Your Older Cat And Dementia: What You Should Know
Cats are unique and interesting creatures. And oftentimes, people forget that cats can have many ailments that people have, including dementia. Older cats can develop cognitive dysfunction which is also commonly referred to as dementia. This issue can often sneak up on a cat owner, and not be noticeable until the symptoms are quite pronounced. However, it is important to learn about some of the symptoms and signs of dementia in cats as well as what you should do in the case you believe your cat might be suffering from dementia. Then, you can be sure you talk to your veterinarian right away and take steps to help your cat manage their dementia.
Signs and Symptoms of Feline Cognitive Dysfunction
There are numerous signs that your cat might be suffering from dementia in their old age. One obvious sign is if they start staring at walls or other items in the house for prolonged periods of time. They could also just appear to be staring off into space in the middle of a room. This is essentially a sign that your cat has mentally checked out and that their brain is not functioning as it normally would.
Another sign of cognitive dysfunction in cats is that they suddenly begin vocalizing at inappropriate times or much more frequently. These vocalizations could be seemingly unrelated to anything going on around them. This is a more common symptom of dementia at night.
Cats with dementia may also start having trouble getting to their litter box and may have accidents around the house. This could be because they forget where the box is or potentially that they are losing track of their need to urinate or defecate and do not realize they have to go until the last second.
A cat's sleep cycle can also be disrupted because of dementia. They may begin staying awake at times they wouldn't normally and sleeping others. For example, they might start staying up all night and sleeping all day in spite of your normal sleep schedule.
What You Can Do About Dementia in Cats
When you notice symptoms of dementia in your cat, the best step you can take is to head to the veterinarian's office. They will perform an exam on your cat to rule out other causes of their symptoms. They can then recommend steps to take to help your cat if they believe the cat has dementia.
One option is to put your cat on a new diet that is rich in certain nutrients like vitamin E which can support brain health. Dietary supplements could also help with the symptoms. It is also good to avoid major changes in routine or around the house as this will further disorient your cat. Medication can also help if your cat has anxiety or depression related to their dementia.
Knowing these signs and symptoms of dementia in your older cat as well as what you should do for it, you can contact your veterinarian if you happen to see the signs in your cat.