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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.