Insight Into Cat Dementia

senior orange tabby cat resting on the floor at home

Can cats get dementia or Alzheimer’s? Though these medical conditions are well known throughout human medicine, our feline friends can also be diagnosed with the cat-version of both. Known as cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), cats of any breed can be affected by cat dementia.

What Are the Signs of Dementia in Cats?

The symptoms of senile dementia in cats often appear gradually and even sometimes subtly, to the point that you may not notice any changes for a while. Because dementia occurs in older cats, some common symptoms often get mistaken for natural signs of aging

As your cat gets older and approaches the age of 10, some signs to keep an eye out for include:

As your cat continues to age, their symptoms will most likely become more noticeable, and they may even begin showing more symptoms overall.

If you recognize any of these new behaviors or habits in your feline friend, it’s essential that you begin to take notes of these changes and take them in for a check-up with their veterinarian as soon as possible. Dementia can be a little tricky to diagnose, particularly because many of its symptoms overlap with those of other health issues. This means that your veterinarian will need to run a few tests and may have you answer questions about recent changes in your cat’s health and behavior.

Throughout your cat’s life, it’s recommended that you take them for annual veterinary appointments. However, as your cat becomes older or begins developing some health conditions, it may be better to start biannual check-ups.

End-stage dementia in cats can be a difficult time for your cat and family. If your cat’s everyday quality of life has become negatively affected and they are having more bad days than good, it may be worthwhile to consider end-of-life decisions.

Cat Dementia Treatment

Even though there is currently no cure for feline dementia, many treatment options are available that can help slow your cat’s cognitive decline. Some recommended options include:

Treatment for a cat with cognitive dysfunction syndrome will typically continue for the rest of their life, though the exact treatment they receive can vary based on their age and their symptoms. With consistent treatment, though, you can make a world of difference, for the better, for your pal.

No matter what symptoms your cat begins showing with dementia, it’s crucial that you never give them human medications. There can be deadly consequences if your pet ingests medicine that isn’t prescribed for them.

How Long Does a Cat Live With Dementia?

Depending upon the age at which your cat is diagnosed with dementia, they could live 5-10 more years—each case can be different. That said, some felines may progress faster than others, and your health regimen for them may need to be altered as their symptoms change.

Making Your Cat Comfortable

With proper care and treatment, your cat can continue to live a happy and relatively normal life, even with a dementia diagnosis. Beyond medical options, you can make some lifestyle changes to help your best pal feel more comfortable as they continue to get older and their condition progresses.

Our cats are so much more than just a pet—they are a cherished member of the family. As is the same with any loved one, it isn’t always easy seeing them get older. However, by learning to recognize the symptoms of dementia, you will have a greater chance of starting treatment earlier, which can be beneficial to your cat in the long run. Plus, by researching the various treatment options available, you can help provide your cat with a happy and healthy life that they undoubtedly deserve.

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.

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