Many people are surprised when they hear about Feline Senile Dementia or Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS), it is similar to human dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Cats not only show signs of aging but can develop symptoms such as:
- Increased vocalization, especially at night.
- Litter box issues, such as not getting in it or forgetting where it is.
- Becoming disorientated and confused, often wandering , pacing and restlessness.
- Constipation and incontinence.
- Mood changes and sometimes aggressive.
- Avoid human contact (if this is out of character for them)
- Relationship changes with family (both human and animal)
- Sleeping longer and sleep patterns changing at night.
- Staring blankly at nothing.
- No interest in food.
- Becoming nervous, fearful and clingy.
- Grooming issues, too much or not at all.
- Difficulty in learning new things.
If you think your cat maybe showing these signs it is best to get them checked at your vets to rule out any other health problems seen in older cats before a diagnosis of CDS can be established. Other health issues with older cats can be hyperthyroid, kidney disease, brain tumour, heart disease, sensory decline or joint disease. There is no cure for CDS but early diagnosis may help to slow it down and give your cat a better quality of life by making a few changes.
Changes can be made to the cats diet, environment and sometimes in severe cases medication maybe prescribed by your vet. Playing with your cat and providing puzzle toys for cats, can help with keeping the brain active and help to slow down cognitive decline.
It is really important to remember that its not just a case that your cat is “just getting old” but a case of identifying if your cat could be suffering from a health issue that can be helped, if not cured then quality of their later years made as comfortable and stress free as possible.
I will post another blog soon about environmental changes you can make for you cat in their later years.
Love and Purrs Rachel and Mr Ringo xxx