Every cat gets older, just like humans. I’m saying 40 is the new 30! As your cat ages, you might see behavioral changes. Like humans, they might get dementia. The answer to “Can a cat have dementia?” is yes. Let’s look at some research on feline dementia, as well as common signs of the condition and ways to manage it.
Research on dementia in cats
Dementia or cognitive dysfunction syndrome links to the feline’s aging brain. As your kitty gets older, it’s important to know this condition may arise. You might think of it a bit like Alzheimer’s in humans. Both of them come about by physical changes in the brain. It is important to understand though that brain aging in cats does not necessarily lead to feline CDS.
A 2014 study noted that cats 15 years old and more had a higher rate of developing a geriatric-onset behavior associated with cognitive dysfunction syndrome than a younger kitty. For the group 15 years of age and older, these issues affected more than 50 percent of them, which was significantly higher than the 11-14 age group at 28 percent.
Signs of feline dementia
Potential signs your senior cat has dementia are:
- Changes in sleep habits
- Lower responsiveness to food or when you try to play with them
- Less grooming than usual
- House soiling
- Being extra vocal (e., yowling), especially at night
- And more
Likely you will notice that activities they had normally done before now seem harder for the kitty to do if they still do it all. From the signs above, an example is going from daily self-grooming (which can lead to hairballs) to lack of interest in grooming altogether.
They may forget to eat too. This deterioration can be difficult to watch occur slowly over time.
Adjusting diet and activity levels
While dementia is not curable, it can be slowed or its signs eased a bit by medial or behavioral interventions. Thus, it’s important not to simply shrug off senility as being a part of aging, now that we’ve established that the answer to can a cat have dementia is yes.
Changes to diet and keeping your fur pal active are examples of ways to manage dementia. Antioxidants in the diet, for example, can aid brain health. Finally, make the environment one that challenges the feline’s mind to help reduce the risks of cognitive dysfunction syndrome in your loving feline.