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Dr.Fiona
Dr.Fiona, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  Small animal medicine and surgery - 16 years experience in BC, California and Ontario
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My cat suddenly started talking, a lot. I have had four cats

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My cat suddenly started talking, a lot. I have had four cats in total, and they all spoke a lot, but this particular cat have hardly ever spoken, except for a low, rusty "meow" when she wants food. We have spoken to our local Vet about the meowing, but it is apparently just race specific.

But if this is the case, it seems very odd that she suddenly started talking so much! She have started meowing whenever we show up in sight, when we try to get her attention through sounds, and when we start to pet her. We have our doubts what could be the cause, but I read somewhere that it could be due to a sickness. Is there any way to check for the myself, or should I take her to my local Vet?

I might also want to add, that since we have vacation right now, we have been giving her ALOT more attention. All our previous cats were very social and talkative, so could it be possible that she have simply been "learned" to talk all of a sudden? She is 12 years old, but I suppose that could still be the reason?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide :)
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 4 years ago.

Hi there,

Welcome to Just Answer!





I would like to help you and your 12 yr old cat with this question, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

When did this start?

In the last 6 months or so:

- has she lost any weight?

- has her appetite been good or a bit picky?

- any problems with vomiting or diarrhea?

- any sign of hearing problems (does not hear you when you call her, or when you open the food container, etc)?

Fiona

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
We started our vacation 9 days ago, and she started meowing 3 days ago, and she's been at it ever since almost, even at night, which is extremely odd since she normally sleeps all night.

She haven't lost weight though, quite the opposite. She is very picky though, and generelly doesn't like dried food. She only gets "wet" food every second day. She haven't had any problems with diarrhea nor vomiting.

But she have major sight problems. You can throw bits of food she usually like towards her, and all she does is look in it's general direktion, but without looking at it, like she can't see it. Smelling is a problem as well, but her hearing hasn't diminished at all. She can be outside of the house, and when he shake the food container inside, with the door closed, she is suddenly standing by the door, looking through the glass at us.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 4 years ago.
LOL about her hearing the food container shaking even when outside with the door closed!

Is the sight issue new?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Kind of... it started only a month or two ago, but we figured it might have something to do with her being old. we have been told she would most like reach an age of somewhere between 15-20, so being 12, she isn't excatly young. It might also have something to do with the fact that she "leaks" from the eye every now and then. A red-ish liquid sometimes leaks from her left eye, but she doesn't really seem bothered by it, and our local Vet said it was probably nothing.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 4 years ago.

Hmmm...



Could you please do a check for me? I would like you to sit nose to nose with your cat, in a dimly lit room (not outside in bright sunshine).



With a bright flashlight held 1 to 2 inches away from the eye, I would like you to shine light into first one eye and then the other. Please look carefully at the pupil (the black part at the centre of the eye).


Does the pupil get smaller when you shine a bright light into it?


Does it happen for both eyes?


Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Both pupils became smaller almost instantly.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 4 years ago.
Oh, that is good! That tells me that light is hitting the retina at the back of the eye normally.

Does this cat seem at all irritable with the other cats or with you?

Any loss of coordination (not quite making it when she jumps onto things, or stumbling)?

Any accidents outside the litter box?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The litter box is a problem in itself because it is, sadly, too small at the moment. It is basicly the same size as her, but is only a spare for now.

Her coordination is ... fine, to say the least. She can jump to a 2 inches wide ledge, that lies almost 7 foot above the ground, and land on it perfectly without a problem.

She doesn't seem irritable. Eh, she is right now after having shone light into her eyes, but usually she is very social, likes getting petted, and purrs like a truck engine when you do.

Maybe she is just getting old? The oldest cat we have had so far was 8, they have all been put to sleep due to an illness of some kind. This is the first time we've had a cat get this old.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 4 years ago.
There are a few things I would be wondering about... let me go finish writing up your answer and I will be back in a few minutes!

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 4 years ago.

So, based on what you are telling me, there are a few things that I would be wondering about.



The first is whether your old girl might have decreased vision due to age related vision loss. Certainly, we see night vision being affected long before day vision with with lenticular sclerosis (an age related change of the lens).





Here is more about this condition:



http://www.petplace.com/cats/lenticular-sclerosis-in-cats/page1.aspx



So, perhaps your cat is unable to see well and gets confused because of this. Your vet should be able to examine her eyes to see if there has been any change in their condition that would account for this odd behaviour.

 

 

Another thing I was wondering about is whether you are seeing *early* signs of hyperthyroidism with your cat.

 

 

Hyperthyroidism is a fairly common disorder of older cats in which the thyroid gland in the neck starts to over-produce a hormone called T4. T4 controls metabolic rate. So, the more you have of it, the faster the metabolism.



Cats that are hyperthyroid tend to eat well, but eventually start to lose weight because they burn the calories up so fast. Their heart rates increase, and the transit time through the intestines increases. So, they may develop diarrhea and vomiting, but not always.



A classic symptom is increased meowing, especially at night!



Hyperthyroidism can be diagnosed by physical exam and blood and urine analysis. On a physical exam, I check for enlarged thyroid glands, and a rapid heart rate, and sometimes heart murmurs. Blood and urine tests allow a vet to confirm the diagnosis.




Hyperthyroidism responds really well to treatment.


There are 3 treatment options: medications, surgery or radioactive iodine treatment.


Here is more about hyperthyroidism:



http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=1&cat=1340&articleid=218

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=0&cat=1303&articleid=1439

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=516



 

The next thing that I am considering is whether your senior cat might be starting with the very early stages of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS).


CDS is an age-related mental decline that happens in older pets and that isn't caused by a specific medical condition such as a tumour, organ failure, or hearing or vision loss. We diagnose it far more often in dogs than in cats, but certainly cats are also affected.



Cats with CDS typically exhibit some of the following behavioural changes that interfere with their normal enjoyment of life:



Loss of control of bladder/bowels or both

Increased vocalization, particularly at night

Nightime pacing and restlessness

Increased sleeping during the day

Irritability and even aggression that is not normal for that cat

Loss of coordination





Now, not every cat will show every symptom, but with your old girl this is certainly a possibility! CDS is a diagnosis of exclusion - which means when we rule out a lot of other things, then we are left with CDS.


Now, it is possible that what you saw was due to early hyperthyroid problems, or to other internal problems... but with that I would expect other symptoms such as weight loss and appetite change.


In cats, there are not as many treatment options for CDS as there are for dogs, as it is not so commonly diagnosed. However, there are a few things you could certainly try.


:

1. There is a medication called Anipryl that is quite effective at treating CDS IN DOGS.


Unfortunately, it is not tested or approved in cats. However, some vets have used it in cats, and have reported good results. It would be something to talk to your vet about, though I would not jump to using it before trying a few other options.


Here is more about it:

http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/selegiline-hcl-anipryl/page1.aspx

2. A source of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids may be helpful in cats with CDS.


I would suggest that you consider a dietary source of essential fatty acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids) daily added to the food, if your cat is not already on one.


Your vet would be able to provide these for you - some brands are DermCaps and EFA-Z.

Here is more about them:
http://www.vetamerica.com/index.asp?PageAction=PRODSEARCH&txtSearch=Efa+Z+Plus+Liquid
http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/derm-caps/page1.aspx


3. Anti-oxidants can also be helpful as a dietary supplement.


VetriScience is a very reputable company and their CellAdvance product is recommended for this problem.

More here:


http://www.vetriscience.com/cell-advance.php



4. I would strongly recommend a Feliway Diffuser system.


This is a plug-in device that sprays a cat pheromone into the air, and you could put it in your bedroom to help. The dog version (DAP infuser) is very helpful for dogs with cognitive dysfunction.


Here are links to more information:

http://www.catfaeries.com/feliway.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_pheromone

http://vetmedicine.about.com/od/behaviortraining/a/092804b.htm







So, overally, I would have to wonder if this talking behaviour might be very early CDS in your senior cat.


I do think it's a good idea to have her thyroid levels and blood pressure checked by your vet, if this has not already been done. If these have been checked, then talk to your vet about whether her physical exam and blood work supports a diagnosis of cognitive dysfunction syndrome.




And, here is more information about CDS in cats:

http://www.manhattancats.com/Articles/CDS.html

http://www.fabcats.org/owners/elderly/senility.html

http://www.petplace.com/cats/cognitive-dysfunction/page1.aspx



I hope that helps!


If you feel this has answered your question, please hit the green Accept button and leave feedback.


If you need more information, just click on reply and I will try to provide it!


The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.

Fiona

Dr.Fiona, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience: Small animal medicine and surgery - 16 years experience in BC, California and Ontario
Dr.Fiona and 2 other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you

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