Text Size

Cat Health | PetsWeekly

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
 

Our cats are living longer than ever, thanks to the life we’re helping to give them: good food, staying safely inside, environmental stimulation, and, yes, love. (Go ahead, find the data—but I firmly believe that love helps all of us last longer.)

Part of our pets living longer is the fact that we’re seeing feline cognitive dysfunction more often. [Learn why Getting Old Sucks - Cognitive Dysfuntion in Dogs (CCD)]

Dementia is a progressive loss of cognition or mental faculties due to brain tissue damage. It’s generally associated with aging; although younger cats can get it due to other causes (such as head trauma).  Alzheimer's is one type of dementia. While we don’t completely understand its causes, we know that heredity plays a part.

However, Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) is a disease that involves the degeneration and loss of brain nerve cells, resulting in behavioral changes.  Age is the greatest risk factor, but it’s not the only one. Officially, cats as young as eight years can present with symptoms and it's classified as a mental disorder. 

According to Dr. Danielle Gunne-Moore,of the University of Edinburgh's Royal School of Veterinary Studies, “Twenty-eight percent of pet cats aged 11 - 14 years develop at least one old-age related behavior problem and this increases to more than 50% for cats over 15."

How do you know if your cat is just getting older or if he has CDS?

"It isn’t easy" admits Dr. Marc Schmidt, veterinarian in San Tan Valley, AZ. "We make sure it’s diagnosis by exclusion—that it isn’t medical, that the cat’s behavior is out of character, such as staring off into space, getting confused."

These are also considered symptoms of old age in humans. "In people, they have a more defined and refined way of judging [these age-related conditions]," said Schmidt. "But in cats, we haven’t gotten that far. We can’t test our patients the way doctors can with people."

Dr. Scott Plummer, of the Veterinary Neurology Center in Arizona, is more succinct: "Aging and feline cognitive dysfunction are impossible to differentiate at this time."

Feline Behavior

  • Is Mint Safe for Cats?

    Hello Grey Socks, Every time I put toothpaste on my brush, which is mint flavored, my cat wants to lick it. She goes completely banana's over it. Is it okay to let her lick some? Thanks,
    Kathy Easley

    Read More +
  • Wool-sucking in cats

    Dear Kyra, I have an adopted 5-month-old ginger boy named Barney. He's a very sweet, funny kitty, and I love him to pieces. But...he has some strange quirks. The nice people at the animal shelter told me that he was… Read More +

  • Cats covering feces

    Dear Ghost, Why do cats cover their feces? My two cats are neurotic about covering up everything in their litter box, which is stupid because it's automatic anyway. Is it really necessary? Thanks,
    Kristin

    Read More +
  • Cats spraying

    Baby, I live with 2 male cats (neutered) and 1 female cat (spayed). All of a sudden they have started spraying (they are 1 year old). They have sprayed my bed, my doors and in my closet (that I know of). I'm… Read More +

  • hypersthesia

    Mama-San, My 1 yr old tabby has developed a fear of its tail! The end twitches and she sometimes lightly attacks it, but most times just runs from it (especially at night) your site mentions anger in connection with tip- twitching.… Read More +

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9

Subscribe to PetsWeekly for the latest pet news, giveaways, and more!    Stay informed!