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Cat Wanders 150 Miles to Former Home


During my recent trip to New Zealand I encountered a story about a cat named Peanut, who disappeared from his home in Hastings and found his way all the way to his former home in Gisborne, a distance of nearly 150 miles. But for the fact that Peanut had been fitted with a microchip his remarkable journey might have come to a completely different end.

According to the New Zealand Harold, shortly after Peanut’s family moved to Hastings from Gisborne, Peanut wandered off. We will never know how Peanut found his way safely, but he must have had a grand adventure and I can only imagine he would have a great [tail] to share if he could talk.

Fortunately, Peanut was rescued by the Gisborne SPCA and promptly checked for a microchip which is standard in most shelters. With the help of his microchip and a lot of detective work, Peanut was reunited with his family.

Peanut was lucky in so many ways. There’s no telling the potentially fatal accidents he avoided. Perhaps his greatest fortune is the fact that his guardian had thought to have him microchipped. It probably saved his life. Click here to learn about microchipping your cat.

[Editor’s Note: Also remember to always keep your cat indoors, so he can’t wonder off.]

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Does your cat have dementia? – A guide for owners of older felines

It may sound like a silly question but I would bet most owners with older cats could recount multiple examples of ‘feline senility’. Some are funny, some are sad and some are just plain unpleasant. But as tempting as it is to be angry with your cat for, say, mistaking your bed for a litter tray, the truth is that more than 50% of cats over 15 years of age suffer from some degree of dementia, also known as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS). Is your cat one of them?

Let’s start with a couple of questions to get you thinking:

  1. Has your older cat started to urinate or defecate in inappropriate places?
  2. Does your cat demand more attention than she used to?
  3. Have you noticed your cat crying out more frequently, particularly at night?
  4. Is your cat less adventurous than he used to be, preferring to stay close to home?
  5. Is she behaving strangely – staring at walls, forgetting there is food in her dish or perhaps interacting differently with a housemate?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then your cat is in fact showing at least one of the signs of feline dementia or CDS.

What is Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome?

The first question that often comes to mind is whether or not it is related to human dementia and in fact the answer is yes, there are many physical and behavioural similarities between CDS in cats and Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Both diseases are likely caused at least in part by physical changes related to decreased blood flow to the brain and an increase in nasty little molecules called ‘free radicals’.

They may have a funny name, but the damage these molecules do to living cells is hardly a laughing matter. The older the body gets the more free radicals it produces and when combined with decreased blood and oxygen flow, these molecules wreak havoc on the particularly sensitive and fragile cells in the brain. All this damage also leads to the deposition of protein ‘plaques’ around the nerve cells, making it even harder for signals to make it through. The end result is a collection of tired, damaged and dirty cells trying unsuccessfully to maintain normal brain function. A pretty distressing thought!

The longer this process goes on, the harder the cat finds it to do the simple things that used to come so naturally. They may forget where the litter tray or cat flap is, resulting in poor toilet habits. Changes in sleeping habits and activity levels can lead to increased stress, which in turn can result in loud, seemingly pointless crying.

Meals are forgotten and relationships with both human and animal housemates may suffer. Nobody wants to see their cat experience this kind of stress, yet in reality, most of the time the symptoms of CDS either go unnoticed or are simply put down to ‘getting older’ and as a result, nothing is done about it.

What CAN be done about it?

The first step to treating Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome is actually diagnosing it in the first place. CDS is a diagnosis of exclusion, which means that it cannot be diagnosed directly but rather by ruling out other conditions. There are many other conditions which can cause similar symptoms though, so it’s important to speak with your vet to try to figure out what’s really going on.

The disease that most closely resembles CDS in terms of symptoms is arthritis, and in fact there are many similarities between the two conditions as both the underlying causes and the treatments are quite similar. Other conditions that result in some of the same symptoms as CDS include kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, deafness, blindness or brain tumours. As some of these are easily treatable, it is definitely worth trying to get to the bottom of it.

If your vet diagnoses your cat with cognitive dysfunction, there are several things that you can do to help your feline friend as they learn to cope with their illness. The first is to feed a high-quality diet, and preferably one that is particularly high in antioxidants (which kill off those free radicals) and other supportive compounds such as vitamin E, beta carotene and essential fatty acids. Several other vitamins and molecules have also shown promise in treating the condition and this has led to the development of several therapies including special diets and nutritional supplements.

Perhaps equally if not even more important than changing what goes into a CDS cat’s body is changing their environment to support their condition.

Some of the things that owners can do at home to help cats with dementia (and, incidentally, arthritis as well) include:

  • Feed your cat according to a routine schedule so they know what to expect when
  • Increase the number of food bowls, water dishes and litter trays to make them more accessible from wherever the cat may be in the house. Litter trays should be wide with shallow rims to allow easier access and sand-like litter may be kinder to older toes.
  • Try to keep their environment otherwise unchanged (especially for those cats who may also be blind or deaf) as change creates confusion which increases anxiety and stress. If changes do need to be made, try to introduce them slowly and gradually. A Feliway or Pet Remedy plug-in or spray can help anxious cats cope with daily life
  • Provide several deeply padded and comfortable resting/hiding places throughout the house and make them easily accessible by building a ramp or steps up to those that would otherwise require a big jump.
  • Give your cat the attention and reassurance they seek but do not overdo it as they also appreciate time to themselves. Don’t rush to get a new kitten thinking they need companionship, as this usually causes more stress than it is worth.

As with so many diseases of older cats, Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome may be common, but it isn’t normal so if you think your cat may be showing some of the symptoms, the first thing to do is speak with your vet. Together you may be able to significantly improve the quality of your cat’s life with a few simple changes.

It can also help to think about your cat’s schedule and environment from their point of view rather than your own, as you may discover other ways to make their lives a bit easier. Next time your cat has a ‘senile moment’ and wakes you up at 3am with a howl, spare a thought for their ageing brain before getting cross!

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My boy is 19 and has been diagnosed with FCD last year, he has started becoming very vocal with new sounds all day and all night which I understand is part of the disease. If I pick him up and give cuddles he relaxes for a very short period before he’s off walking around the flat chatting away. He seems very unsettled and has taken to sleeping on a chair under the dinner table whereas before he came to bed and slept all night between me and my husband, now he sleeps in 30 minute stints, maybe slightly longer, he is distancing himself from us and no longer wants to be with us watching tv. He’s also gone deaf He takes metcam for arthritis and zylkene for stress but I’m concerned , is he sad, stressed or in pain ? How will I know when he’s had enough I don’t want to be a selfish cat mummy

It’s really hard to know, unfortunately. It might be worth talking to your vet about a Quality of Life Assessment? These are questionnaire-like tools that your vet can give you to help measure semi-objectively your cat’s quality of life. Good luck – its really hard, I know.

My cat is 15. He has had 2 episodes of severe confusion. Hes been trying to fit in small spaces he would never go into. He’s a 25lb cat so he easily gets stuck. I recently found him stuck behind the toilet. I thought he was chasing a mouse but he was so confused. He walks low to the ground and doesn’t respond when I try to comfort him. The vet said he has arthritis in his back legs, and did full blood work. It came back perfect. He also has had diabetes that we have managed for 8 years now. His levels are great. The episodes only lasted a few hours. After reading your article I can see he may have a tough road ahead. It’s heartbreaking. He doesn’t have any other symptoms. He’s never been a big talker so I haven’t heard an increase in meowing, and he uses the litter box.
Any advice?

There are some medicines that might help, but they’re not well studied in cats. The best approach is to try and give him a routine that he can follow, to engage his brain where possible (e.g. with puzzle feeding), and to be very careful to follow your vet’s instructions to the letter on his diabetes and weight management. Good luck!

Our Persian is 11 years old, recently he meows loudly without leading us to what he wants which he usually did be it food/ brush/or to go outside
we have a door between lounge and conservatory,he meows to go out then to come back in then out, some nights he never settles back and forth through the door, not wanting food or to go out.
The older he gets he seems to be a lot more vocal

My well behaved and loving 17+ y/o male cat who 6 weeks ago slept on the bed next to me, sometimes with his head on the pillow, suddenly spends excessive time at a neighbors RV, even on their steps. They say they don’t feed him and he does come home to eat, only to immediately want back outside. He no longer lays on my lap in the morning (if he is here) and acts as if we are just a soup kitchen. This is very strange. We have 2 other f/m younger cats and he has always been “friendly but indifferent to them. Confused and disappointed.

That could well be Feline Cognitive Dysfunction – probably time for a vet assessment.

My cat is adopted and she is about 2 years old.she is good in behaviour and even eat good.But her breqthing sounds alittle and i hear it only when i go near her or the place is silent how can i take care of her

It depends why she has noisy breathing. It could be chronic low grade cat flu, or feline asthma, or something else. I’d recommend a vet check to try and work out what’s going on. In the meantime, make sure she’s kept in an area that isn’t too dusty, and hopefully your vet will be able to determine what the cause is and how to manage it. Good luck!

Bonita is my 19 year old cat. She has been the most intelligent, clean, intuitive, clever cat I have ever had. We lived in our old house for 13 years and previously we lived in a first floor flat for 3 years where she adopted herself to us.
Since we moved in to the new house a year ago, Bonita goes out only with a leash because the new neighbourhood is full of cats that may like to test her with a fight. She used to go out before during the day and sleep indoors in the nights. In her good years she would earn the respect of other cats and a small fight will be enough to prove who was the leader. Now she wouldn’t have a chance as she has lost muscles and strength, she’s tiny and her bones feels thin and sharp such as an old lady cat.
She started yawling about 7 monts ago, she would seek more attention and she tried to tell me she wasn’t ok. We took her to the vet and after a scan they found what they thought it was a tumor in her intestine. The vet said it was most likely a cancerous tumor. It was too risky for a biopsy because of her age, so we went back home and decided to take extra good care of her.
After that, during the first 3 months giving her massages with essential oils I could feel the “tumor” but now after 5 months from that I can’t feel the tumor anymore. There are no extra symptoms apart of her increasing yawling. Maybe she has changed a bit, could be that she starts to be deaf, may be pain in her hips, she wants more attention, she begs for food all the time, she is less tolerant with her daughter, Bella who is 16 years old.
It is hard to hear her yawling all day, I can perceive her discomfort. I just hope this yawling is not because she may feel scared that she may soon die.
Her yawling drives us crazy, during the day and during the night. Sometimes I stand up in the middle of the night and cuddle beside her in the sofa, give her a bit of food, I talk to her until she decides to jump back to her blanket or her basket.
I wish I could do something else to calm her and make her feel less anxious and a bit more comfortable. I don’t want her to suffer. I can read her very well, and I know she will tell me when is the time to leave, but meanwhile I wish she didn’t feel confused, sad or scared. Is there anything else I could do?

I’d strongly advise you to get her seen by your vet – there are now some medications that may help. In addition, they’ll be able to help you prepare a support plan for how best to support her at home. Good luck!

I have a 17 years cat with dementia but he refused to eat I tried to but food in his mouth and he don’t open to eat I made a lot of blows with food every where and he still not eating

I think it’s time for a check up with the vet to make sure there isn’t anything else going on but sadly, if not, it might be that he’s coming to the end of the road. Good luck with him, and I hope they find something treatable.

How long can a cat live with dementia? Mine is 16 years old. She’s eating, sitting on my lap but very erratic, miauwing a lot – never used to. She’s been like this for about 8 months. I don’t want her to suffer. But can’t bear the thought of putting her down unless I have to

Potentially, months IF her quality of life is good enough, and there’s someone willing to look after her. Ultimately, you have to decide at what point is it unfair to keep her going. Good luck with her.

Hi, I wondered if there has been any research or experience with using cholinesterase inhibitors or glutamate blockers (such as memantine for humans) in cats? My cat has all of the symptoms described, and has a complete work up, so I’m pretty sure this is his diagnose at 15 1/2 years of age.

Cats are much more sensitive to neurotransmitter inhibition than humans are, and many more drugs are toxic as their liver’s capacity to conjugate primary metabolites is much more limited. Reportedly, monoamine oxidase inhibitors such as selegiline have been used with some success, but most effective treatments seem to be vascular, such as propentofylline. It seems likely that in cats especially there is a significant vascular dementia-type component (possibly as a result of undiagnosed chronic hypertension). I’m unaware of any studies using glutamate inhibitors or anticholinesterases in cats, I’m afraid.

My cat is around 15 (we got him when he was three and don’t know when his actual birthday is, so I have decided it’s May 3rd. He will be 15 then.) He has become clingier as he has gotten older, but I don’t mind as we are very close. When I’m in my room with the door closed, he will sit outside my door and meow until I let him in. However, in the past few months, he has been meowing outside my door when I am not in my room. I will call out to him to let him know I’m in a different part of the house, but minutes after he finds me, he will be meowing outside of my door again. Recently, he will meow outside of my door even if it is open. I will call out to him from inside the room saying, “the door is open!” but he meows until I stand in the doorway and watch him come in. Just tonight, he was meowing outside my door. I went to let him in, but he just sat there, so I left the door open. I could hear him meowing, and when I went to the door, he was sitting outside of the closed bathroom door where my mom was taking a bath. He had seen me in my room just seconds before, yet he thought I was in another room. Is this a sign of cat dementia? Should I call a vet?

It would be consistent, but there are some other diseases that can cause confusion like that too, so yes, I think a vet check is a good idea.

I also wanted to mention that he has started trying to go behind my bed between the headboard and the wall. I know cats tend to explore, but it makes me uncomfortable because it is quite messy behind and underneath my bed and I don’t want him getting stuck. Him walking behind my bed has been a nightly occurrence for a few weeks now.

Since friday evening my cat has gone down hill, he is stairs at walls, hardly eats, he paces the house all day and most likely most of the night. He is so unbalanced I am afraid to let him out. I took him to the vets and they took bloods from him told me he’s healthy for a boy of his age, he’s 16, they offered me pills for him to help with anxiety… I dont think it’s helping.

I’m not sure what to do, he seem unresponsive to everyone.

I think if he’s not responding to treatment, then a follow up with the vets is a good idea.

We have an 17 year old cat that left his family 3 years ago and moved in with us. He’s a lovely old boy and he has always got on okay with our other cats. Last year we realised he had gone deaf but he still comes when we beckon him and he only goes in the same area in the garden. We think he now has dementia, he is showing signs but one thing he has decided to do, is sleep on any hard surface he can. I’ve had to clear virtually everything of my dressing table and bedside unit and now he’s sleeping on the TV stand. I try and cuddle him up with me on the bed, but he won’t have it. He is extremely forceful until he gets his own way. Is he okay sleeping on these hard surfaces? If I put covers or cushions on them he pushes them off. Many thanks.

I think there are two questions here… Firstly, is it ideal for an older cat to sleep on a hard surface as opposed to a padded one. The answer is no, although it’s unlikely to do him any harm. The second is whether you can do anything about it… and again, I doubt that you can.
If it helps, it’s worth remembering that cats are experts at finding comfort in even the most apparently uncomfortable situations! If he’s decided that’s where he’s comfy, I think we probably have to accept that. It is worth keeping a close eye on him though, to make sure he’s not losing weight or his coat isn’t getting matted (which are common problems in older cats with early dementia-type signs).

My 15 year old male cat has started going in our basement, wedging himself in between the furnace and the wall and meowing loudly in an unusual voice. I go down and ask him what’s up, what the heck are you doing silly kittty? But he just stops when I catch him doing it and just leaves. He does it in the daytime. Also he has become quite demanding for his treats and is very vocal. He has developed many new sounds and talks to us when he never used to. He’s not stressed. He’s a happy, healthy, content cat with much love from the family. He was a super scaredy cat for most of his life but now has no problem with strangers and is so easy going. The basement meowing is just SO peculiar, we can’t figure it out. Is he seeing things down there that are not real? Is he calling out for mice? Should we be worried?

I’m afraid to say that this is probably an early sign of feline dementia or senility. I’d strongly advise you get him to your veterinarian to be checked out.

My cat is 15 and half. In the last month she has gone from being a clean cat always using her litter tray to now always using the floor. We have moved the chair that she has into the kitchen (tiled floor) and a couple of fluffy blankets on the floor as she has been urinating on the carpet. She has been howling randomly lasting probably 5 to 10 seconds 3 or 4 times a day (although painkiller from the vets seems to have stopped this which we are now giving her every other day. She sleeps most of the day. Sometimes she just seems to be staring into space, not at anything in particular. She also seems to be under your feet (and I mean under your feet) more, so you can be doing something, turn around and she’s there, its a wonder we haven’t fallen over her, she doesn’t seem to realise she should move like she used to. The vet has diagnosed arthritis and possible arthritis or spongalosis of the bottom spine which he has said is making it painful for her to urinate (she now only urinates once every 24 to 36 hours), but there is no UTI as we have taken a sample for testing. I feel cruel keeping her in the kitchen, she has 2 litter trays in there (she has a poo in only one of them so still knows how to use but just wee’s on the floor), but otherwise she will ruin the carpet, and she has food and water also. Do we just keep going? So basically, she eats, sleeps and wee’s on the floor.

I think you really have to think about her quality of life – is your cat happy or not, is her life worth living? Can she still do the things she loves, or not?
If you think she does have a decent quality of life, then perhaps have a conversation with your vet about any other options to help her cope and stay comfortable.
If, however, the answer to these questions is no, then I think it’s probably time to think about letting her go. I always think it’s the best gift we can give our failing pets – letting them pass peacefully, rather than suffering to the bitter end.
I wish you all the best – she’s lucky she has you as an owner, to consider her point of view.

Hi. Im 17, and my cat is 18. She was diagnosed with kidney failure , and has all these symptoms. Im very worried and scared for my cat. Could she have dementia ?

Hi Cora, I’m afraid only your own vet could let you know their thoughts on her, as they know her history etc. Please speak to them for your peace of mind.

My cat is only 11 but Ive had a feeling he is developing this. He doesnt yowl at night but he hisses incessantly, at me and just randomly and seems confused a lot. Sometimes when I go to stroke him he honestly looks at me like he doesn’t know who I am, and gets quote alarmed. He is sleeping virtually all day now, even in the summer, and gets grumpy when I try encourage him to eat food or move around (with the use of treats.) He’s only 11, quite fit otherwise, do these symptoms seem like the onset of feline dementia? Ive taken him to the vet recently and she said he was fit apart from needing some dental work, but I didn’t mention my dementia fears.

Hi Tahlee, I think it would be worth speaking to your vet again with your thoughts and concerns. It may be suggested for him to have further tests, even bloods taken as these can show things not visible on normal examination. Your vet will be able to advise on this. Best of luck, Dave RVN.

Hello my beautiful Sophie has been diagnosed with dementia. She’s been yowling she panics if she can’t find me I have to leave lights on so at night so she can find things the litter box is on the patio which is in enclosed but she panics when she goes out because she has to bank come back inside to the bedroom and if she doesn’t see me on the bed and she walks into the bathroom she freaks out. It’s so sad to see her like this she’s been doing a lot of twitching of her head and shoulders she sleeps a lot she her eating habits have changed. I don’t particularly care for my vet but she put her on gabapentin 100 mg a day and all my cat does is sleep gets up to eat occasionally when I call her or come and get her because she doesn’t realize it’s time for dinner and I have to give her medication twice a day. She really does not interact with anybody except me. She always sleeps on my pillow every night and has for the past 17 years. Recently she has clawed my face in the middle of the night I don’t know whether she’s dreaming or what’s going on with that but it’s just really sad to see her so miserable. I might take her to another vet to see what their diagnosis is I have two other cats also I have to consider. I’ve noticed that her breathing is extremely heavy, but the vet said she sounds fine. The cost of just going to a veterinarian is $150 and all it is is an exam and one bottle of medication. Personally I think that’s a crime I can see a specialist for Less.

Hi Lorraine. I can appreciate why you’re so worried about your cat and that all you clearly want is the best for her. If you’re still worried, and don’t feel she has improved on the medication, I’d recommend going back to your vet for further advice and explain your concerns or seek a second opinion (this can be another vet at your practice, or at another vet practice) if after this you don’t feel she is improving. There are always options to talk through in cases such as this, so please do feel comfortable with seeking further advice on other possible steps that may improve your cat’s quality of life.

Thank you for responding so quickly Sarah. The medication Sophie is on is Gabapentin 50 mg 2 times a day which is difficult enough to give but now she is refusing to eat the wet food most likely she tastes the medicine . She will eat the dry food but I have not seen her drinking much water. For several months she has been sleeping so heavily she snores louder than any husband I’ve had. I think Gabapentin is the incorrect medication it is for nerve pain because I take gabapentin for nerve damage in my leg . Now new symptoms are surfacing, it’s more like a snort or a cough and then, gasping for air. I’m really not pleased with this vet that I have taken her to I explained my situation paid 95% of the bill and asked if they would work with me on the balance they were extremely rude. Going to another vet is starting all over new patient higher fees. I do not want Sophie to be suffering simply because it’s been going on for a while and I’ve never figured out what it was until I finally brought her to the vet. This is a major conundrum I do not wish to put her down unless she is suffering and has no quality of life. But running from the bed to the litter box to the bed again and going into a dead sleep and then face planting into the dry food that’s all she does. She keeps touching me with her paw on my shoulder and on my hand patting me I don’t know what she saying I wish I knew. Any other suggestions? Thank you so much. Lorraine

My cat Billy is 23 years old. He has all of these signs listed above. In all his life he has never meowed loudly but is now. He has been fine up until a few days ago. He wants to go out so we allowed him to go but he got lost. We found him and brought him home, now we have blocked the cat flap off to him. We feed him all the time, he will eat and then look up wanting more but doesn’t realise he has food down. He has lost a lot of weight but he has been quite happy. We now feel that he is nearing him time. This is very sad as he is a big part of our family.

I have a eight almost 9 year old burmilla with all except one of the above. Any advice?

Hi Anneka. The first step, if you haven’t already done so, is to have a chat to your vet. The symptoms described here can be similar to the symptoms of other conditions which may require a different approach, so a diagnosis to start with is essential. If your cat is diagnosed with CDS, there are dietary supplements that your vet can recommend that can help keep your cat bright, alert and active. I’d also recommend thinking carefully about the home environment avoid moving things in the house, and you can try to increase other environmental clues such as leaving the radio on in a certain room to help your cat navigate the house. I’d also recommend regular interaction and encouraging playing where possible, as keeping your cat mentally stimulated can help. Hopefully some simple steps such as these will help, and your vet will be happy to give you further advice.

Hi My cat Guiness is now 18.5 years old and has had symptoms of cognitive decline for a while but is otherwise in excellent health (as confirmed on his senior cat MOT this morning). the issue I face is his constant calling and need for company is waking all the household and seems to be worsening especially since we lost our other cat around 6 months ago. Though the were not brother and sister and fought almost daily for the 14 years they were together, they were company and whenever one was at the vets the other would go looking for them and become not only more vocal but also more affectionate. Should we look to getting a kitten or something for company? I have read mixed reviews on this idea and I don’t want to stress him further but want to try something. Our Vets suggested Feliway Pheromone plug ins but other than diminish our bank balance they do not appear to have had any affect so we are going to stop them.

Hi Antoine, it’s great to hear that Guiness passed his senior cat MOT with flying colours! It can be tricky to manage some of the symptoms you’ve described, and despite the fact that he and your other cat never particularly got on, cats can still grieve, and his behaviour in that respect sounds quite natural. I wouldn’t recommend rushing into getting another cat or a kitten, as sometimes this can actually cause more stress. But there are more things you can try! With the Feliway, you don’t say how long you’ve been using it – but if not for long, then I’d persist for a little longer. It can take up to 6 weeks to really start to be effective, and it’s important to have it plugged in where Guiness spends most of his time. At home, try to keep his environment very much the same, as too many changes can exacerbate the problem, and if his symptoms worsen at all, he may, like many cats, gain a lot of comfort from having all of his resources in one area, or even one room, so he has his own space to retreat to. To encourage a more restful time at night, you could try increasing his activity slightly during the day – a little bit of playtime with you, or using puzzle feeders can help, or even something as simple as spending some time with him in the evening giving him a fuss or a groom may help to encourage better sleep-wake cycles, and reduce the amount of vocalising at night.

Hi – My beloved cat called Oli is now 15 years old and I think has dementia, my partner and I have just moved, and for the last year or so Oli decided that he did not want to live indoors so we bought an outdoor dog kennel, which we put his favourite blankets, carpet and warmers we put in the mircrowave to keep him warm – he used to come in every night and sleep in his bed in the kitchen, now we have moved, and I kept him in for nearly a week, he cried and cried so eventually I let him out, he will not under any circumstances come in. I have to feed him outside, if I open the door he runs a mile, will not come near and Im worried sick about him. We have foxes that come into the garden and Im so worried if one comes near the kennel, what if Oli is stuck in it?? I cannot take him to the Vets because I cannot get hold of him. I think he has dementia, he often forgets he has eaten, I have tried not feeding him for a day but I had to give in because I felt so guilty. My partner literally gets on all fours to talk to him through the open door to try an get him to come in. I just don’t know what to do??

Hi Joan. We can appreciate how worried you must be about Oli, and how stressful this must be for you. He could be suffering from a condition such as dementia, which would be exacerbated by the move to unfamiliar surroundings. We’d recommend giving your vet a call and chatting it through with them, as they may be able to make some personal recommendations, knowing Oli’s history, or may recommend a home visit to come and see him if possible, as there could be medication that could help the condition. There are supplements that you can also give to help with conditions such as this, many are sprinkle capsules that you can put on his food (such as Aktivait), and this may help to slow down the progression, but again, your vet will be best placed to advise on what to try based on his history. To try to get him back into the house in the short term, it may be worth leaving a door open (although difficult at this time of year when it’s colder) so that he feels he can come in at his own free will, and leaving food near the door and gradually move it into the house if food is a big motivator for him – something particularly tasty and smelly would be ideal. By gradually moving it further into the house, you may be able to keep him shut in, and then gradually start again with helping him to become familiar with his new surroundings. You could also try putting his cat basket into the kennel, filled with nice warm blankets, and then you may be lucky enough, if you’re quiet, to catch him when he’s sleeping in there and you can quietly close the door to the basket and bring him in. Again, once you get him back in the house, we’d recommend keeping him in until he’s more familiar with his new home. There are lots of things you can try, such as pheromone plug-ins, that can help to reduce this initial stress. We hope some of this helps, but do give your vet practice a call as they will be more than happy to offer some further advice.

My 13year old cat is definitely going senile. He recently was diagnosed with early stages of kidney failure. He is on a high quality prescription diet and is eating fine. He has been seeking out very strange spots to sleep and hide. First the bathroom which he’s always been terrified of, and now he spends most of his time in the basement which up to a week ago he has never gone down there before. He seems very confused all the time. Has completely shut us out and doesn’t want any attention which is totally normal for him. He is vocalizing more but his meows sound raspy and forced. He seems to be in no pain just confused. He’s become a grumpy old troll who lives under my staircase. What can I do to help him out? Make him happier? He has no interest in anything I have tried and I don’t I can see his quality of life declining. It’s only been about a month since he started losing it so it’s progressing very fast. Any advice is appreciated.

I’m really sorry to hear about your cat, it’s always sad when they decline so fast. I agree that it looks like he is suffering from a senility disorder, but there are other possibilities (such as a “minor” stroke, which is very common in cats with kidney problems). With kidney failure going on as well, it’s also possible that rising levels of toxins in his blood are causing his confusion. I think the best thing to do would be to have him checked out by your vet. If it is senility, there are things you can do that can sometimes help, but you do need to confirm that the change in behaviour hasn’t been caused by another medical problem. Although I (and, I think, you) suspect that he’s coming to the end of the road, it’s really worth looking to see if there’s anything going on that could be treated or managed. All, the best, David Harris BVSc MRCVS

I have a 15year old Persian who has a cloudy eye but is showing all the signs of the dementia you have described. She is ok when you are fussing and holding her, however when she is left not alone in the house but just not fussed she cries horrendously and wants to be all over the house. The vet has informed us there may be a tumour in her eye and needs it removing. I am not keen on this because of the trauma of this and I do not feel this is the cause of this behaviour as I don’t think this will change the way she is acting and she is quite frail. The only medication she is on is metacam for the pain the vet thinks may be caused by the eye. Even when we give her that I am not sure she is in pain as it doesn’t change her behaviour and the eye doesn’t seem to bother her anyway. Is it possible we could have the eye removed and her behaviour remains the same anyway?

Hi Nigel. We can appreciate your concerns over your Persian they’re part of the family after all so it’s important to do what’s best for them. We’d recommend popping back to your vet or giving them a call to chat through the situation further, as they’ll know everything about your cat’s history and so will be better placed to advise on the most appropriate treatment for her. Discuss your concerns with them, and see what other options are available, including other forms of medication and the possibility of whether she could be suffering with dementia, as there are treatments that could be trialled, including dietary management, that could improve her symptoms.

Hi all. I have a nearly 17 year old red somali kitty named Sally who has been diagnosed with dementia and failing kidneys by our vet. She is pretty much deaf and blind as well. I noticed in the last year or so that she was terribly anxious, frightened of my younger bigger pets, and howled almost constantly, day and night, unless she was cuddled up next to me on the sofa. I can’t stay on the sofa all day so she was upset a lot of the time. My Mom came to visit and thank God for her because she suggested I give Sally her own room with her own bowls, litter, bed, etc. Sally has lived upstairs for the past 5 months or so–with me going up daily to tend to her. She eats a ton, drinks lots of water and actually sleeps! She comes downstairs sometimes for a visit but it’s brief bc she is cranky with the other pets and she gets very nervous. I still worry about her quality of life. She can’t get up to look out the window like she loved to do. She can’t sleep in my bed. Her blood tests are ok, except for slowly declining kidneys. I’m not sure if I’m prolonging her life needlessly because I don’t know if she is suffering. I do know that she no longer has the life she used to. Is it selfish to keep her alive so I don’t have to make a hard decision? Is it selfish to put her to sleep because it makes me sad to see her declining and I feel awful that she’s not really part of the everyday household anymore? I don’t know what to do.

Hi Lynne, it sounds as if you’re taking wonderful care of her though we know it’s hard to know what to do for the best. Stay in touch with your vet who can advise as to whether she’s likely to be in pain or distressed and can also help you make ‘the decision’ when it comes to it. She won’t be able to enjoy the same quality of life as she once did but that is a fact of aging. Rest assured that you’re doing your best for her and whenever you decide that she is suffering and it’s ‘time’, that you have made the decision in her best interests and because you care. Best wishes to you and her.

I have had my two (brother & sister) since they were born almost 18 years ago. Took one to the vet today since the past week he was urinating just outside the litter box. He had a UTI and is put in antibiotic pills ($11) to help. According to the vet, we should see a noticeable change for the better in a couple of days. He also has very bad arthritis in his hips. This week I also noticed him looking sort of like he isn’t fully aware. Vet said he has cataracts and minor loss of vision, but doesn’t recommend anything for it. So sad seeing my babies grow old. Thankful for every moment I have with them.

I have had my two (brother & sister) since they were born almost 18 years ago. Took one to the vet today since the past week he was urinating just outside the litter box. He had a UTI and is put in antibiotic pills ($11) to help. According to the vet, we should see a noticeable change for the better in a couple of days. He also has very bad arthritis in his hips. This week I also noticed him looking sort of like he isn’t fully aware. Vet said he has cataracts and minor loss of vision, but doesn’t recommend anything for it. So sad seeing my babies grow old. Thankful for every moment I have with them.

My Cat Spencer is 17 & for the last few months has been getting me up at night wanting feeding when there is food already there. He started just sitting in random places staring at nothing, now hes weeing around the house not using the litter tray etc. Yesterday he started walking round in circles and does not want to go out. Im really worried about him I hate to see him like this.

Hi Andrea, we can see why you’d be worried. We think a check up at the vets ASAP is in order as there’s often much that can be done to help. Especially where inappropriate urination is concerned. It could be indicative of a number of causes some of which require prompt treatment. It’s tough to watch our pets go through these changes which is why support from your vet can be so beneficial. Best wishes

My Cat Spencer is 17 & for the last few months has been getting me up at night wanting feeding when there is food already there. He started just sitting in random places staring at nothing, now hes weeing around the house not using the litter tray etc. Yesterday he started walking round in circles and does not want to go out. Im really worried about him I hate to see him like this.

Hi Andrea, we can see why you’d be worried. We think a check up at the vets ASAP is in order as there’s often much that can be done to help. Especially where inappropriate urination is concerned. It could be indicative of a number of causes some of which require prompt treatment. It’s tough to watch our pets go through these changes which is why support from your vet can be so beneficial. Best wishes

It has been a pretty rough few months. I got two cats from the animal shelters around 7 years of age. And I have had them for about 8 or so years. Had to put down Buster a month ago because he had been losing weight for the past couple months and had lymphoma and tumors in his stomach.When he no longer felt the need to eat and there were visual issues in the rectum area, I knew it was time to let him go. My other cat Missy, I think, has bouts of dementia. As of today, she had some sort of a seizure/stroke while I was holding her. Her limbs stiffened, she was frothing at the mouth and panting like a dog. I didn’t know what to do but talk softly into her ears. I think she has the same issues the other cat owners have. I have to make noise at the food dishes for her to come and eat …I practically have to hold the food to her nose. I think she also has a bout with impaired vision. I noticed that after this little mini stroke or seizure(?) that she now almost wants to walk in a circle. It’s very tough to see cats of this age go through this. But I will keep an eye on her, keep her calm and hope for the best.

Hi Tony, we can see why this is distressing for you. Your cat would really benefit from seeing a vet ASAP. There are a number of things that could be going on here and we recommend that you have her examined to prevent any unnecessary discomfort or suffering. Best wishes

It has been a pretty rough few months. I got two cats from the animal shelters around 7 years of age. And I have had them for about 8 or so years. Had to put down Buster a month ago because he had been losing weight for the past couple months and had lymphoma and tumors in his stomach.When he no longer felt the need to eat and there were visual issues in the rectum area, I knew it was time to let him go. My other cat Missy, I think, has bouts of dementia. As of today, she had some sort of a seizure/stroke while I was holding her. Her limbs stiffened, she was frothing at the mouth and panting like a dog. I didn’t know what to do but talk softly into her ears. I think she has the same issues the other cat owners have. I have to make noise at the food dishes for her to come and eat …I practically have to hold the food to her nose. I think she also has a bout with impaired vision. I noticed that after this little mini stroke or seizure(?) that she now almost wants to walk in a circle. It’s very tough to see cats of this age go through this. But I will keep an eye on her, keep her calm and hope for the best.

Hi Tony, we can see why this is distressing for you. Your cat would really benefit from seeing a vet ASAP. There are a number of things that could be going on here and we recommend that you have her examined to prevent any unnecessary discomfort or suffering. Best wishes

It has been a pretty rough few months. I got two cats from the animal shelters around 7 years of age. And I have had them for about 8 or so years. Had to put down Buster a month ago because he had been losing weight for the past couple months and had lymphoma and tumors in his stomach.When he no longer felt the need to eat, I knew it was time to let him go. My other cat Missy, I think, has bouts of dementia. As of today, she had some sort of a seizure while I was holding her and was frothing at the mouth and panting like a dog. I didn’t know what to do but talk softly into her ears. I think she has the same issues the other cat owners have. I have to make noise at the food dishes for her to come and eat …I practically have to hold the food to her nose. I think she also has a bout with impaired vision. I noticed that after this little mini stroke or seizure(?) that she now almost wants to walk in a circle. It’s very tough to see cats of this age go through this. But I will keep an eye on her, keep her calm and hope for the best.

It has been a pretty rough few months. I got two cats from the animal shelters around 7 years of age. And I have had them for about 8 or so years. Had to put down Buster a month ago because he had been losing weight for the past couple months and had lymphoma and tumors in his stomach.When he no longer felt the need to eat, I knew it was time to let him go. My other cat Missy, I think, has bouts of dementia. As of today, she had some sort of a seizure while I was holding her and was frothing at the mouth and panting like a dog. I didn’t know what to do but talk softly into her ears. I think she has the same issues the other cat owners have. I have to make noise at the food dishes for her to come and eat …I practically have to hold the food to her nose. I think she also has a bout with impaired vision. I noticed that after this little mini stroke or seizure(?) that she now almost wants to walk in a circle. It’s very tough to see cats of this age go through this. But I will keep an eye on her, keep her calm and hope for the best.

Wellybobs is 17. I’ve loved him since the day I saw him being born. He drives me mad with this new cry at all hours, especially in the small hours. I worry that the neighbours might think that I’m hurting him! His latest thing is crying till I see his latest kill…a piece of cat meat that he has taken from the dish and placed at his feet for me to see. He has lost the sight in one eye and is partially sighted in the other due to cataracts. It breaks my heart to see him wander into a room and stop not knowing why he is there (I know that feeling). I know the day we say goodbye is close but I’m not ready yet….and I don’t think he is.

Wellybobs is 17. I’ve loved him since the day I saw him being born. He drives me mad with this new cry at all hours, especially in the small hours. I worry that the neighbours might think that I’m hurting him! His latest thing is crying till I see his latest kill…a piece of cat meat that he has taken from the dish and placed at his feet for me to see. He has lost the sight in one eye and is partially sighted in the other due to cataracts. It breaks my heart to see him wander into a room and stop not knowing why he is there (I know that feeling). I know the day we say goodbye is close but I’m not ready yet….and I don’t think he is.

My cat is now 20 and has deteriorated over the past year, he has forgotten where to toilet, cries constantly for attention and I have to put his food under his nose or he forgets where it is, I know the time is right for me to do the right thing for him and let him have the peace he deserves but after all these years im finding it really hard to let go hes been with me through some of the hardest times in my life so im being selfish, I am going to have to do it soon for his sake, Elliot you really are my best friend x

My cat is now 20 and has deteriorated over the past year, he has forgotten where to toilet, cries constantly for attention and I have to put his food under his nose or he forgets where it is, I know the time is right for me to do the right thing for him and let him have the peace he deserves but after all these years im finding it really hard to let go hes been with me through some of the hardest times in my life so im being selfish, I am going to have to do it soon for his sake, Elliot you really are my best friend x

I’m sorry for you, both. It is so painful to lose an animal and/or watch it get old. I’ve been through it several times, and it’s always very difficult and painful.

I’m sorry for you, both. It is so painful to lose an animal and/or watch it get old. I’ve been through it several times, and it’s always very difficult and painful.

Cat is showing symptoms of dementia and forgets he has been fed.I feed him a small portion then put another in a smaller bowl. Buy very snack cat food to make it easy on him. Hard to watch him and his dementia

Cat is showing symptoms of dementia and forgets he has been fed.I feed him a small portion then put another in a smaller bowl. Buy very snack cat food to make it easy on him. Hard to watch him and his dementia

Just taken our beloved 19 yr old Molly to the vets – she has had severe dementia for a while now as well as chronic arthritis it was so difficult seeing her go so downhill… she purred through the cage when I stroked her on the way to and waiting for the vet and purred in my arms when they gave her the final injection and she slipped away. We weren’t at all ready to let her go (when are you ever?) but sometimes you have to do what’s best for her…it’s quite now and I find myself looking around for her in her usual places…Molly you will be missed – best cat ever xx

Just taken our beloved 19 yr old Molly to the vets – she has had severe dementia for a while now as well as chronic arthritis it was so difficult seeing her go so downhill… she purred through the cage when I stroked her on the way to and waiting for the vet and purred in my arms when they gave her the final injection and she slipped away. We weren’t at all ready to let her go (when are you ever?) but sometimes you have to do what’s best for her…it’s quite now and I find myself looking around for her in her usual places…Molly you will be missed – best cat ever xx

My sweet polydactyl tuxedo cat, Ming, is about 14 as near as we can figure as she was a shelter rescue. She survived breast cancer two plus years ago, but has been diagnosed with dementia this past year. Her howling progressed from afternoon yodeling upstairs in the hall to frequent and prolonged sessions at any time of the day (including the entire time I’m writing this message). So far she does not perform overnight, which is a relief. She has recently started the staring and often times goes after our other cat if he passes by her or comes up from behind her without her knowing he’s there. He is bewildered and has not yet really retaliated, thank goodness, because he is twice her size.

She is and has always been a ninja, running and jumping with lots of energy. That has cost her two teeth which she broke skidding into a wooden step and recently her mobility for a few days when she dislocated her patella quite painfully out of its groove!

She would eat around the clock if we fed her every time she sat at the dish, we never contemplated that she could “forget” that she’s eaten. We’re very thankful that, so far, she uses the 3 boxes we have around the house because she has diabetes insipidous which results in her drinking, drinking, drinking, and then peeing, peeing, peeing. We’d have a flood if she forgot her potty habits!

I think of her as my feline soulmate, she’s always been attached to me at the hip and she is more so now. (My dear husband is the male cat’s human companion.) I never get to go back to sleep after her breakfast because she comes in for cuddles and has recently begun demanding belly rubs which go on as long as I care to continue – and I plan to give them as long as I am able! We will put up with the screaming and odd behavior for as long as we feel she is living a good life, hopefully for quite a long time.

My sweet polydactyl tuxedo cat, Ming, is about 14 as near as we can figure as she was a shelter rescue. She survived breast cancer two plus years ago, but has been diagnosed with dementia this past year. Her howling progressed from afternoon yodeling upstairs in the hall to frequent and prolonged sessions at any time of the day (including the entire time I’m writing this message). So far she does not perform overnight, which is a relief. She has recently started the staring and often times goes after our other cat if he passes by her or comes up from behind her without her knowing he’s there. He is bewildered and has not yet really retaliated, thank goodness, because he is twice her size.

She is and has always been a ninja, running and jumping with lots of energy. That has cost her two teeth which she broke skidding into a wooden step and recently her mobility for a few days when she dislocated her patella quite painfully out of its groove!

She would eat around the clock if we fed her every time she sat at the dish, we never contemplated that she could “forget” that she’s eaten. We’re very thankful that, so far, she uses the 3 boxes we have around the house because she has diabetes insipidous which results in her drinking, drinking, drinking, and then peeing, peeing, peeing. We’d have a flood if she forgot her potty habits!

I think of her as my feline soulmate, she’s always been attached to me at the hip and she is more so now. (My dear husband is the male cat’s human companion.) I never get to go back to sleep after her breakfast because she comes in for cuddles and has recently begun demanding belly rubs which go on as long as I care to continue – and I plan to give them as long as I am able! We will put up with the screaming and odd behavior for as long as we feel she is living a good life, hopefully for quite a long time.


Feral cat

A feral cat or a stray cat is an un-owned domestic cat (Felis catus) that lives outdoors and avoids human contact: it does not allow itself to be handled or touched, and usually remains hidden from humans. [1] [2] Feral cats may breed over dozens of generations and become an aggressive local apex predator in urban, savannah and bushland environments. Some feral cats may become more comfortable with people who regularly feed them, but even with long-term attempts at socialization, they usually remain aloof and are most active after dusk.

Feral cats are devastating to wildlife, and conservation biologists consider them to be one of the worst invasive species on Earth. [3] Attempts to control feral cat populations are widespread but generally of greatest impact within purpose-fenced reserves.

Some animal-rights groups advocate trap-neuter-return programs to prevent the feral cats from continuing to breed, as well as feeding the cats, socializing and adopting out young kittens, and providing healthcare. Others advocate euthanasia. Feral cats may live outdoors in colonies: these are regarded as managed colonies by animal rights advocates when they are provided with regular food and care by humans.


Science of roaming cats

The image of the housecat out on the prowl has probably been with us since humans first domesticated cats. Let’s face it, no matter how much our housecats love us and rely on the care we provide, some still prefer to spend at least some time outdoors while others are content to observe the world from the comfort of a window seat.

Here we’ll take a look at the roaming behavior of domestic cats and offer some tips on keeping your wandering feline safe.

Wanderers vs. Happy Homebodies

Why do some cats roam, while others seem content to stay where life is cozy? It seems to depend on their drives and instincts. Cats are natural hunters, and even the most pampered housecat has the genetic imprint of a lion lurking within. A well-fed domestic cat will sometimes bring home a mouse or a bird it has caught, simply because cats are predators by nature.

Another factor is where and how a cat was raised. Cats that grew up feral or as outdoor cats may be more “street savvy” and actually enjoy exploring their domain. This is not without reason: By prowling its territory, a cat can gain valuable sensory information about new food sources, other cats in the area (such as competing toms), and potential threats or changes in the immediate environment.

When Cats Roam, How Far Do They Go?

The roaming territory of the average domestic cat can vary, with males tending to seek a larger territory than females. Male wanderers tend to stay within a territory of about 150 acres, while females stay closer to home, roaming only about 40 acres. This means that your average male cat is likely to stay within 1500 feet of home, while your average female tends not to go much farther than 75 yards from your door. Neutered cats, deprived of t heir mating instinct, are likely to stay within these limits, while unneutered animals (especially males) may travel farther in search of a mate.

How Do Cats Find Their Way Home?

Cats have long been known to possess an uncanny homing ability. You’ve likely re t last one news story about a can traveling hundreds of miles to return home after being lost, or to return to a house where it was raised. While not much is known about the mechanisms of the feline homing instinct, scientists have postulated that cats may actually bee able to navigate using the earth’s magnetic field as a sort of “divining rod.” Others have suggested that a cat’s memory of its local territory, combined with its keen senses, can help it create a mental map of a familiar area.

How Can You Keep Your Wayward Feline Safe?

If you have a cat that likes to roam, there are several things you can do to help keep it safe:

  • Be sure your cat is spayed or neutered. Mating drive is a powerful trigger for roaming behavior and can cause a cat to venture outside its familiar territory. Spaying and neutering also helps prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduces the likelihood of fight with other unneutered cats.
  • Microchip your cat so that it can be tracked if it becomes lost and is found by a Good Samaritan. If your cat isn’t microchipped, be sure it has a breakaway collar with a tag containing your contact info and your vet’s pone number. This can be a lifesaver if your pet is injured.
  • Be sure your cat is current on all its vaccinations. That way, when it does wander, it is at decreased risk for acquiring any diseases during its travels.
  • Encourage your cat to hunt by providing it with a few enticements to keep it entertained around the house. A carpet cat tree and some interactive cat toys may tempt a cat that’s simply bored to stay home more.

Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.


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(UPI) A Tennessee woman said her pet tortoise escaped from her home and was on the loose for 74 days before being located about an eighth of a mile from her home.

Lynn Cole said her 150-pound Sulcata tortoise, Solomon, escaped from her home via unknown means June 8 and the 15-year-old reptile was nowhere to be found.

"If you knew the number of searches that were launched by ourselves, and other community groups and individuals," Cole told CNN. He just eluded our ability to spot him.

Cole posted in missing pets Facebook groups and contacted local zoos in the hopes of locating Solomon. She said his species, also known as the African spurred tortoise, are used to the hot North African climate and she was concerned her pet's health would be endangered when local temperatures cool.

She said Solomon had been on the loose for about 74 days when she received word that an animal matching his description was spotted at a construction site near her home.

Cole said she and her husband rushed to the location, about an eighth of a mile from her house, and found Solomon caked in mud but otherwise seemingly healthy. She said he apparently found plenty of grass, dandelions and other plants to graze on during his time on the loose.

The pet owner said she is looking into options to have Solomon fitted with a GPS device so he can more easily be located if he wanders off on another adventure.

Copyright 2020 by United Press International


Watch the video: Ultimate Cat Lady: Woman Shares Her Home With 1,100 Felines (September 2021).