There is increasing awareness and knowledge about why and how to take care of our furry friends. Thus, we have managed to extend their life expectancy, which is around 20 years on average. This brings with it an increase in cases of senile dementia. In fact, Alzheimer’s in cats does not stop growing among the elderly.
It affects 30% of 11-year-old kittens and more than 50% of those over 15 years of age. In veterinary slang, senile dementia in cats is called Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS). Although there is no cure, its treatment slows its progress and alleviates symptoms. Do you want to know more about this incurable pathology?
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More than just age-related decline
CDS constitutes a progressive degeneration of the central nervous system more severe than that caused by aging. Neurological injuries damage the cat’s perception, consciousness, learning and memory, and reduce vitality and quality of life. They begin to forget established routines and become overwhelmed, for example, by visits.
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s in cats are very varied and not all kittens manifest them in their entirety. However, disorientation, loss of interest in grooming, persistent meowing at night, and disturbed sleep patterns are unmistakable signs of feline senile dementia. Take note of the symptoms :
- The cat is stunned, with an absent gaze, gets lost at home and wanders without knowing where it is and what to do.
- He sleeps more during the day and little at night. The nightly meows claim your attention because they don’t want to be alone.
- You start having accidents. You don’t remember where the litter tray is or how to access it.
- He becomes more apathetic, no longer jumping to his favorite corners in the heights. It is especially striking in very active races like the Sphinx.
- Eat and groom less.
- You do not remember routines learned in the past.
- Feel anxious, aggressive or the need to flee from changes.
- He is irascible for no apparent reason or refuses your touch when he didn’t before.
The influence of medical conditions
As we say, behavioral changes are part of the symptomatology of cognitive dysfunction. However, these changes may be due to pathologies derived from aging or latent conditions years ago. Therefore, to determine with certainty that it is senile dementia, you should consult with your vet.
The diseases that we refer to as causing behavioral alterations that we could confuse with those of cognitive dysfunction are the following:
- Chronic renal failure
- Dental, ophthalmological or hearing diseases
- Gastrointestinal conditions
Is it possible to prevent Alzheimer’s in cats?
The answer is a resounding no. Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence that confirms the possibility of preventing a neurological condition as severe and irreversible as this one. However, offering a diet rich in antioxidants, as well as daily mental stimulation, is a highly recommended tactic to minimize their presence .
Hunting games, interactive toys and social interaction are a simple, but effective, medicine against any condition of a cognitive type. In turn, remember that the emotional and physical dimensions are closely related to the cognitive, so that exercise will always benefit the cat’s health in a holistic way.
Treatment for Alzheimer’s in cats
The Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome is a disease without a cure and, therefore, its treatment only aims to slow down its progress and provide quality of life to the animal by alleviating the intensity of the symptoms. Although there is pharmacotherapy, consisting of the administration of selegiline-based drugs, treatment is domestic.
In other words, if you live with a kitten suffering from senile dementia, you will have to accommodate your home by facilitating access, reducing changes at home to a minimum, modifying its diet and taking care of its hygiene . You must place access ramps to the sandbox and mark where the feeder and drinker are.
It is not advisable to alter the location of their belongings, since senile cats do not tolerate changes and this overstimulation could aggravate their symptoms. If the changes are relevant, you should carry them out gradually. Likewise, you need to prepare a quiet room just for him where he can rest and be relaxed.
Cat play with Alzheimer
Although it may seem contradictory due to the lack of interest of the kittens in these conditions for the game and the interaction, it has been verified that the play sessions benefit these animals greatly. The key is to increase the frequency and reduce the duration of the same.
As you can see, Alzheimer’s in cats is not very different, in terms of its symptoms and treatment, from that of humans. Undoubtedly, maintaining close contact with your veterinarian and striving to be more patient and affectionate, if possible, with him will make a difference in the well-being that he enjoys in the final stage of his life.
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