Cognitive decline in cats as they age is natural, but it’s important to know what to expect so you can give your pet the best care they need.
Every stage of life comes with certain considerations like health and diet, but the senior years of your cat are probably one of the most concerning. Not only do you have to prepare yourself for the worst and saying ‘goodbye’ to your furever best friend, you need to accept that Tigger’s golden years are going to be quite different from the kitten years.
What is Feline Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome?
If your cat lives long enough, it’s highly likely you’ll notice new behaviours. These could be linked to dementia as your cat gets older. Known as Feline Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, this geriatric condition normally occurs from age 10 years. Like human dementia, FCDS affects how your cat’s brain functions and can cause heightened anxiety and confusion.
How can you tell if your cat has dementia?
One of the first symptoms you’ll notice in a cat with dementia is howling at night. Senile cats are also known to miss the kitty litter box and pee beside it instead. On top of that your cat will enjoy sleeping much more than usual, probably from all the anxiety and confusion.
What do I do if my cat has dementia?
If your cat is 10 years of age or older and you notice any of these changes in their behaviour, it’s time to visit the vet for a thorough examination. Dementia can signal other health problems like arthritis, bladder and kidney disease, or hyperthyroidism. These will need to be addressed and the proper medication prescribed.
Can I prevent my cat from getting dementia?
While there is no cure for senility in cats, it’s not the end of the world. You can help their brain health with a few dietary and exercise habits. For example:
- Ask your vet for special food to support cognitive health in your cat.
- Supplement your cat’s diet with vitamins like B12 and other minerals and nutrients to promote brain function. Ask your vet for advice.
- Get your cat active and set aside playtime to keep their brain interested and their hearts healthy.
You don’t have to wait until your cat is 10 years old or senile to promote cognitive function and mental health. Consider supplementing their diets with healthy vitamins and minerals, and remember to pamper and play with them every day.
by Natalie Secretan