COLUMN: Let’s not forget that cats can get dementia too

Julia Mewes, of the Mewes Vets in Haywards Heath
Julia Mewes, of the Mewes Vets in Haywards Heath

Julia Mewes, of The Mewes Vets in Haywards Heath, talks about life as a vet.

Cleo was driving her owners mad with the volume of her mewing – especially at night.

They just could not seem to make her happy, or figure out what she wanted. Nothing helped her to settle down: not food, fresh water, a cuddle or a trip outside.

I noticed that they were looking quite frazzled, and realised that they were obviously losing sleep over it. Something had to be done.

Cleo is a shy, petite tortoiseshell former rescue cat, so we don’t know her exact age, but think that she is in her teens. As usual I started with an extremely thorough check over with my eyes, ears and hands, looking for possible issues that were upsetting her. Nothing cropped up, so I recommended a urine sample and blood test, which was an easy option for Cleo’s owners thanks to her being a member of our Life Begins @ 7 Club package. She had signs of mild kidney problems – at an early stage – but was otherwise in good shape.

I thought that it was likely that Cleo was experiencing some problems with cognitive dysfunction or dementia. We moved her onto a food rich in antioxidants, vitamins B and E, beta-carotene and essential fatty acids that would both support the long-term health of her kidneys, and also reduce further free radical damage to the brain. Denise, one of our amazing RVNs (registered veterinary nurses), spent time with Cleo’s owners talking about her routines and helping her with environmental enrichment and games, and I prescribed some tablets to help her brain function.

With all this support Cleo collected her scattered wits and showed some improvement. She still cries, but not as much, and the whole family sleep much better at night now. Feline dementia is often forgotten about, but something that can affect our furry friends, so make sure you look out for any odd behaviour from your cat.

To read more about dementia and how it affects our feline friends, visit themewesvets.co.uk/felinedementia

Could your pet be next year’s Miss July or Mr October? Entries are still open to find the best pet portraits for The Mewes Vets’ 2017 calendar in aid of Paws & Claws. Email them with your name to enquiries@themewes.co.uk by October 31 and be in with a chance of winning £100 of pet food.