Dementia in cats is not a new thing. However, cats are living for longer now thanks to improved nutrition, medical care and as more and more are kept safe from multiple dangers thanks to cat fencing and enclosures. Cats over the ages of 11 are more at risk than their younger relatives, and over half of cats aged over 15 years of age display symptoms of dementia, but what are the signs?
5 Signs of Dementia in Cats
- Your cat may start showing signs of being lost in the home, unsure of where to go or find their usual hiding spots. You may even notice your cat crying at you to use the toilet or as they’ve forgotten where the litter tray is located.
- Look out for increased stress, anxiety or lethargy.
- Cats can become more aggressive or even friendlier with the family, including other animals in the home.
- Memory and learning can be affected. Your once house-trained cat could also begin leaving unwanted surprises around the home. This is because they might forget the things they’ve been taught in the past (including any other commands your cat once responded too).
- Lack of energy or willingness to play, move and hunt as much as they used to. Often there are other contributing factors to a lack of mobility and it’s worth taking your cat to see the vet to discover if there are any underlying issues that could possibly be treated. Some of the medical conditions include: high blood pressure, dental disease, FIV, liver disease and problems with hearing and vision.
Feline dementia is still not fully understood, much like human dementia. Researchers suspect one of the causes to be a reduced blood supply in the brain and damage to the cells of the brain caused by free radicals. In older age, free radical balance in the body might be affected, resulting in an excess that cause the damage.
Researchers agree that cats that live in poor conditions with a lack of stimulation or socialising are more susceptible to dementia. This is one of the reasons why elderly people and elderly pets can be so good for one another, the companionship can make a difference.
Treatments for Cats with Dementia
There isn’t a cure and the condition cannot be reversed, but there are some steps you cat take to help a cat with dementia.
1.Reduce the size of your cat’s territory. Restrict your cat to garden only access using cat fencing or a catio for cats that are suffering with confusion and memory problems. Cat fencing allows cats room to exercise and add to their quality of life, but the area can be kept safe.
2.There are drugs available from vets and pet stores that can reduce anxiety.
3.Change the diet (with guidance from the vet) to include additional antioxidants, essential fatty acids and vitamin E.