Health issues in cats are always interesting to be found out. Technology is helping us to find the best solution to some cats’ health issues, such as upper respiratory infection in cats. Another health issue a cat might have is dementia, or known as the decline cognitive ability. Dementia in cats occurs as a result of aging process.
Cognitive functions of a cat includes its perception, awareness, learning and also memory. When it is affected, then some of the cat’s behaviors might change.
Dementia in cats is known better as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. This disease is related to the brain aging and results in some changes, including awareness, deficits of memory and learning, and declining responsiveness to stimuli given. This disease is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans.
Here you’ll find all the important things about dementia in cats, including the causes, symptoms, treatment and some ways of prevention.
Causes of Dementia in Cats
While the exact causes of dementia still haven’t been found, there are some conditions triggering dementia to be experienced by some cats. Here are some factors triggering the development of dementia in cats:
- inflammation of the tissues
- metabolic disease
Dementia is commonly experienced by senior cats, but it is not only about the process of aging. It is more beyond that. That’s why you need to be extra once you have a senior cat at home. Extra care and attention are needed for her.
Clinical Signs of Dementia in Cats
Thankfully, dementia in cats has some clinical signs you can observe. Let’s find out the clinical signs of dementia in cats:
- excessive amount of sleeping
- reduced or loss appetite
- extreme irritability
- easily forgetting familiar routes
- too much self-grooming, such as licking
- changes in sleep cycle (inconsistent)
- waking up at night to make loud meowing noises
- loss of interest in playing
- blank stare at nothing for a long period
- disregard to training of defecating and urinating – if your cat urinates not in the right place, you can see the ways on how to clean cats urine on your bed
You might notice those symptoms once your cat is entering her 10 years old stage. However, it is really nice to know that a cat might live as long as 20 years!
As an owner, you need to be aware of these behavioral changes. Some might just consider those changes as the changes because of “getting old”, but there might be underlying reasons behind them, one of which is dementia.
That’s why once you notice the presence of some clinical signs mentioned above, consult with your vet and find out other diseases as dementia is commonly figured out after other illnesses are ruled out.
If you suspect your cat having dementia, then your vet will observe some things. Here are the things your vet will observe:
- Disorientation – your cat will appear lost and confused even in a familiar environment. Your cat might be trapped in the corners or behind furniture and found staring at the wall, difficult to find her resources (food and drink) and experience memory deficits.
- Affected interaction – your cat might appear to be clingier or even disinterested when you pet or approach her.
- Changing sleeping cycle – your cat will have some changes in her sleeping cycle. Your cat might have abnormal night-time behaviors too, such as meowing loudly, wandering and pacing. During the day, she might be really passive.
Treatment of Dementia in Cats
Unfortunately, there is no treatment or cure found yet for dementia in cats. However, there are some things you can do to enrich your cat’s cognitive function. You can apply some ways to relieve her anxiety, slow down the disease to worsen and support her cognitive function.
All of those can be performed by therapies. The therapies include the dietary change, supplements and medications as well. You can contact and consult with your vet about this to be able to plan the best treatment to help your cat.
Make sure your cat is enriched in terms of exercising. Make sure she keeps exercising to keep her body fit. These workout ideas for your fat cat will surely be beneficial for your cat.
Besides, you can also provide some interactive toys, and allow your cat to learn new things. These ways will be beneficial for improving and managing her cognitive function.
How to Prevent Dementia in Cats?
Neuroplasticity in cat’s brain can continue to change throughout her life and will be able to be shaped by experiences. That’s why mental enrichment is very essential for delaying or slowing down the progression of dementia in cats. In other words, you need to make the brain “works” all the time.
You can introduce some activities that are beneficial for her mental and physical health. However, the activities should be adjusted with her personality, too.
You can spend more time playing indoors and provide some toys too, specifically the ones that stimulate her chasing instincts. You can also try some food-motivated games, such as puzzle feeders. You can simply make these easy DIY cat toys make one for your baby.
Also, feed her some good supplements and nutritious food. As she is aging, she will need these best food for aging cats. Make sure you provide these food in her bowl!