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Feline Dementia: What You Need to Know

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Feline dementia affects cats later in life.

Feline dementia affects cats later in life.

Feline dementia is a rare illness that affects cats older in age. As a cat gets older, their brain starts to diminish and this can affect their everyday activities and abilities. We all want our feline friends to thrive in their golden years, so it is important to be able to spot the signs of dementia. Especially if something is beginning to affect their daily function. We sat down with Trupanion’s on-site veterinarian, Dr. Sarah Nold, to discuss what you need to know about feline dementia and how you can help your furry friend through this difficult disease.

Feline
dementia: understanding the changes in your cat and what to watch for

Often times when a pet is in pain or is experiencing discomfort, they don’t always show it. For instance, cats, in particular, do not express they are in pain. To support, understanding the reasons why your cat is stressed, could help you identify what signs to watch for, and in the case feline dementia, and what you should be aware of.

Signs of feline dementia

If you feel like you’re getting older, you’re not alone! Similarly, your furry friends can start to feel the result of aging, in body and mind. “Feline dementia, otherwise known as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, is a result of gradual age-related cognitive decline and causes signs that typically develop over 1-2 years or longer,” states on-site Trupanion veterinarian, Dr. Sarah Nold.

Consider these signs of feline
dementia:

  • Disorientation
  • Changes in social interactions
  • Sleep changes
  • Alterations of when they are awake
  • Development of new fears or anxieties
  • House soiling
  • Changes in activity

Similarly, if your cat is showing any behavior changes, you should seek medical care and check in with your veterinarian. Additionally, “if any of these signs are noted, it is important to discuss them with your veterinarian, as other age-related diseases can cause similar signs,” points out Nold. Consider notating what time of day this is taking place, and if you notice any patterns.

Feline
dementia treatment

The treatment for feline dementia can be a long road, as there is no definite answer as to when or if your feline friend will be entirely clear of the illness. “Clinical signs may improve and/or progressive of signs slowed with treatment, but it is unlikely the signs will completely resolve,” says Nold. Since your pet might exhibit different behaviors from day-to-day, staying positive and patient will help with your pet’s experience.

Communication and attentive care

Also, it is important to communicate with family and friends with regards to what your cat is experiencing as it might impact home life. Certainly, your feline friend might be confused, but by providing a loving, understanding, and safe home environment that can help put your cat at ease.

Best
practices for home life: enrichment play

Alternatively, you can opt to interact and provide enrichment play as a way to assist your cat with this transition. Further, “the introduction of novel toys are thought to help main cognitive function,” points out Nold. Also, the interaction is a great way to bond and show your support. Naturally, the whole family can partake in the interactive and enrichment play.

Providing veterinary treatment with comfort and care can go along way for your feline friend.

Feline dementia: providing comfort
and care for your furry friend

Feline dementia can be a stressful and tiring experience for the entire family. But by staying positive, providing the best veterinary care, and offering love and comfort in a time of need, your furry friend is in a good place.