Dementia (Cognitive Dysfunction)
Just like us, old age brings various conditions and complications, which unfortunately no cat is exempt from. Dementia is also commonly referred to as “cognitive dysfunction”, and is related to the aging of a cat’s brain in terms of their behaviour, memory and learning abilities.
Symptoms of dementia in cats
There are various symptoms associated with dementia in cats, which is why it is important to seek advice from your vet as soon as you become concerned. The symptoms include:
- Waking up during the night
- Loss of appetite
- Disorientation, confusion, difficulty remembering the route home (outdoor cats) and locating the litter tray, bed and other areas they may live in throughout the house.
- Change in regular routine
Treatment and living with dementia
There is no cure for dementia, Alzheimer’s or cognitive dysfunction as they are all progressive diseases. However, if you can get your cat to the vets as soon as you spot the signs, there are medicines available to delay the progression and advancement of the disease.
Once a diagnosis has been made, it’s best to maintain a steady routine and spend time with your cat to familiarise them with their surroundings and help to reduce their stress – as with most things stress will have an adverse effect on your feline friend.
With this can come a loss of appetite. Therefore, it’s crucial for them to maintain a healthy diet, specifically formulated for their age with higher calorie foods to prevent losing too much weight and becoming too thin.
Above all else, your cat needs to feel safe, loved and happy in their advancing senior years!