Skip to main content

Do cats get dementia?

Yes, as you may well know, domestic cats can suffer from dementia but we are unsure how commonplace it is because not enough studies have been carried out on domestic cats (although see below). It can be quite difficult to tell whether a cat is suffering from dementia because they compensate so well for disabilities. Vets call this condition Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS).

My beloved cat who suffered from mild dementia when at the end of her life. Photo: Michael

One reason why we might be seeing it more often nowadays than before is because domestic cats live longer lives thanks to better nutrition and health care. Spotting behavioural changes is the way to detect feline dementia symptoms. You may see CDC in cats older than 10 years of age.

Domestic cats with CDC can become disorientated, interact with people in different ways than normal, have alterations to their sleep-wake cycle, urinate and defecate inappropriately, have lower activity levels, and they may howl at night due to confusion.

Domestic cats with early-stage dementia may show confusion, anxiety and restlessness, irritability, a decreased desire to play, forget their usual routines with which you will no doubt be familiar, groom less often, have a loss of appetite leading to anorexia, vocalise more often including as mentioned above howling at night and changes in their sleep cycle.

A study found that almost 1/3 of cats between the ages of 11 and 14 showed one behavioural symptom caused by CDS. For domestic cats in the age bracket 15 over, it is believed that 50% will suffer to some degree from cognitive dysfunction.

The observant and conscientious cat owner will be able to deal with their cat if they do have dementia. It simply requires greater sensitivity and awareness of their cat's needs and to meet those needs. A diet supplemented with omega-three and antioxidants such as vitamin E and C, selenium, flavonoids, carotenoids like beta-carotene and carnitine may be recommended by your veterinarian.


Popular posts from this blog

Cat Ear Mites

Brown gunge. Yes, I know this is a ferret! It does show the build up of dark brown to black ear wax caused by the presence of the cat ear mites in the outer ear canal. This parasite is not restricted to the domestic cat, which makes this photo valid and a useful illustration (I was unable to find a suitable photo of a cat with the condition). Photo Stacy Lynn Baum under a creative commons license. Ear mites (minute crab like creatures) are one of the causes of inflammation of the outer ear canal (scientific term for this inflammation is Otitis externa ). The outer ear canal is the tube that runs from outside to the ear drum (the pathway for the reception of sound), which can be seen when looking at the ear. Otitis externa affects humans and often swimmers as it is called "swimmer's ear" in humans. This YouTube video show ear mites under a microscope. They are not actually in the ear in this video. There are many possible causes of Otitis externa in c

Feline Mange

I'll write about three types of feline mange (a) feline scabies or head mange (b) demodectic mange and (c) sarcoptic mange. The source material is from Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook - the best on the market . Generalised feline mange? Puerto Rico - Photo by Gotham City Lost And Found Feline Scabies - head mange Head mange or feline scabies, is a fairly rare condition in cats, which is caused by the Notoedres mite (head mite) that only reproduces on cats. The female mites burrow a few millimeters (that is a lot) into the skin around the head, and neck to lay eggs, which hatch and lay their own eggs. Their presence and activities causes intense itching that in turn causes the cat to scratch. The scratching will obviously be noticed and it will cause the skin to become red, scratched and worse infected. Symptoms: hair loss and scabs, thick wrinkled skin and grey/yellow crusts form plus the symptoms of scratching. Feline mange (head mange) is contagious and tr

Cat Anatomy

Cat Anatomy - Photo by Curious Expeditions . The picture above was taken at Wax Anatomical Models at La Specola in Florence, Italy. The photograph is published under a creative commons license kindly granted by the photographer. I am sorry if it is a bit gruesome. It is pretty well all I could find as an illustration that was licensed for publication. Cat Anatomy is a very wide ranging subject. The anatomy of a cat is very similar to human anatomy. If you were writing a biology book for students of biology you would go through every part of the a cat's anatomy in some detail. It would be similar to writing a book about the human anatomy. It would be a thick book and pretty boring for your average internet surfer. So, how do you limit such a big subject and make this post meaningful? The answer I think lies in doing two things: Having a quick general look at cat anatomy - an overview and; Focusing on the areas of cat anatomy that are particular to the cat and of parti