Thanks to better nutrition and veterinary care, cats are living longer than ever. Unfortunately, this also means that more cats are developing the health issues associated with increased age, including dementia. It can be heart-breaking when your vet tells you that your feline friend is suffering from dementia, but there are still things you can do to care for them and ensure they enjoy the rest of their days.
Change their diet
When you see your vet, you should ask about dietary changes. Some foods will be better than others, with grain-free diets often recommended for cats with dementia. The food prescribed might be a little costlier, but it's worth it for your cat's peace of mind. As well as the food itself, try asking your vet whether they can recommend any supplements or medications. For example, studies have suggested that Omega-3 DHA supplements, which are often prescribed for growing kittens, can prevent and ease the degenerative damage often seen in the brains of senior cats.
Wait for them to come to you
Behavioural changes are often the first signs that a cat has developed dementia. They may suddenly act aggressively towards you or as if they simply don't know who you are. This is a problem that can continue, and even get worse, even when you're doing your best to treat the problem; when it does, let your cat come to you instead of going to them. A confused cat might feel threatened and stressed by your attention. If they need your comfort, they will come to you for it.
Keep their minds active
Even though your cat's mind may now be impaired, at least for odd periods of time, it doesn't mean that you should stop trying to challenge them. An active mind is a healthier and happier one, and simply letting them lie around the house isn't going to help anything. Make sure you have regular playtime sessions with your cat. If they're a little too old to be jumping around, try engaging them with mental games.
Provide additional litterboxes
One of the most distressing and inconvenient issues that occurs when a cat has dementia is that they start failing to use the litterbox, which they might find hard to locate when confused. For this reason, you should place another litterbox or two around the house, particularly if your live somewhere with lots of rooms. Try to notice where your cat heads when they become confused, and ensure there's a litterbox close at hand.
Keep things settled
Adding litterboxes should help your cat, but you shouldn't move anything around unless you really must. Furniture, scratching posts, food bowls, and the original litterbox should all be kept in the same place to make it easier for your cat to find their way around your home when they become disorientated.