Cat Health Questions? Ask a Cat Vet for Answers ASAP.
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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)?
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?
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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
I hope that helps!
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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.