When my husband Andrew began working from home at the end of March, he was home with our cats ALL the time. (I'm so jealous.) He heard...

Meow NOW ~ Dementia in Cats

When my husband Andrew began working from home at the end of March, he was home with our cats ALL the time. (I'm so jealous.) He heard our little Ginger scream-meowing in the early afternoon one day, and thought that she's just meowing because he's home, but then it started to become a daily occurrence. He felt that something was wrong with her. I took her to the vet and she still has some health problems and was prescribed special food (that she will only eat if I mix it with her regular food, because she's a stinker!) Both our cats Ginger and Vicktor are about 18 or 19 ~ we aren't sure because Ginger was a stray and Vicktor was abandoned. They are super seniors now and we are concerned for their health. 

Synchronized lap sitting.

Ginger's meowing has become more frequent and louder. I call it her "cat-hartic wailing". It happens in the early afternoon, while she eats, and in the middle of the night. Did I mention I haven't slept in years?! I think this might also have to do with her not being able to hear how loud she is too. We also noticed Ginger doesn't respond to her name anymore and will walk around the house meowing at nothing. She just wanders about lost when she's not sleeping. We're convinced she has kitty dementia or feline cognitive dysfunction and is loosing her hearing. She can sense vibrations and sits in between the kitchen and living room so she doesn't miss any of the action in the house. 

Ginger looking sad.

How do you know if your kitty has dementia? Here are some of the signs...

Spatial Disorientation- They will wander around a familiar place confused. They might forget where the litter box is or their water.

Sleeping Pattern Changes- They might be up at hours they normally sleep and vice versa. They might be sleeping longer and deeper when they are asleep.

Appetite Changes- Either they are not interested in food or they visit their bowl when feeding time is over.

Increased Irritability- They might swat at you or be aggressive when they never were before.

Unusual Vocalizations- They start making loud yowling sounds, often at night.

Decreased Grooming- Not interested in cleaning themselves.

Decreased Responsiveness- Not responding to their name, or the sound of a can opener, etc.

Add extra places for them to nap, it can be as simple as a box and towel.

So how can you help makes cats with dementia more comfortable? (because it's not something that can be necessarily diagnosed and treated.)

Avoid Changes to their Environment- Don't move their food bowl or furniture, add a new pet or move. Keep rearranging to a minimum.

Routine- Keep on schedule for feeding times so they don't get confused.

Ramps- Add ramps if they suffer from arthritis so they can get to their favorite perch.

Play- Keep their mind active with toys.

Rest- Create additional resting spaces and warm spots, or just put down an extra box and blanket in a corner.

If They Have Accidents- Consider making the litter trays bigger or more shallow or adding a ramp.

Give them a Space Away- Give them a space they can escape from loud sounds, kids, and other pets.

Always talk to your vet about options. They might recommend vitamin E for brain function or anti-anxiety meds. After what I went through a few years ago, I really think this is borrowed time with her. We are very lucky to have her this long. Please be gentle and hug and kiss your cats. Don't forget, YOU are their world.