Do cats get Alzheimer’s?

Cat owners would want to extend the life of the pet as much as possible. Aside from the loving care of the owner, the pet is provided with the right diet and regular medical care. As such, pets’ life expectancy is increasing. Pet owners are given the chance to enjoy the companionship the pet provides much longer. But the longer the life, the greater would be the chance for the pet to suffer from various medical concerns associated with aging. One of these health concerns is senile dementia. Studies have revealed that cats can suffer from a feline form of dementia. Dementia, commonly known as “old timer’s disease” is also called Alzheimers.

Alzhiemers is a progressive neurological disorder that commonly occurs in older men and women. This disorder can occur in pets too. Research have revealed that in cats aging 11 to 14 years, 28% are affected and more than 50% of older cats are known to show signs of the disorder. Just as with Alzheimer’s disease in humans, feline Alzheimer’s occurs when gritty plaques form in the brain. These proteins create tangles within the brain structure thereby causing brain cells to die. This condition will impair the brain’s function of processing messages transmitted by the chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters.

Just as with human Alzheimer’s, feline Alzheimer’s disease is rather tricky to diagnose as the symptoms would mimic the cat’s normal change in behavior associated with aging. Symptoms of the disease can also point to other diseases. Additionally, affected cats would manifest different symptoms. Loss of memory is not unusual in senior felines but pet parents can look for other signs that would determine if the pet has this neurological disorder. Typically, a cat with Alzheimers would do a lot of sleeping during the day. If it is awake, it would be lethargic and would have the tendency to stare off into space. Loss of memory which is a common sign of the disease would make the cat disoriented. The cat would appear to have no awareness of its surroundings thus it would wander around the house aimlessly. Cat owners are aware that these animals are not overly friendly but the pet would come when called especially if it can see food. Cats with Alzheimer’s may not recognize the owner at times thus it would not come when called. Confused and unaware of where he is, the cat would make unusual vocalizations. The once quiet cat would yowl and cry for hours. The effects of the disease on the cat’s memory can result to house training problems. The cat would forget where the litter box is and would eliminate anywhere it pleases. The cat would forget its usual routines as well. Forgetting to eat, to drink and to groom should give the cat owner a clue that something is wrong with the pet.

Feline Alzheimer’s has no cure. On a regular checkup, the vet’s may not easily diagnose the condition of the pet unless the pet parent would disclose the unusual behavior the pet is showing. CAT scan and other neurological tests are necessary to fully diagnose the condition of the pet. Cats with Alzheimers can still have a full life especially if the condition is diagnosed early on and the pet’s diet is fortified with vitamins and antioxidants and medications are prescribed by the vet. Cats with this condition are commonly disoriented. The cat owner can do a lot to make the life of the pet comfortable. Toys and playtimes would provide the pet with a mentally stimulating environment. The pet would have memory lapses but it would still appreciate the attention and the companionship received from its human family.

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