Do All Cats Develop Feline Dementia
It becomes increasingly likely that a cat will develop dementia once it reaches geriatric status. In some respects, this is comforting. Only cats that live long lives will reach an age where dementia is a concern. All the same, it will fundamentally change the dynamic between you and your cat.
The Journal of Veterinary Behavior suggests that cats can be protected from cognitive decline. This paper links dementia with exposure to excessive noise and air pollution. Due to their keen senses of hearing and smell, cats should be shielded from these elements anyway.
Senior cats act differently from their younger counterparts. All the same, do not assume your cat is just getting olderany change in behavior, especially if sudden, merits further investigation.
Making Your Cat Comfortable
With proper care and treatment, your cat can continue to live a happy and relatively normal life, even with a dementia diagnosis. Beyond medical options, you can make some lifestyle changes to help your best pal feel more comfortable as they continue to get older and their condition progresses.
Our cats are so much more than just a petthey are a cherished member of the family. As is the same with any loved one, it isnt always easy seeing them get older. However, by learning to recognize the symptoms of dementia, you will have a greater chance of starting treatment earlier, which can be beneficial to your cat in the long run. Plus, by researching the various treatment options available, you can help provide your cat with a happy and healthy life that they undoubtedly deserve.
The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.
Caring For A Cat With Dementia:
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Caring For A Cat With Dementia
If your cat has been diagnosed with dementia, it will need particular care. Steps to take to make your cat more comfortable include:
- Multiple litter trays in numerous locations
- Reliable, unchanging routine
- Assigned territory and quiet areas for resting
- A healthy diet and exercise regime
- Regular reassurance without making the cat feel it has something to fear
Most importantly, you will need boundless patience. The cat does not understand what it did wrong. You will just add further anxiety to a feline that is likely already distressed.
Anxiety Irritability And/or Restlessness
You may find that a senior cat is anxious at night, especially if hes losing his vision. He may become agitated or disoriented when everyone goes to bed. And in general, he may seem cranky or irritable. This could be due to not recognizing family members or feeling stressed in even the most normal conditions.
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Diagnosis For Cat Dementia
You will need to give a thorough history of your cats health to your veterinarian, including the onset and nature of the symptoms and possible incidents that might have precipitated the unusual behaviors or complications.
To help with diagnosis, record the abnormal activities you are witnessing for your veterinarian to look over.
Your veterinarian will then perform a complete physical examination to evaluate the overall health status and cognitive functions of the cat.
Routine blood tests, ultrasounds and X-rays help rule out other diseases that may lead to behavioral changes associated with cognitive dysfunction syndrome.
Treatment Of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome In Cats
Cats with cognitive dysfunction syndrome require lifelong therapy and support. However, your dedication to treatment can make a world of difference.
For example, although it will not cure your cat, maintaining a healthy and stimulating environment will help slow the progression of cognitive decline. This typically involves creating a daily routine of exercise, play and training.
In addition to medication and behavioral therapy, your veterinarian may suggest a special, balanced diet to improve your cat’s cognitive function .
This diet is typically supplemented with omega-3 as well as antioxidants such as vitamin E and C, selenium, flavonoids, carotenoids like beta-carotene, and carnitine andall considered excellent for improving a cat’s cognitive functions.
You can also find holistic supplements that contain these helpful ingredients.
Does Your Cat Have Dementia A Guide For Owners Of Older Felines
It may sound like a silly question but I would bet most owners with older cats could recount multiple examples of feline senility. Some are funny, some are sad and some are just plain unpleasant. But as tempting as it is to be angry with your cat for, say, mistaking your bed for a litter tray, the truth is that more than 50% of cats over 15 years of age suffer from some degree of dementia, also known as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome . Is your cat one of them?
Lets start with a couple of questions to get you thinking:
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then your cat is in fact showing at least one of the signs of feline dementia or CDS.
Blood And Urine Testing
This testing is critical for all cats and something I do at least annually and preferably twice annually in my patients.
These conditions must be addressed. Once corrected, signs of cognitive disorder will resolve if one of these medical conditions were the cause of the symptoms which resembled cognitive disorder.
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Thorough History And Examination
The first clue that tips me off to a possible diagnosis of cognitive disorder is questioning the owner and examining the cat. The owner frequently mentions several or many of the clinical signs mentioned above.
The examination may reveal a cat which seems lost or senile by the way it interacts with me and moves about the exam room. Sometimes cats with cognitive disorder appear fairly normal during the visit, especially early in the course of the disease.
If the owner mentions that clinical signs are commonly noticed at home but not present during the examination, Ill ask the owner to record the cat and send the recording to me for review.
Signs Of Dementia In Cats & How To Manage
Just like humans can develop dementia as they age, our beloved feline companions can decline mentally as they grow older, as well. Cat dementia is actually quite similar to human Alzheimers disease, and the causes and symptoms are just as confusing.
Cats that are older than 15 years of age are more exposed to dementia than younger ones. In fact, some studies suggest that there is a 50% likelihood that a 15-year-old cat can develop dementia compared to cats aged 11 to 14 years old.
In this article, well look at what cat dementia is, its symptoms and possible causes, and what you can do to try to prevent it.
Increased Meowing And Cat Dementia
Loud meowing or increased howling in elderly cats can sometimes point to cognitive issues. Although excessive vocalisation can have many different causes, including seeking attention or signaling a desire to go outside, meowing in cats is also associated with signs of feline dementia.Dont hesitate to ask your vet for advice if you notice changes in how talkative your feline is.
What Can I Do To Help My Cat Care Of Cats With Dementia
If your cat does have dementia, you can do some things to make life easier for him or her and your family.
- Feeding your cat stick to a regular routine so they know what to expect and when.
- Increase the number of food bowls, water dishes and litter trays to make them more accessible from wherever the cat may be in the house.
- Litter trays should be wide with shallow rims to allow easier access. Keep more than one litter tray if your cats has problems finding the tray.
- Try to keep their environment unchanged as change creates confusion, which in turn increases anxiety and stress.
- If changes do need to be made, try to introduce them slowly and gradually.
- If you have visitors your cat may feel safer being in a different room.
- A Pet Remedy plug-in or spray can help an anxious cat cope with daily life.
- Provide several nicely padded and comfortable resting/hiding places throughout the house and again make them easy for your cat to get to.
- Give your cat the attention and reassurance they seek, but do not fuss too much as they also appreciate time to themselves.
- Like people, cats need to be stimulated to keep using their brains- play games with your cat, this will also help to keep their impulses sharp. Activities can include new toys, exercise, and training for new skills this can all help to improve your cats memory and brain function.
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Symptoms Of Dementia In Senior/ Ageing Cats
Your cat may have some or most of these symptoms if he or she is suffering from dementia.
- Confusion or disorientation
According to an article in the Telegraph newspaper By Laura Donnelly, Health Correspondent
Conditions like Alzheimers are becoming increasingly common and now affect one million felines.
Vets have reported seeing an increase of cases but fear that many owners do not pick up on the symptoms because they do not associate the condition with their pets.
As in humans, dementia leaves the animals confused and distressed. The progressive condition, caused by degeneration of the brain, can cause them to get lost more often or become reclusive.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh now believe half of all cats over the age of 15 and a quarter aged 11 to 14, are suffering from geriatric onset behavioural problems.
Dr Danielle Gunn-Moore, professor of feline medicine at the university, said: When we look at cats of all ages, we believe about 10 per cent will be affected, which represents about one million cats in Britain.
Confusion About Where They Are
Cats with dementia may stop recognizing places that should be familiar. They can be stressed or disorientated in their own homes, even if they have lived there for years.
You might see them:
- Wandering aimlessly from room to room
- Going to the wrong door to go out, or to find food
- Getting trapped in a corner because they cannot find their way out
- Becoming stressed even in places that should be familiar
- Toileting in the wrong place .
Confusion About What Time It Is
Cats with dementia may lose track of what time of day it is. This means that they may start behaving oddly, or doing things at the wrong time of day. For example, they may:
- Ask for food at times of day that they are never normally fed
- Not ask for food at their normal feeding times
- Be asleep or awake at odd times of the day
- Look for humans to return home at the wrong time of day.
Changes in Behavior Towards Humans
Cats with dementia may behave differently towards the people in their family, or towards strangers. They may:
- Seem not to recognize familiar people
- Be less interested in affection
- Be less interested in playing with people.
Relieving Themselves in the House
Cats with dementia may forget their house training and start passing urine or feces in odd places. This might include:
- Urinating or defecating in places they would never normally toilet in the house
- Missing the litter tray and leaving deposits nearby
- Toileting in places in the garden where they do not normally go.
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Should A Cat With Dementia Be Put Down
If your cat has dementia, its up to you to talk to your vet about their condition and what the most humane option is. If your cat has advanced dementia, they may not have long to live and their quality of life may be compromised. On the other hand, some cats who are diagnosed early on live with dementia for years, and they can live a happy and healthy life with the right diet and lifestyle changes.
Diagnosis Of Dementia In Cats
When diagnosing dementia in your cat, its health history is significant. You will need to let the veterinarian know the date when you first noticed the condition as well as any possible causes. Only then can a physical examination be conducted for an analysis of the entire health condition of the cat.
The veterinarian will carry out tests including ultrasounds, x-rays, and blood tests. The aim is to ensure that there are no other causes to the changes of the cats behavior apart from dementia. A specialist in animal behavior may be called in if examination of the cerebrospinal fluid and Magnetic Resonance Imaging on the cat does not show any damages in its brain.
Keep in mind that noticing of the signs alone does not confirm the presence of the condition in your cat. For instance, aversion to food and water can also mean that the cat is in pain. In addition, older cats cut down greatly on playing, preferring to while away their time sleeping. It doesnt mean they have a case of dementia they are simply too old to play with as much verve as kittens.
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Treatment Options For Dementia In Dogs And Cats
There is no cure for CDS but there are things we can do to help manage the disease and delay progression.
- Early diagnosis and treatment is key research is going into early detection of Alzheimers in humans which will hopefully be applied to CDS in future.
- Keeping the brain active keeping up regular exercise outdoors, getting animals to work for their food by doing puzzles and creating other enrichment activities
- Good nutrition antioxidants and omega-3 essential fatty acids are very important. Hills science diet has a prescription diet called B/d that is designed to help manage CDS. Give us a call and we can put a bag aside for you.
- Medication can help to prevent breakdown of dopamine in the brain . It also helps to reduce numbers of damaging free radicals in the brain.Propentofylline is another medication which helps improve blood flow to the brain and can improve dullness, lethargy and activity.
- Anti-anxiety medication Adaptil can be used alone with other therapies to help reduce concurrent anxiety.
If you think your pet has any symptoms of CDS then please book them in to see us your friendly Adelaide vet. There are different drugs available for pets than humans and therefore we can reduce a lot of the symptoms. Call or book online.
Symptoms Of Dementia In Cats
If your cat has hit the 10-year mark in its age, you are likely to begin noticing the signs of dementia. However, advances in veterinary medicine have gone a long way in lengthening the lives of cats to more than 20 years. Therefore, the following symptoms dont mean the end of life for your pet.
- Excessive sleeping
- Disregard to defecating and urinating training
- Forgetfulness of familiar routes
- Staring at nothing for a long period
- Excessive licking
- Waking at night to make loud meowing noises
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What Should I Do If I Think My Pet Has Dementia
Dementia in pets cant be completely cured, but vets now have medication they can prescribe to help reduce some of the symptoms.
Youll need to take your pet to the vet to get your pet properly diagnosed, if youre worried about CDS or dementia, and theyll give you advice on managing your pets condition. The earlier you start with medication the better, to try to get the illness under control.
Some steps you can take to help your pet include:
- Keep each room your pet is in as familiar as possible. Try not to move things around the house as this can confuse them.
- Dont get angry with your pet if they get confused or have an accident.
- Increase environmental cues, for example keeping a radio on in a certain room your pet goes to a lot to help them find their way.
- Keep interaction with family members a positive experience, even if your pet appears to have forgotten them.
- Provide lots of things to keep their brain active, like training or puzzle games.
- Gently retrain some things they may have forgotten, like where to go to the toilet.
Sometimes, your vet may prescribe medication as well as brain function-supporting supplements for their food or a special diet. Follow your vets advice and make sure your pet takes anything that they are prescribed.