Are you worried your elderly cat may be suffering from dementia? Do you want to know if cats can get dementia? Read on to find out!
Elderly cats can suffer from cognitive dysfunction syndrome which has similarities with dementia in humans. Around 28% of cats aged between 11 and 14 show signs of CDS and 50% of cats aged 15 years or older have symptoms.
How can you tell if your cat has dementia? Here are some signs to look out for.
- Does the cat seem to have forgotten their litter training and started urinating or defecating in other parts of the house?
- Is your cat more vocal than usual? Have they started yowling in the early hours of the morning and do their noises seem out of place?
- Has your normally clean cat stopped grooming themselves? A cat neglecting their hygiene is a possible sign of CDS.
- Does your cat seem disorientated or anxious? This often occurs at night, but it could happen at any time.
- Cats sleep a lot, but if your cat is sleeping longer than usual it could be a sign of dementia.
- Has the cat started demanding more attention and become clingier than normal?
- Have you noticed your cat eating less? Not eating can lead to all sorts of health problems, so if your cat has lost their appetite you should consult a vet as soon as possible.
- Has your cats behaviour changed? For example, does your cat forget there’s food on their plate, do you come across them staring at a wall, or do they seem to forget who people are?
- Does your cat get lost in familiar settings or appear to be wandering around aimlessly?
If your cat is over 11 and they are exhibiting some of these symptoms then your moggy may have CDS.
CDS in cats and Alzheimer’s disease in humans is not the same thing, but there are many similarities.
Both illnesses are partially caused by decreased blood for to the brain and an increased number of molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals are prevalent in older bodies and they damage brain cells which makes it harder for signals to get through.
CDS is diagnosed when the vet rules out other conditions such as arthritis, deafness, blindness or brain tumours. Although there isn’t a cure for CDS, your cat may be prescribed medication to combat the symptoms.
What Can I Do?
Hearing your pet has CDS is hard, but there are things you can do to make their life easier.
- It’s a good idea to feed your cat a diet that is rich in antioxidants and vitamins as they are known to kill off free radicals and can lessen the symptoms of CDS.
- Buy more litter trays, food bowls and water bowls and spread them around the house so the cat will find one wherever they are.
- Don’t change the environment too much as it may make your cat anxious, but make sure there are lots of comfortable places your cat can rest which are easily accessible.
- Give your cat lots of love and attention, but also give them some alone time.
Try not to get frustrated or angry with your cat. While they may do things that annoy you, such as defecating in your room or yowling into the night, remember that your cat is probably confused, frightened and unaware of what they’re doing. Your cat needs love, care and understanding, so take a deep breath and go comfort your moggy.