What Is Cat Dementia & How To Help Your Cat?

What Is Cat Dementia & How To Help Your Cat?

Author WCF Staff


As cats get older, they tend to get age-related health problems, which is nothing strange. Cat dementia or Cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), as it is officially called, is one of these problems that can affect your senior cat. Our cats live longer than ever in today's world, but this prolonged life will come with some health issues that your cat could experience.

Cat dementia will start slowly with mild symptoms, and it will worsen with time. The best thing you can do is learn all about cat dementia, and if it comes when your cat shows symptoms of it, you will know how to help your cat. Let's start.

What is cat dementia?

Cat dementia is a health condition that can affect your senior cat and is directly connected with the aging of your cat's brain. This condition will cause changes for your cat, including changes in the following:

  • Awareness
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Responsiveness

Dementia will start slowly and will gradually cause more issues for your cat. The best thing you can do is to talk to your vet about it.

cat looking up

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Signs of dementia in cats

Recent studies have shown that cats develop dementia at age 10 or older. Since this will start as a slow process, the most obvious signs you will notice is in your cat's behavior. In many cases, cat owners could replace early symptoms of dementia for different health problems, so to recognize it, your vet can help.

The easiest way to determine if a cat has dementia is to watch changes in behavior in your senior cat. Of course, some other illnesses can also cause changes in behavior for your cat, but either way, behavior changes will let you know that some condition is bothering your cat.

Here are the symptoms of cat dementia:

  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Appetite changes
  • Anxiety
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Excessive licking
  • Defecation and urination incontinence
  • Becoming vocal

Causes of cat dementia

Currently, there is no known cause of cat dementia. Many researchers have investigated this cat condition, and their best guess is that cat dementia is connected to genetics. Their study showed that 1/3 of all cats from 11-14 years old will develop dementia.

white cat looking

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As we said earlier, cat dementia will start slowly, and you must watch behavior changes. If your cat is older than 10 years and you start noticing any changes in her routines, you should contact your vet and schedule a meeting.

WORLD CAT FINDER TIP: If you own a senior cat, you should regularly take your cat to the vet for a quick check-up. That way, you can be sure that you will discover any condition that initially bothers your cat.

To determine if your cat has developed dementia, your vet will perform a few tests and complete physical evaluations.


Cat dementia is a brain condition; there are no ways to completely eliminate it from your cat's life once it starts to develop. Of course, there are many ways to ease problems for your cat and slow the progression of this condition.

As with all health-related problems, your vet will be your best friend and guide you about the best next moves for you and your cat.

Your vet could suggest the following:

  1. Providing a healthy environment for your cat will slow down the progression of this condition
  2. A special and well-balanced diet for improving the cognitive functions of cat
  3. Keep their brain activated with many different games and other mental stimulations
  4. Never get frustrated or angry with your cat when she starts to show symptoms of dementia (especially if incidents happen inside of the house)
  5. Make changes to their litter box – make it easier to enter and find a bigger litter box
  6. Medications- in some cases, your vet will prescribe your cat some meds that can help with their memory and brain functions.
  7. Provide comfort for your cat and provide her with a  lot of attention to feel better

cat looking

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Can cat dementia be prevented?

To lower the risk of your cat developing dementia, you can do a few things as an owner. Since dementia is a brain condition, to ensure that your cat's brain is at its best, you must provide your cat will proper and regular mental exercises.

This doesn't mean that you should start when your cat develops dementia. Throughout the cat s life, you should provide her with games and other things that will activate their brain. You need to find an activity that will suit your cat best and stick to them.

Providing proper mental exercise reduces the possibility that your cat will develop dementia, but you must know that it can still happen. As we said earlier, the researcher thinks dementia is closely connected to genetics.

Besides mental activities, providing your cat with a diet rich in omega-3, antioxidants, vitamin E, and vitamin C will help the cat's cognitive functions.


Cat dementia is a health condition that affects cats older than 10. Since this is a brain condition, there are no medications that will completely heal your cat, but what you can do is slow down the progression of the illness. Provide your cat with proper mental activities and diet to help her cognitive function.

World Cat Finder Team

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