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Alzheimer's-like Disease in Cats

It seems that as cats get older they may suffer from neurological problems similar to those seen in older people. A study at the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with others has found that older cats showing signs of senility have similar changes in their brains to those found in humans with Alzheimer's disease.

Cats are living longer and longer thanks to the care provided by their owners and the modern veterinary techniques available to help them in their later years. This is good news, but it does mean that as cats get older we may see more age-related problems developing which we need to be aware of.

Unfortunately cats (and dogs) do occasionally become senile as they age. Signs of senility are usually first noticed by the owner because the pet's behaviour changes considerably. Changes can include the pet seeming to be "confused" in familiar surroundings, excessive vocalisation, seeking the attention and closeness of their owner and problems with house-soiling in a previously house-trained pet.

It is unfortunately often the problem of house-soiling which causes the most distress to owners and some people find that they are simply unable to cope. Medication may be given to try to improve cognitive function in affected animals (although currently these drugs are licensed only for dogs). Such medication often does help and it is often a good idea to try it before the painful decision of euthanasia is made in cases where the problem is severe enough to warrant it. Now that a similar problem has been found in cats maybe new drugs will become available to treat this condition in our feline friends.

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All Rights Reserved | Content is provided for information only. All content on is protected by copyright and therefore may not be copied without specific written permission from the author. Disclaimer: The content of this website is based upon the opinions of Samantha Coe, unless otherwise stated. Individual articles, extracts, and any links to external sites are based upon the opinions of the respective author(s), who may retain copyright. The information on this website is not intended to replace a consultation with a qualified veterinary professional and is not intended as medical advice. The purpose of this site is the sharing of knowledge and information - Samantha Coe encourages you to make informed healthcare decisions for animals in your care based upon your research and in consultation with your vet.