No matter how old our cats get none of us are truly ready to let go of them regardless of the behaviors that we see from them and I understand because my cat is an important part of our family.
While your older cat’s odd behaviors could be attributed to age-related cognitive decline, there is still a possibility that it could be due to something else such as another underlying medical condition and a trip to your vet may be necessary.
With that out the way, here are some odd behaviors you might notice in your senior cat:
1. Memory Lapses
Just like humans, cats can experience memory lapses as they age.
If your cat suddenly starts forgetting the location of their litter box or seems to be getting confused, it could be a sign of cognitive decline.
Keep their litter box clean and put it as well as their food and water in an easily accessible area.
It’s important to have your cat checked by a veterinarian to determine if cognitive dysfunction is the cause of this behavior.
2. Less Active
Has your kitty lost the pep in their step?
As cats age, they tend to become less active. It’s not that they don’t want to play; they might just not have the same energy levels as before.
It’s important to encourage your senior cat to engage in activities they still enjoy, such as interactive toys or slow-paced wand play.
3. Confusion and Disorientation
If your cat seems to be confused or lost in familiar surroundings, it could be an early sign of cognitive decline. This behavior warrants a visit to the veterinarian to determine if intervention is necessary.
4. Increased Vocalization
If your senior cat has become unusually vocal, it’s essential to identify the underlying cause. Increased vocalization can be a sign of discomfort or distress in older cats.
Some senior cats may meow more frequently, possibly due to disorientation, pain, or cognitive dysfunction.
It’s crucial to address the underlying issue to help alleviate any discomfort or stress your cat may be experiencing.
5. More Active at Nights
Changes in your cat’s sleep patterns may happen as they age. Older cats may sleep more during the day and become more active at night.
This behavior might be due to age-related changes in their circadian rhythms.
Make sure your cat is comfortable by providing a warm and quiet sleeping area away from any noise or distractions.
6. Reduced Self-Care
Cats are known for their meticulous grooming habits.
If your cat has stopped grooming themselves or is grooming less, it might be a sign they’re in pain or experiencing mobility issues.
Older cats may groom themselves less thoroughly, leading to matted fur or skin odor. They may also need assistance with grooming, especially in hard-to-reach areas.
Grooming is an essential aspect of a cat’s well-being, and it’s crucial to identify the underlying cause of reduced grooming behavior.
7. Changes in Appetite
Older cats may experience a decreased sense of smell, leading to a decreased interest in food.
Changes in their appetites can also be caused by a variety of factors, including dental problems, hormonal changes, or medication side effects.
Have any sudden changes in your cat’s appetite investigated by a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues.
8. Increased Aggression or Neediness
Cats, like people, can experience mood changes as they age. Some senior cats may act more aggressively, while others may become clingy and crave more attention.
It’s essential to provide your cat with a calm and stable environment to help alleviate any anxiety or aggression.
9. Cat twitching, Pacing, or Other Repetitive Behaviors
Any sudden change in your cat’s behavior that includes twitching, pacing, or any other repetitive motion should be taken seriously and investigated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
These behaviors could be signs of an underlying medical issue that needs to be addressed.
I would definitely reach out to a veterinarian if I saw my cat twitching in a way that made me concerned about their mental and physical health.
No matter what odd behaviors you may observe in your senior cat, it’s important to remember that they are still a beloved member of your family and should receive the same love and care as before.
Keep an eye out for any sudden changes
Why is my elderly cat acting weird?
Your elderly kitty acting weird could be due to various reasons.
Your cat might be dealing with something like arthritis, dental issues, or even thyroid dysfunction.
Sometimes, it could be just old age causing cognitive changes. Regardless of what it is whenever you have concerns about your cat always check it out with your vet.
Don’t think twice about it.
Call your vet and find out what is really going on. That’s what I would do and that’s the best approach you can take whenever you notice any sudden changes in your cat.
What are the signs of dementia in cats?
Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome is a condition related to the aging of a cat’s brain that can lead to changes in awareness, learning and memory deficits, and decreased responsiveness to stimuli.
The initial symptoms are mild, but they gradually worsen over time.
Common behavioral signs of cat dementia, usually noticeable when cats are 10 years or older, include:
- Increased vocalization.
- Decline in sensory abilities: Visual and auditory impairments may occur, with the cat’s visual acuity and hearing deteriorating over time.
- Activity level changes and decreased desire to play
- Lack of self-grooming
- Loss of appetite
- Increased anxiety or panic: Cats experiencing dementia may feel anxious or panic when they cannot hear or see properly.
- Memory loss/Confusion: They may have difficulty recognizing familiar objects, places, or people, as mentioned by Gross not knowing where he was anymore.
- Changes in sleep cycle
- House soiling
I found this really interesting video about cat dementia from Jackson Galaxy. It’s worth checking out!
Diagnosing and Treating Dementia in Cats
Diagnosing cat dementia involves a thorough history of your cat’s health, including the nature of the symptoms.
Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination, and routine blood tests, ultrasounds, and X-rays to rule out other diseases that may lead to behavioral changes with your chat.
Treatment requires lifelong therapy and support.
This includes maintaining a healthy and stimulating environment, medication and behavioral therapy, and a specially balanced diet recommended by your veterinarian.
Regular checkups and immediate notification of any behavioral changes to your vet are necessary for managing cat dementia.
It’s at this time that your cat needs you to do as much for them as ever before, through their golden years.
Cats with dementia benefit from having a stable environment, including familiar scents, consistent locations for their bed, litter boxes, and scratchers. Changes in these items or frequent washing can further confuse them.
How do I know if my elderly cat is suffering?
If your cat is behaving differently – like eating less, losing weight, hiding more, or showing signs of discomfort – it might mean they’re not feeling their best.
Visit the vet, let them know what your concerns are and that should help clear things up.
No matter what age our cats are, we want them to have a healthy and happy life.
Keep an eye on your senior cat’s behavior and take note of any changes that make you concerned and might require medical attention, in doing this you can ensure that your senior cat is living their best life.
But most important you’ll be able to help your cat’s veterinarian fully understand your cat’s needs and develop an appropriate treatment plan for them.