Part of the Bay Area News Group

One in ten cats has dementia

By Gary Bogue
Tuesday, August 12th, 2008 at 6:11 am in Cats, Feline dementia.


A story by health correspondent Laura Donnelly appeared in the Sunday issue of Britain’s London Telegraph newspaper entitled, “One in ten cats has dementia.”

The story reports researchers at the University of Edinburgh say that conditions like Alzheimer’s are becoming increasingly common in cats over the age of 15. They call the condition “geriatric onset behavioral problems.”

Dr. Danielle Gunn-Moore, professor of feline medicine at the university, says the risk of dementia in cats is rising because, like humans, cats are living increasingly long lives (better diets and not spending so much time outdoors).

Signs of dementia listed in the Telegraph story include getting disoriented, loud crying especially at night, changed social relationships, increasing irritability or anxiety, altered sleeping patterns, aimless wandering, decreased grooming.

Their research on dementia in cats is continuing as they attempt to discover which factors increase the risks for elderly cats, and how best to prevent the onset of dementia. /Gary

To read the complete story click on:

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

7 Responses to “One in ten cats has dementia”

  1. Ann Says:

    Interesting. My 13 year old cat started showing many of those signs immediately after his sister died last year. I assumed at first that it was grief but perhaps the grief triggered the dementia. The night crying was heartbreaking at first but later it seemed like there wasn’t any real emotion behind the crying. His health continued to deteriorate until we made the sad decision last month to end his suffering.

  2. Donna H, Says:

    My cat, Tiffany, who is 13, began a nightly ritual about 3 years ago in which she chases a fuzzy ball (and it has to be a black/white soccer ball). When she catches it, she carries back to her bed, sits on the floor, covering the ball with her paws and sadly meows.My husband thinks she grieves for her kittens who, I understand, were taken from her too soon. Otherwise, she is normal for her age, eats well and has no other habits. I find cats to be all knowing and very mysterious in their ways. Thank God we have them as pets.

  3. Gary Bogue Says:

    Thank God we have them as pets, indeed! I don’t think some of them survive if we didn’t. /Gary

  4. Barbara Says:

    It makes sense to me. My father had developed Alzheimer’s/dementia and would go into mood swings, episodes of forgetfulness, etc.

    Cat Maggie is thirteen, and although not a typical “meower,” now slips out an occasional meow as she walks to a different room. She expresses total dissatisfaction when her brother gets in her face (or, for that matter, within a two foot radius).

    She briefly slips into her own little world. All the more reason why I believe in keeping them as indoor pets.

  5. jill Says:

    I just came across this article after wondering about this in my 11 yr old cat. My other cat passed away unexpectedly at 9 yrs old, and the 2 of them had grown up together. She was lost and sad, but we got another cat and after a little bit she really took to him and things were fine. Back to normal for her. However, this entire year she’s been exhibiting all kinds of odd behaviors/signs that have had us to the vet twice. A full blood and urine work up twice now has revealed she’s ‘healthy’ by those standards. However, she has started inappropriate urination (not spraying, full on going wherever/whenever), is rapidly losing weight (so so skinny now), but still eats, has decreased grooming (if any), looks lost and dazed and confused, and sort of walks slowly and wobbles a bit. She just looks bad…and seems bad. She’s still lovey and we cuddle and have lap time all the time, but she’s almost a shell of who she used to be. I’m worried sick and don’t know what else to do. We have made her her own ‘apartment’ during the day while we’re at work – she has our computer room to herself, her own box, food & water and windows to look out. It keeps her away from the other cat and the dogs, and I think she likes her quiet place. We find her in there a lot when we are home and she’s not closed up. We had to do this for the urination problem, but she still seems to be deteriorating. Are there any tests or anything that can be done about dementia in cats? I feel like I’m losing her, and it’s physically making me ill. She was my very first pet and I love her so so much.

  6. K.Kastama Says:

    Speaking to letting cats name themselves: our now departed, long haired gray as a kitten was completely fearless. He raced through the house, missing the stairs, crashing into furniture,falling off ledges, etc. causing him to be named Kamikaze. But when the energy flagged, you could pick up his sleeping head and drop it with little effect, causing the name to change to Kamitose!

  7. Suzie Says:

    My ten year old cat has begun going pee/poop where ever she wants. The couch, easy chair, kitchen counters and the bathtub. I have had her since she was a few weeks old. I rescued her from my nieghbors house along with 2 of her sisters. The mother was a feral cat and one sister died a week after I got them her other sister died last summer. I have since rescued another feral, and they are closer than her sister and she were. Why in the world is she doing this? I have 2 litter boxes. Why?

Leave a Reply