How common is dementia in cats?
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Dementia in Cats
Fortunately, thanks to improvements in veterinary care and nutrition, our feline friends are living longer than ever. Since our cats live longer, it is important to be aware of the health problems associated with this stage of life.
One of the problems is the decline in cognitive abilities due to aging changes in the brain. Cognitive functions include the mental processes of perception, consciousness, learning, and memory, which allow an individual to acquire information about the environment and decide how to act.
This is sometimes known as dementia, as in humans, but is more correctly known as cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) in cats.
What is cognitive dysfunction syndrome?
The syndrome of cognitive dysfunction of cats (CDS) is a common cognitive disease in cats directly related to brain aging, which produces changes in consciousness, learning, and memory deficits and reduced responsiveness to stimuli.
It is also known as cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). Alzheimer's disease and dementia in men are diseases with similar symptoms1.
CDS is characterized by changes in behavior; however, these changes can also be the result of other diseases such as kidney failure and hyperthyroidism.
Owners can often rule out behavioral changes such as: "My cat is getting older ... Many behavior changes are symptoms of medical problems. If you notice any behavior change in your cat, it is important to take him to the vet for diagnosis and ruling out other diseases CDS is diagnosed once other diseases are ruled out.
How to diagnose
DISHA is an acronym commonly used to remember the most common symptoms associated with CDS and can help veterinarians diagnose it in your cat. Look for the following signs:
Disorientation: the cat appears lost or confused in a familiar environment, which can cause it to be trapped in corners or behind furniture, to look at walls or in space, to have difficulty finding its resources (food, drinking fountain, perch, or litter box) and may have memory deficits, for example forgetting they have been fed and repeatedly asking for more food.
Changes in interaction: social interactions can be modified between the animal and the owner or between the animal and other pets; Some animals may appear clingier, while others may be disinterested or even irritable when petted or approached.
Sleep-wake cycle: You may notice changes in the sleep-wake cycles, your cat was sleeping through the night and now wakes up at 4 a.m.
Dirt in the house: Your cat can start using the bathroom outside of the litter box.
Anxiety: Increased anxiety, increased irritability, and withdrawal in your cat.
Changes in activity: decreased exploration and response to things, people, sounds in the house, and decreased grooming or appetite.
Treating CDS can be difficult because it cannot be reversed or cured. The goal of treatment is to improve the cat's well-being through an intervention focused on relieving anxiety, slowing down the disease process if possible, and supporting cognitive function.
Therapy in the form of changing foods, supplements, medications, and Environmental fortification can help control cognitive dysfunction syndrome. Your veterinarian will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan to help your cat.
Keep your cats enriched. We've all heard the saying, use it or lose it, which also applies to cats. Keeping your cats enriched with exercise, new and interactive toys, and learning new things can lead to increased mental stimulation and increased cognitive function.
Senior-ify your house. As we age, we change our environment to suit our needs, but this is not common in cats. There are several things you can do to help your cats feel more comfortable as they grow:
- All resources should be available to your cat. Your older cat should not have to go up and downstairs to access water, food, perches, and/or litter boxes.
- Older cats generally have a hard time moving, even jumping, due to pain as they age. Setting up a ramp or series of steps that your cats can use can help them more easily climb to the higher surfaces they are used to, such as window sills, tables, sofas, and more.
- Providing your cats with elevated feeders and water eliminates the need to lift their heads while eating or drinking.
- Adding night lights in basements, dark hallways, and other areas will help cats easily see and locate their resources as they age.
- Provide several places to rest, including a heated bed, but make sure your cat is still moving around enough to be able to get away. Also, provide unheated options.
- Create litter boxes that are large enough for your cat and have a low entrance.
Consistency and predictability
Consistency and predictability are important to all of us, cats included. Do your best to maintain a consistent schedule and routine. For example, if you are going out of town, know that it may not be a big change for you, but it is for your cat.
Also, make sure your cat sitter is feeding the cat and having an interactive play session with your cat at the same time as you normally do.
As cats age, it becomes more difficult for them to cope with changes, even positive ones. Remember that when making changes to your cat's schedule and environment, the changes should be made gradually at a pace that your cat is comfortable with.
Can a cat with CDS have a good quality of life? In most cases, yes, but it is important to recognize that your cat's needs have changed.
Once you understand the changes that come with aging and work with your vet to control them, your cat's old age can be rewarding for both of you.
Enjoy The Video Tutorial about DOES YOUR CAT HAVE DEMENTIA: How to Deal with Cognitive Disorders in Cats?
Source: Planet of The Cats
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