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Dr.Fiona, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  16 years experience as a companion animal veterinarian in British Columbia, California and Ontario
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cat: bed..He used to always sleep quietly all night

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My cat, who has always slept with us in the bed, started waking us up a lot to stand on our chests and otherwise do things he never did before. He used to always sleep quietly all night and just get up in the morning when the alarm went off. Now, it is getting disturbing. He has plenty of food, water, and is otherwise doing well now, but he acts like he's worried about us leaving in the middle of the night or something else so he keeps "checking" on our vital signs. Do you have any suggestions? We are thinking to put him in another bedroom, but when we've tried this in the past just so he wouldn't be in the bedroom, he would just relentlessly cry and scratch the door...for hours. Thank you.

I also wanted to ask about teeth cleaning for cats. If he has never had teeth-cleaning, should we do it now or is he too old? Our other cat who is outdoors and 11 years old had it done to fix a tooth last year. Thank you!

Hello and Happy New Year,

Feline Cognitive Dysfunction is the Kitty version of Alzheimer's.
We normally begin seeing signs of this condition between the ages of 12 and 14 and studies have shown that 100% of all Cats over the age of 12 have several of the symptoms associated with this disorder.
The most common symptoms seen are loss of house training habits, reduced activity, isolating from or not recognizing family members, waking at night with pacing howling or crying through the night, getting stuck in corners or small places, excessive sleeping and confusion and doing things out of the ordinary like separation anxiety.
The drug Anipryl is helpful in controlling some of these symptoms
Read more here:

Joan, Vet Tech
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 18534
Experience: Vet Tech 35+ years working w/Cats
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Other.
It was good information, but I'd like a second opinion from a vet. I don't want to put my pet on medication. Also, I would like to ask about dental cleaning for the same cat, who is 12.
Hi there,
My colleague, Joan, asked me if I could stop by to try to help you and Pascal.

In order to better assist you, could I please get a bit more information?

1. When did this start (days, weeks, months or years ago)?

2. In the last 6 months or so, has Pascal lost any weight?

3. Is his appetite excellent, ok, or a bit picky?

4. Any changes in his water consumption?

5. Any changes in the amount of urine he is producing? Is the litter box wetter than it was 6 months ago?

6. When did Pascal last see his vet? Has your vet mentioned dental problems?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi, Fiona, Thank you very much.


1. When did this start (days, weeks, months or years ago)? He started doing this a few weeks ago.

2. In the last 6 months or so, has Pascal lost any weight? He has gained weight. He seems to always be hungry now. He is on C/D Diet because he has urinary tract problems. He hasn't had that condition for many years and only had it once, but his vet kept him on that food. Wet and dry.

3. Is his appetite excellent, ok, or a bit picky? He is picky for sure, and a few weeks ago around 12/16, he wouldn't move around for 3 days. The vet online here told me maybe he had an inbedded hairball. He got that furball medicine recommended and was fine within a few days. He was throwing up multiple times per day and staggering around then generally lethargic, not moving from his bed all day. He still ate, drank and went to the bathroom appropriately. I found him though once in the closet hiding then disoriented when he was staggering around.

4. Any changes in his water consumption? Not that I can tell.

5. Any changes in the amount of urine he is producing? Is the litter box wetter than it was 6 months ago? Yes, sometimes I find multiple "pee" clumps per day like 3-4 versus his usual 1-2.

6. When did Pascal last see his vet? Has your vet mentioned dental problems? He saw the vet last fall. My vet did not mention any dental problems only that since he had never received dental cleaning he should probably have it because all cats have bad teeth as they age if they are not wild. Anyhow, it is over $400, so hard to tell vet's motivation.


Thank you very much for your help.

Hi again,
Thanks for your answers - they have been very helpful!

You have described to me a senior cat who has in the last few weeks started to change his habits, most notably his night-time routines. He is waking you up. He has not lost weight and is urinating more frequently than normal.

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

The first is whether your old boy 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 Pascal is unable to see well and gets confused during the night because of this. Your vet should be able to examine his eyes to see if there has been any change in their condition that would account for this odd behaviour.

The next thing that I am considering is exactly what my colleague, Joan, suggested: Pascal 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 from what you are describing 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 are describing is 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:

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:

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 puzzling and distressing behaviour might be very early CDS in your senior cat.

I do think it's a good idea to have Pascal's 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 his physical exam and blood work supports a diagnosis of cognitive dysfunction syndrome.

And, here is more information about CDS in cats:

Now, you also asked about dental issues...

Many cats develop dental problems as they age, from tartar and calculus build-up to gingivitis and gingival recession. They can get pyorrhea (pockets of pus) forming in the decaying tooth.

As you can imagine, all of this is quite painful.

Not only is it painful but also it puts your cat at risk for other medical problems to have infection in his mouth. The patient can absorb toxins and bacteria across the inflamed gums and into the blood stream. Once in the blood stream, they can cause problems in the kidneys and the heart.

So, it is not just for dental health but for the health of the whole cat that I would strongly encourage you to proceed with a dental cleaning!

The cost of dental care is really variable, and can be tough to estimate even with the cat standing right in front of me, but I'll do my best to give you an idea. The values I will give are in Canadian dollars.

Every dental patient would need the following:

- exam (~ $60), anesthetic (~ $200), dental cleaning (~$100)

The factors which are variable are:

- some cats need blood and urine analyses before the procedure (depending on age and pre-existing medical problems) (~$180)

- some cats need intravenous fluids during the procedure (~$100)

- antibiotics during the procedure and to go home may be needed if there are pockets of infection ($50)

- teeth may need to be extracted, depending on how long this takes, and how many teeth it could be a charge anywhere between $20 and $200!

- if many teeth are extracted, pain killers may be needed (~$20-$80, depending if it is just needed in hospital or to go home with as well)

- dental x-rays may be needed ($150)

So, there is a HUGE range in the price of dentals ($360 - $1120) depending on how severe the problems are. Naturally, the sooner you go, the less expensive it is likely to be because the less severe the problems are likely to be.

A veterinarian would be able to give you a more precise estimate after examining Pascal because at that point he or she would be able to let you know whether blood work would be needed, and how likely it is that extractions might be needed.

I will also give you links to more information about dental disease in cats:

I hope that this information is helpful to you!

If this has been helpful, please hit the green "Accept" button.

If you need more information, just click on reply and I will be back tomorrow 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.

Best wishes, Fiona

Dr.Fiona, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience: 16 years experience as a companion animal veterinarian in British Columbia, California and Ontario
Dr.Fiona and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you