Cognitive Dysfunction Cats

We often think of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) as a condition that affects dogs, but cats can also suffer from this condition. In fact, a study in the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association shows that 50% of all cats over 15 years old and 28% of felines age 11-14 exhibit at least one sign of cognitive dysfunction. The symptoms of CDS often mimics those of other diseases that are common in senior cats. Diagnosing CDS often involves ruling out these other diseases.

Some of the common signs and symptoms of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome in cats include disorientation, memory and behavioral changes such as not using their litter box, changes in sleep patterns, loss of energy, and abnormal vocalization.

There is no cure for CDS, but cat owners can ease their pet’s symptoms with these tips:

• If you suspect your cat may be suffering from CDS, have your vet do a thorough physical exam to rule out any other medical conditions. If your cat is diagnosed with CDS, keep your vet in the loop of your pet’s condition. They can prescribe any needed medications and suggest appropriate supplements and changes for your cat’s diet.

• If possible, avoid major changes in your cat’s schedule, routine, or surroundings that may stress them out.

• Make their environment easy to navigate such as providing low-sided litter boxes in accessible spots and using ramps for stairs.

• Stimulate your feline’s brain with interactive play and puzzle toys.


Citation: Moffat K, Landsberg G. An investigation of the prevalence of clinical signs of cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) in cats. Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, 39: 512.

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