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Cognitive Decline in Senior Cats

October 17 2022

Is your kitty a senior? Just like people, our feline friends can experience a decline in cognitive abilities as they age? Cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) is quite common in older cats. A local vet discusses this condition below.

Warning Signs

The signs of dementia in cats are often subtle at first. They can also be hard to read. Your pet may forget where her litterbox is, get ‘stuck’ in a corner, or get lost on the way to her favorite sunbeam. There are also some more general red flags, such as reduced appetite, poor grooming, withdrawal, changes in eating and sleeping habits, unusual vocalizations, and litterbox avoidance. Fluffy may also just seem to wander aimlessly around the house. Becoming confused and forgetful may (understandably) frustrate your pet, and she may meow to vocalize her distress. Some cats will clamor for attention, and follow their humans around like furry little shadows. These things can be indicative of many different medical issues in cats, so take your furry buddy to the vet immediately if you notice anything wrong.


So far, no one specific cause for feline CDS has been identified. It appears to be age-related. About one third of cats that are between the ages of 11 and 14 show at least one behavior that is associated with CDS. With kitties that are older than 15, that number increases to a whopping 50%. Of course, with pets living longer than ever, CDS cases are becoming more common.

Keeping Kitty Content

Your furry friend won’t understand what’s happening to her, and she may get quite scared and upset. Just do what you can to comfort her. Simply talking to Fluffy and petting her can help soothe her. (Note: be very gentle whenever you pick a senior kitty up or put her down.) Keeping a set schedule for meals and playtime will also help with this. Many cats just feel safer with that sort of stability. Don’t worry: your feline friend can still manage scheduling her daily napping routine herself.


Mental stimulation is just as important for kitties as it is for people. Playing can help keep your feline buddy’s mind healthy. Cats really have to focus to land those tricky pounces! Get into the habit of playing with Fluffy every day. Just keep a laser pointer near the spot you relax in at night. Even a few minutes can be beneficial. Birdwatching can also offer your furry pal stimulation.

As your veterinary clinic, we are dedicated to keeping your pet happy and healthy. Contact us anytime!

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