Is Your Kitty Confused? 4 Signs of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

Manage sleep-wake cycles. This can be as simple as gently waking him up when you see him sleeping during the day. Carry him, talk to him or play with him to keep him awake so there’s less potential for nighttime meownderings.

Although there are no medications approved for CDS in cats, you may also ask your veterinarian if there are any medications that can help reduce some of the signs, such as nighttime prowling and yowling.

Sometimes cats yowl because they’ve suffered hearing loss and they’re telling you they don’t like the change. They may also simply not realize just how loudly they’re vocalizing. Until a hearing aid for cats is developed, your best bet for sleeping through the night with a yowly cat is a good set of earplugs or a cat room at the other end of the house.

To deal with loss of litterbox use, try adding more boxes throughout the house, especially if you have a multilevel house. Something else to consider is that your cat is missing the box not because he’s senile, but because his joints are too achy to climb into it — or to climb the stairs to get to it. See if you can make it easier for him to get into the box by cutting an opening into it that he can walk through or providing a ramp he can walk up to get in and out of the box.

Supplements and Medication

A possible treatment, extrapolated from research in dogs, has shown that high levels of antioxidants appear to help dogs with cognitive dysfunction. There’s no science to support that the same would be true in cats, but you can ask your veterinarian about adding high levels of omega-3 fatty acids to your cat’s diet to see if they make a difference.

Can a cat with CDS have good quality of life? In most cases, yes, but it’s important to recognize that your cat’s needs have changed. Once you understand the changes that accompany aging and work with your veterinarian to manage them, your cat’s senior years can be rewarding for both of you.


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