Pet Wellness Guides > Cat Dementia: Symptoms & Treatment - Pet Insurance Review

Cat Dementia: Symptoms & Treatment

Posted: 04/15/2024 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Behavior , Cat , Health problems

As our feline babies age, they experience many of the same health conditions we do. Their joints may become stiff and achy with arthritis and their eyes may cloud with cataracts. But what about cat dementia? Can cats develop cognitive issues in their golden years?

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Symptoms of Cat Dementia

Thanks to advances in veterinary medicine and improvements in nutrition our pets are living longer lives. This is particularly true for those cats who are indoor only. With a reported median longevity of 14 years, our cats are living longer than ever before.

A cat is considered mature at 7-10 years of age, senior at 12-14 years, and ‘geriatric’ at 15 years and higher. At these ages, it is common to see age-related neurological changes, including a deterioration of cognition, which ultimately results in cat dementia. Clinically speaking it is called cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) and shares many similarities with human Alzheimer’s disease.

Symptoms of cat dementia typically appear gradually and are often subtle at the onset. And, because symptoms of CDS usually occur in older cats, they are often mistaken for natural signs of aging. 

If you have a senior cat, some signs to keep an eye out for include:

  • Accidents in the house
  • Confusion
  • Excessive licking
  • Shortened temper
  • Losing interest in playing
  • Altered sleep schedule
  • Becoming more vocal
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of grooming

As your cat continues to age and the dementia progresses, any symptoms they do have will become more noticeable. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important that you keep a record of their behaviors and schedule and appointment to take them in to see the vet.

Diagnosing and Treating Cat Dementia

Dementia in cats can be a bit tricky to diagnose because there are so many overlapping symptoms with other health conditions. And this is why it is so important for you to pay close attention to your fur baby’s behavioral changes. Your vet will conduct some physical tests but rely heavily on the information you provide to make a diagnosis.

We should mention here that throughout a cat’s life, it is recommended you take them in to see the vet once a year for a complete wellness exam. However, as cats age and develop more health issues, they should really be seen twice a year to stay ahead and on top of any changes.

Treating Dementia in Cats

There is currently no cure for cat dementia, however, there are many effective treatment options available to help slow your fur baby’s cognitive decline. The following are some of the most commonly veterinarian recommended treatment options:

Dietary Changes

It’s always beneficial for older cats to begin eating a food made specifically for seniors, regardless of a dementia diagnosis. Speak to your vet to see what brands they recommend. If you have a cat that is a finicky eater, ask for some tips to entice your cat to eat their new food.

Physical Exercise|Play

A senior cat may begin to move a bit slower, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still need to get some daily exercise. Just like with people, physical health is not only crucial to your cat’s physical health but also their mental health. Be sure to spend time each day with them playing so their mind and body is stimulated.

One way to get your cats interested in play and keep them interested is to switch out toys every couple of months. If your budget allows, buy them an interactive toy they’ve never had before. And lastly, you can go online, Youtube especially is a good resource, and look for tutorials on homemade toys and games that can provide your fur baby with hours of mental and physical stimulation!

Supplementation

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce systemic inflammation, which has been shown to help cats with CDS. Since not all fish oil|omega-3 supplements are created equal, speak to your vet to see the brand they recommend.

The exact treatment your cat will need will depend on their age and specific symptoms. But with consistent treatment, your fur baby can still have a good quality of life and you can both enjoy your time together. 

Pet Insurance for Older Cats

As our cats age and begin to experience more health issues, we begin to rack up those vet bills. And boy can they add up!

It’s important that cat parents enroll their fur babies into a pet insurance plan while they are still healthy and BEFORE they have been officially diagnosed with any major chronic illness. A pet insurance plan can help pet parents be reimbursed for up to 90% of veterinary expenses. That can really give you peace of mind.

If you’ve been thinking of pet insurance but weren’t sure where to begin, here are a list of the top providers, with a ranking based entirely on the testimonials of over 150,000 real pet parents.

Top Pet Insurance Providers of 2024

RatingProviderTotal Review
4.9Embrace14,218
4.9Healthy Paws7,477
4.9Trupanion60,294
4.9Fetch2,038
4.9Lemonade783
4.8Nationwide21,392
4.8Prudent Pet125
4.7ASPCA11,404
4.7Hartville164
4.7PetPartners110
4.7Spot5,258
4.6MetLife493
4.5Pets Best7,196
4.4AKC889
4.4Figo2,577
4.3Pet Assure12
4.3Pumpkin1,161
3.2ManyPets2,152

 

References:

 

  1. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/nutrition-for-cats-with-cognitive-dysfunction-syndrome-cds
  2. https://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/neurological/dementia-cats
  3. https://www.webmd.com/pets/cats/what-to-know-about-dementia-in-cats

 

Disclaimer

The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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