I think my cat has dementia. Is there anything I can do for him?

I think my cat has dementia. Is there anything I can do for him, he has started sleeping in the strangest places has started begging for food and sleeps on the kitchen table, which he was never allowed up on. He was a very well trained cat, he has lost a bit of weight and has Licked the fur off the base of his tail. His worming and flea treatment are all up to date along with his booster jabs. There doesn't seem much point in telling him off as he just carries on. He is 14 years old.

You are right that cats can get dementia but the symptoms you have mentioned such as an increased desire for food, weight loss, over-grooming his tail-base and changes in his preferences for sleeping suggest it is potentially more than this. Dementia (also called “cognitive dysfunction”) is a diagnosis that can only be arrived at by a vet visit so that all the other diseases that commonly causing all these symptoms in older cats are eliminated first. I spend a lot of my time as a cat vet explaining that many of the ‘behaviour problems’ cat owners see are in fact symptoms of diseases such as thyroid problems, high blood pressure, kidney disease and arthritis for which treatments can significantly help.

These changes in behaviour that you’ve seen are all messages from your cat that something is wrong – many cat owners fear taking their elderly cats to a vet in case there’s mention of the dreaded “C” word (cancer) or that they’ll be told bad news. It’s often easier for owners to convince themselves that their cat is just “getting old” and assume there’s little that can be done when in actual fact there is just as much chance that there is plenty that can be done to give your cat a better quality of life. Make that appointment and ask for a blood test – if you can get one, bring a fresh urine sample with you. Your cat will thank you for it

Best wishes

Jo Lewis BSc BVMS (Hons) MRCVS - The Cat Vet

Home Visiting Clinic



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