Feline Dementia & Signs to Look Out For

Our pets age like we do. As a feline’s life progresses, pet parents and veterinarians must help them deal with various health complications that come with their age. One of these health conditions is Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS), or commonly known as Cat Dementia or Feline Dementia. CDS directly affects their brain and affects over 50% of cats that are 15 years old, or older.

Causes of Feline Dementia are still unknown, but certain genetic factors might make your kitty more susceptible to the condition. Something we do know is that CDS is a degenerative process that will lead to the loss or impairment of your cat’s cognitive function. That’s why it’s so important for pawrents who have a senior cat to look out for the following signs. 

Signs of Feline Dementia

Confusion & Memory Loss is one of the first signs of feline dementia. This can range from your kitty having difficulties navigating around familiar places, forgetting where their food bowl is, or even the litter box.

Loss of toilet training in senior cats is a huge red flag your kitty might be developing feline dementia. When your cat has accidents, or forgets where the litter tray is, you should book an appointment with the vet. 

Change in activity which could range from a change in sleeping pattern, appetite change, or staring into walls for long periods in your senior kitty. Are they breaking their old rituals and normal routine? 

Increased Meowing for no reason in elderly cats can suggest cognitive issues or decline, especially at night. There are many reasons for excessive vocalization, such as hunger, or attention. But if you have an older cat who seems to be extra talkative lately, it would be best to schedule a check-up with the vet. 

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suspect that your cat is suffering from CDS, schedule an appointment with the veterinarian. Before you take them to the vet, you should prepare all of your pet’s medical history, and be ready to explain the symptoms they are experiencing. Taking photos and videos will be hard, but it is needed for the vet to accurately evaluate and diagnose your pet. After providing a thorough history of your kitty’s health, and the symptoms they are experiencing, the vet will run a few tests. These tests will evaluate their overall health and their overall cognitive functions.

Cats with CDS require lifelong therapy and support. Although there is no cure, maintaining a positive, stimulating, and healthy environment can help slow down the effects of CDS. A daily routine, playing, and training exercises are a few examples of things that can help your fluffy friend’s cognitive health. Depending on the diagnosis, your vet might suggest medication, behavioral therapy, and a new diet to help improve and slow down your kitty’s condition.

This article is reviewed by the veterinarian from Small Animal Teaching Hospital, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University (CUVET)

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