Maine Coon dementia refers to an aging cat losing its cognitive functioning.
While many owners use the term dementia, most vets use the terms senility or Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.
Feline dementia, also known as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, is a condition that causes a decline in a cat’s cognitive abilities. Cats with CDS are more likely to get lost or stuck, and they may forget where their food or litter box is. Feline dementia also causes behavioral changes such as irritability or an increase in meowing.
Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome in cats can be difficult to understand, but with today’s technology, vets have found some ways you can prevent and treat this condition.
Read on to find out what you can do if your cat has been diagnosed with dementia.
Maine Coon Dementia
The Maine Coon is an incredibly popular cat breed known for its enormous size and long, thick fur.
Maine Coons are famous for being one of the smartest cat breeds out there, and they are often called the dogs of the cat world due to their abilities to learn tricks or even play fetch!
Sadly, even the smartest of cats can experience a decline in their cognitive abilities as they age.
While domestic cats are living longer than ever thanks to advanced research and medical equipment, cats over the age of 10 are more likely to experience age-related health concerns.
So, what is cat dementia?
Dementia in cats, also known as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome or CDS, is a condition that causes the brain’s normal functions like memory and spatial relationships to deteriorate.
The progression of dementia is typically slow and worsens gradually as the cat ages.
Unlike humans, who can develop both dementia and Alzheimer’s, cats can only have feline senile dementia, and not Alzheimer’s.
However, many of the symptoms of feline dementia appear similar to symptoms of Alzheimer’s in humans (source 1).
10 Symptoms Of Cat Dementia
Signs of dementia in older cats can be hard to notice at first since the condition tends to advance quite slowly.
If you want to learn how to spot dementia in cats, then here is a list of cat dementia symptoms to keep an eye out for (source 1):
1. Memory Problems
One common symptom of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome in cats is trouble with memory.
Your cat may forget where the litter box is, whether or not they have just been fed, or it may forget basic commands or tricks.
This often coincides with temporal distortion, where the affected cat has trouble keeping track of time.
2. Spatial Reasoning Problems
If your cat has dementia, it might be more likely to get stuck in odd places.
Your cat might not remember where they are in the house, or how to get back to the litter box. Once familiar surroundings might seem strange or confusing.
It is unfortunately common for senile cats to forget where the litter box is, or even how to use it.
As a result, many cats with dementia begin to have accidents outside of the litter box.
4. Sleep Changes
As your senior cat’s brain changes with age, it might have disrupted sleep patterns.
Some cats with dementia change their sleeping schedule entirely, waking up when they used to be napping and sleeping when they used to spend time playing.
5. Mood And Behavioral Changes
It is not uncommon for cats with dementia to display changes in mood and behavior.
Your cat may be more affectionate towards you or the pets in your household, or it might begin demanding attention more often than usual.
It is also common for cats with dementia to become more irritable and reserved.
If your cat spends a lot of time staring at the walls or the floors, it may be showing signs of dementia.
This is especially true if your cat is silent and less reactive to its surroundings.
7. Appetite Changes
Cats with dementia are more likely to experience a decrease in appetite.
In some cases, though, a cat with CDS might start to eat more than usual, too.
8. Poor Grooming
It is normal for older cats to have a harder time taking care of their coats as they age.
Many older cats suffer from joint problems, making it more difficult to reach every part of their body while grooming.
However, if you have noticed your cat is grooming significantly less, or if your cat has started to develop tangles or mats, it could be a sign of dementia.
Often as dementia progresses in cats, they become more vocal. They are also more likely to vocalize at odd or inappropriate times.
It is also more likely for cats with dementia to begin meowing loudly during the night.
10. Activity Changes
Cats with dementia often play less and show a decrease in activity. However, they may also start moving in ways they have not before.
For example, many cats with dementia might wander around the house at odd times of the day, or they may begin pacing as if restless.