pet before diagnosing it with cognitive dysfunction syndrome. This may include, but is not limited to, blood tests, X-rays and ultrasounds.
Presently, there are no cures or specific treatments for dementia in cats. However, there are some steps you can take to make your cat’s senior years more comfortable. Additionally, your veterinarian can help you plan a special diet that may help improve your pet’s cognitive functions.
There are various supplements that can also help improve cognitive function in cats, and they include Vitamins E and C, Omega-3, antioxidants, carnitine, selenium, beta carotene and flavonoids. Finally, it is recommended that older cats see their vets as least twice a year for checkups.
What You Can do at Home
There are some things you can do at home to help your cat cope with its senior years as well. First of all, try to keep everything in your home familiar for your pet. What this means is do not rearrange furniture, keep clutter picked up and maintain regular feeding schedules.
Furthermore, if your cat is having a difficult time jumping, place its bed on the floor away from traffic. Lastly, if you have other pets or kids, do not let them annoy your cat. When you make use of these useful tips, you can be sure that your furry friend will be happy and comfortable during its golden years.
Dogs can experience dementia just as cats can. What are the common symptoms and treatments for dementia in dogs and what is cognitive dysfunction in pets.