– Behavior in Older Cats –
Veterinarian Austin – Behavior in Older Cats is a troublesome subject, but there are options.
Just like people, cats age, and when they do, they tend to develop health issues in which affect behavior. This article is meant to educate cat owners, the reasons, that may explain their cat’s behavior.
Approximately 55% of cats from the ages of 11 – 15 will experience cognitive dysfunction. The same increases to 80% in cats ages 16 -20 years.
Memory affects their ability to be aware, to learn, to see and hear, and much more.
Behavior in which may indicate cognitive dysfunction in your senior cat:
- Starts to fail with using their litter box
- Uses the bathroom in their sleeping or eating areas
- Becomes unfamiliar with people and pets that they have known for years.
- Become lost in familiar places
- Stares often into space with no focus
- Wanders with no purpose
- Become un-interested in affection, greetings or interactions as a whole
- Needs a lot of contacts and becomes hard to satisfy
- Cleans and grooms themselves a lot less than what is done when they are young
- Doesn’t sleep well or shows signs of being restless
- Become much more vocalized at night
Disorientation and confusion
In almost 40% of cats over the age of 17 will experience cognitive decline. Avoid making a lot of changes for cats of this age, such as placement of where their food bowls are located. Keep their routine as consistent as possible, as changes can cause stress to your cat.
Just like with older humans, once they are familiar with the location of the rooms in their house, when we move them into a new location, this major change can disrupt their state of well being. Same is true with older animals.
So try to keep their litter box, food bowl in the same spot. Also try to keep them on the same food, as changes in food in senior cats can cause issues with them.
Restlessness or being active during the night
When cats get older they may experience schedules that become affected. A cat that may have been on a set schedule can start to see that the same. When a cat winds up sleeping more during the day, they will tend to be up more at night. When senior cats get older, they also tend to have their hearing and seeing abilities impaired. They also tend to wander with no true purpose of what they trying to accomplish.
One thing that can be done to help eliminate them from staying up all throughout the night, is to try to get them up as much as possible throughout the day.
Anxiety affects older cats much more than with younger cats, so do your best to reduce stress for your cat, by keeping your cat calm and their surrounding as familiar as possible.
Excessive meowing in senior cats
Excessive meowing in senior cats is quite common as they simply have a bit more to meow about. Rather it is disorientation, inability to hear or know where you are or pain. So patience is needed a bit more in older cats with this issue.
In general, meowing is sparked due to anxiety, disorientation or being distressed. So being mindful of how to prevent these from occurring with your senior cat, is key. Punishing or responding harshly to your older animal could worsen the problem, so investigate what they need, and soothe them when needed.
Senior cats can feel more anxious, than younger cats, at times. So consult with your Veterinarian at Pet and Bird Clinic to see what would be the best treatment for your cat’s precise issues.