Did you know that, just like people, cats can experience a decline in cognitive abilities in their golden years? Cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) is not uncommon in senior kitties. A vet discusses this condition below.
No specific cause for feline CDS has been identified; it appears to be mostly age-related. About a third of furballs between 11 and 14 years old show at least one behavior that is associated with CDS. With kitties that are older than 15, that number increases to a whopping 50%. Of course, with pets living longer than ever these days, CDS cases are becoming more common.
The signs of dementia in cats can be subtle at first. Fluffy may forget where her litterbox is, get ‘stuck’ in a corner, or get lost on the way to the kitchen. She might also just seem to wander aimlessly. Some cats get frightened by these changes, and will meow to vocalize their frustration and distress. Others may clamor for attention, and follow their humans around like furry little shadows.
There are also some more general red flags to watch for, such as reduced appetite, withdrawal, poor grooming, changes in eating and sleeping habits, unusual vocalizations, and litterbox avoidance. These things can be indicative of many different medical issues in cats, so take your furry pal to the vet right away if you notice anything wrong.
Keeping Kitty Content
Fluffy won’t understand what’s happening to her, and she may get quite scared and upset. Just do what you can to comfort your furry pal. Simply talking to Fluffy and petting her can help soothe her. (Note: Always be extremely gentle whenever you pick an older cat up or put her down.) Keeping your pet on a set schedule for meals and playtime will also help with this. Many of our feline buddies just feel safer with that sort of stability. (Fluffy can still manage scheduling her daily napping routine herself.)
Mental stimulation is just as important for cats as it is for us. Playing can help keep your feline buddy’s mind healthy. Kitties really have to focus to land those tricky pounce/roll combos! Get into the habit of playing with Fluffy every day. Birdwatching can also offer your furry pal stimulation. Ask your vet for more care tips.
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