Like humans, a cat’s health will begin to deteriorate as they get older and they are at an increased risk of developing some conditions as they age. One such condition is feline dementia. It is important that you can recognize the symptoms of this condition so that your cat can get the right diagnosis from the vet and so that you can support them in their daily life. Here is an overview of feline dementia and some tips for what you can do to help dementia in cats.
What is Feline Dementia?
According to Trupanion, feline senile dementia is also known as cognitive dysfunction system. It is a condition that affects various aspects of a cat’s cognitive function, which impacts on many aspects of their life. Although this condition can occur in younger cats, it is most common in geriatric cats. Generally, feline cognitive abilities begin to decline when they are around 11 or 12 years old. Most cats who develop feline senile dementia do so when they are 15 years old or older. The exact cause of this condition is not known.
What Are the Symptoms of Feline Dementia?
Recognizing that a cat has feline dementia is often problematic. This is partly because there are verbal signs of dementia in humans, and questioning can help to diagnose the condition. With cats, there are no verbal signs and you cannot talk to them to discover if it is likely they have developed dementia. Most of the symptoms are behavioral, and some of these behavioral changes are potentially caused by many other conditions, says The Spruce Pets. Also, many cat owners mistakenly think that some of the symptoms are simply a sign of old age. However, there are some signs and symptoms that you should look out for. These include:
- Confusion or disorientation
- Restlessness and anxiety
- Deterioration of learned behaviors
- Avoiding social interaction
- Increased vocalization
- Changes in activity levels
- Repetitive behavior, such as excessive licking
- Changes to sleep cycles
- Lack of self-grooming
- Inappropriate elimination and soiling in the house
If you notice these symptoms in your cat, it is important to monitor them and inform your vet so that they can make a diagnosis. They can then give you advice on how to care for your cat and give them the support they need in the home.
Tips for Helping Cats that Suffer from Dementia
When your cat is diagnosed with dementia, it is important that you do everything you can to support them and make their life as happy and stress-free as possible, says Cole and Marmalade. The following are some tips you can use to make sure your cat with dementia gets all the support they need.
- See your vet – The first step that any cat owner should take if they suspect that their cat is suffering from cat dementia is to speak to their vet. Not only will this give you a proper diagnosis, but it is also a chance to get some tips and advice regarding caring for your cat from a professional.
- Enhance their diet – Although changing your cat’s diet will not cure your cat as dementia is an incurable condition, it can slow down the progress of the disease. This is because there are many foods that are proven to have a positive impact on cognitive functions. A diet that promotes good brain health includes antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C. beta carotene, and vitamin E.
- Keep things light and bright – Darkness can cause further confusion and disorientation for cats with feline dementia. Therefore, you should add lighting to your home in dark areas to make sure they can find their way around without any problems.
- Avoid change – Try to keep things the same in your home whenever possible, as change can cause your cat confusion that can cause them stress. Therefore, you should avoid moving the furniture around too often or changing the décor.
- Provide stimuli – You can help your cat to maintain good brain health by providing plenty of stimuli. Both play and training can help their brain health, so toys and exercise are both beneficial. Playing with your cat is another good way of stimulating their brains.
- Keep the same scents– Cats that suffer from dementia need all their senses to cope with their situation. One of the most important senses for them is their scent as this can help to guide them through the house and scents can also help them to cope with any anxiety they are feeling. It is important to stick to scents with which they are familiar to avoid causing them confusion. Do not use new room sprays or aromatic candles and try not to switch laundry powder.
- Medications– While there are no medications that will cure dementia in cats, there are medications that can alleviate some of the symptoms. For example, many cats with dementia suffer from extreme anxiety. Your vet can prescribe medication to help them with their symptoms of anxiety. This is something that you should speak to your vet about if your cat’s anxiety is having a big impact on their life. There are many options available, and your vet can prescribe the best medication for your cat.
Feline Dementia – The Bottom Line
Feline dementia is a common condition that affects the cognitive function of cats. It is a condition that generally affects older cats, although there are rare cases of younger cats suffering from dementia. There are many symptoms of this condition, although these are often mistaken as simply being the signs of old age. If your cat is diagnosed with this condition, you can support them in several ways. These include getting appropriate advice from your vet, enhancing their diet, providing stimuli, maintaining scents, avoid change, and taking medications prescribed by your vet. Following these tips should help a cat with dementia to cope better with the challenges they face.