Saturday 23 July 2011

Cognitive Function Syndrome in Domestic Cats

In layman's terms this long title, for me, means your cat is suffering from dementia or a loss of brain function due to old age. I am sure that it is common in geriatric cats just as it is with their human companions.

The condition causes confusion, a lack of awareness of surroundings, a desire to be comforted (my assessment) because of the confusion and possible litter box problems.

There may be an underlying medical condition that needs to be checked out but failing that turning up positive, an old cat who is for example crying out at night and behaving differently is probably suffering from dementia.

My old lady cat who is 19 years old has dementia. It is not that bad but her behavior has changed. She wakes me up at some ridiculous times in the early hours and cries out loudly. You can hear her at the beginning of this video:

How far can and do we go when communicating with our cat?

There is little that we can do except love her more and make sure she is fed well and noticed.

I don't believe in the idea that a cat with dementia crying out at night should be automatically ignored. She is doing it for a reason. And in my opinion her confusion is causing a need for reassurance due to anxiety. I can provide this.

Old cats become more bony and thinner. This is in part due, I think, to their confusion. The cat with dementia loses her habits regarding feeding too.

See Geriatric Cat Care and Changes in Older Cats.

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