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You may have observed behavioral changes in your cat as it
grows older. Like humans, older cats could suffer from dementia — the medical
term for this condition is cognitive dysfunction syndrome. A reduction of
cognitive function is typical for older cats. A majority of cats tend to show
some specific signs, although every cat has its peculiarity. There will be
noticeable changes in the cat's behavior due to disorientation and loss of
memory. There are also many other factors which can confuse the older cat. As
an owner, do not dismiss such behavior as signs of old age. Most of these
behaviors are signs of different medical issues and illnesses. It is a good
idea to visit a veterinarian.
Vocalization and litter box training
Every cat has its unique vocalization. Some cats are quiet
and purr while others constantly meow. The onset of dementia will change the
cat's vocalization. A cat suffering from cognitive dysfunction tends to meow
more. This happens as the older cat cannot recognize its surroundings and meow
to ask for help. This behavior becomes more acute at night. It is to be noted
that vocalization could change due to other factors like pain due to injury or
arthritis. Hyperthyroidism may also play a part. It is dementia only if the cat
has no illnesses.
Dementia may lead to an older cat forgetting its litter box
training. Cats are naturally clean and ignoring their litter box training is
one of the surer signs of dementia. A cat suffering from cognitive dysfunction
will urinate and defecate in inappropriate circumstances. Then again, the
underlying cause could be a disease too. Contact the veterinarian as soon as
possible to diagnose and start treatment. Another sign of dementia in cats is
the lack of attention towards personal grooming. If your cat neglects to do
this, then it is a bad sign. This could be either dementia or a disease. There
will be a lack of grooming if the cat is too fat. The feline will then be
unable to reach all parts of its body.
More meowing during the night
A sign of dementia in
senior cats is that it will be more active during the night. Felines are
nocturnal by nature, and a dementia-afflicted cat will meow more in the night.
It is common for older cats to become disoriented when others sleep. This may
lead to separation anxiety. The older cat may even confuse between daytime and
nighttime. It will sleep peacefully through the day but spend its night vocalizing.
A better sign of progressive cognitive decline is the cat sleeping much longer
than usual. To give an example, it will not wake up during dinner or does not
come to the door when you come back to your house after a long day's work.