Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy



or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

PetMD Seal

Dementia (Geriatric) in Cats

ADVERTISEMENT

Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome in Cats

 

With advancing age comes many complications and disorders. Cognitive dysfunction syndrome is one such condition that is directly related to the aging of a cat's brain; it ultimately leads to changes in awareness, deficits in learning and memory, and decreased responsiveness to stimuli. Although the initial symptoms of the disorder are mild, they gradually worsen over time, also known as “cognitive decline.”

 

Symptoms and Types

 

  • Disorientation/confusion
  • Anxiety/restlessness
  • Extreme irritability
  • Decreased desire to play
  • Excessive licking
  • Seeming disregard for previously learned training or house rules
  • Slow to learn new tasks
  • Inability to follow familiar routes
  • Lack of self-grooming
  • Fecal and urinary incontinence
  • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • Changes in sleep cycle (i.e, night waking, sleeping during the day)

 

Causes

 

Although the exact cause of cognitive dysfunction syndrome is currently unknown, genetic factors may predispose an animal to develop the condition.

 

Diagnosis

 

You will need to give a thorough history of your cat’s health to your veterinarian, including the onset and nature of the symptoms and possible incidents that might have precipitated the unusual behaviors or complications. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination to evaluate the overall health status and cognitive functions of the cat. Routine blood tests, ultrasounds, and X-rays are also employed to rule out other diseases that may lead to behavioral changes associated with cognitive dysfunction syndrome.

 

 

Treatment

 

Cats with this cognitive dysfunction syndrome require life-long therapy and support. However, your help can make a world of difference when it comes to improving your cat's cognitive functions. For example, although it will not “cure” your cat, maintaining a healthy and stimulating environment will help in slowing the progression of “cognitive decline.” This typically involves imposing a daily routine of exercise, play, and training.

 

In addition to medication and behavioral therapy, your veterinarian may suggest employing a special, balanced diet to improve the cat's cognitive function; i.e., memory, learning ability, etc. This diet is also typically supplemented with antioxidants, vitamin E and C, selenium, flavonoids, beta carotene, carotenoids, Omega-3, and carnitine -- all considered excellent for improving the cat's cognitive functions. 

 

Living and Management

 

Your veterinarian will evaluate your cat periodically to monitor its response to therapy and the progression of symptoms. However, if you notice any behavioral changes in the cat, notify him or her immediately. For stable patients, twice yearly checkups are sufficient enough, unless new problems arise.

 

 

Related Articles

Brain Parasite (Cuterebra) in Cats
Feline ischemic encephalopathy (FIE) is caused by the presence of a parasite, the...
READ MORE
Brain Tumor (Astrocytoma) in Cats
Although rare in cats, astrocytomas can be dangerous, even deadly to cats. These...
READ MORE
Loss of Balance (Unbalanced Gait) in Cats
Ataxia, in general, is a condition relating to a sensory dysfunction that produces...
READ MORE
  • Lifetime Credits:
  • Today's Credits:
Hurry Before All Seats are Taken!
Enroll
Be an A++ Pet Parent! Take fun & free courses to earn badges & certifications. Choose a course»
Search cat Articles

 

 

Around the Web
MORE FROM PETMD.COM