Cats and Dementia

Puss, age 22 or 23 and possibly the oldest cat in Ireland. (courtesy Flickr/raspberry_84)

Puss, age 22 or 23 and possibly the oldest cat in Ireland. (courtesy Flickr/raspberry_84)

We — and our cats — tend to slow down with age. One change that could affect senior felines is dementia.

Cats, like people, can become more loving — or crankier — with age. It sounds a little strange but changes in your pet’s behavior cannot always be explained away with a simple, “He’s getting old.”

A 2006 study from ScienceDaily.com found cats can develop a form of Alzheimer’s. A buildup of protein in nerve cells can impede an elderly cat’s cognitive functions.

Two years later, a second study out of the United Kingdom stated one in 10 cats suffered from some form of dementia.

Below are some signs of possible feline dementia. Visit your before drawing any conclusions because these symptoms could also be red flags for other conditions.

  • Confusion (aimless wandering, forgetting old routines)
  • Behavioral issues such as extra neediness, aggression
  • Grooming less frequently — or not at all
  • Loud crying for attention
  • Changes in appetite (either eating less or forgetting that they just ate)
  • Failing to use the litter box or having trouble finding it.

Diet, medications, gentle play, regular affection and a low-stress environment can all help aging cats cope.

Below are resources to learn more about dementia and cats.

Vet Medicine/About.com

Wellsphere.com

PetPeoplesPlace.com

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under cat health, cat lovers, cats, senior pets

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s