I adopted Emma in October 2007. She hadn’t had the best start to life and we had a few teething problems. For example, we couldn’t have roast meat in the house, as she hide under the bed all day in fear. Slowly she grew to trust us. She was always a very independent cat, who would come to us if she wanted attention, always be pleased to see us when we came home, would keep us company by sitting on the arm of the chair (never on our laps!). Fast forward to the end of 2013/ beginning of 2014 I started to notice a change in her. She was much more needy than she used to be, allowing us to pick her up without protesting, even sitting on our laps. She would sit and stare at walls and sit meowing for no particular reason. By June she started to yowl when she was asleep (it sounded as though she was having a fight with another cat) and I noticed she started to skip meals. I took her to the vets, and after a thorough check up, much to my surprise he said she had dementia! The thought of her having this condition never entered my head, I thought it was just her past rearing its head again! I looked up the symptoms and lo and behold they described Emma.
All the information I read on-line has been quite negative, which is why I decided to start this blog. The way I look at it, she is now entering in a new chapter of her life. Yes, it’s sad that she no longer greets me at the door, that there are days when she clearly has no idea who I am, that she’s forgotten her own name; but with adaptations to your life you can assist your cat to live as normal a life as possible and ensure it’s a good quality of life.
The most important thing is to keep your cat safe. As early as possible try to cat proof your garden. This sounds expensive, but doesn’t need to be if you have a 5 or 6 foot fence. It cost us less than £50 to install the cat proofing (ok it cost a lot more to replace the fencing!). If cat proofing isn’t possible you can get cat pens on-line so they can still go out. If your going to do either of these options then do it early on so your cat can adapt while she is still aware. If not they will need to become a house cat as I have found she quickly lost her road skills. I’ve read your cat will start to have toilet accidents in the house. We’ve haven’t found this yet possibly as she still goes out.
If your cat can’t find her bowl, try putting it on a contrasting colour mat. For example, our floor is black, so we put her bowl on a white mat.
Don’t move thing’s around unless you can help it. Especially important, do not move litter trays or food bowls. Consider getting additional litter trays also, so they can always find it, and try putting them on newspaper in case they miss the tray!
You will find as the dementia get’s worse they will either beg for food constantly or completely forget to eat. We are at that stage at the moment, so we give her more at breakfast as it’s tea she tends to forget.
Consider letting your cat sleep with you at night-time. This way you can reassure her quickly when she does get distressed. Do not pick her up, give her a stroke and let her smell you. We did try leaving a night-light on for her but this only worked for a short time.
If you find your cat staring at walls, walking round in circles, or getting stuck in corners, again, do not pick her up. Get down to her level, stroke her and talk to her gently. Once they acknowledge you, you can then pick them up if you wish.
Be aware your cats brain might not react in the way it used to. For example, Emma didn’t react at all to the smell of roast Turkey this Christmas. You can also walk into the house and up to her when she is asleep without waking her! Likewise, we found she often doesn’t respond to Cat nip.
Talking of cat nip I’ve read a lot on-line about ensuring you play with your cat to stimulate her brain. However, we’ve found that objects such as mice on string just frightened her. She will occasionally play with a laser pen or a ball. But these are on her bright days and I’m not sure how much longer this will be successful for as we are having more bad days than good days now a days.
If you cat appears to become more clumsy, then put their cat tree’s on softer flooring.
Please leave any comments of anything you have tried to help your cat live with Dementia and i will add your tips. Thank you