I've just taken my 15 year old puss to the vets and been told she is probably going senile (although she's always been pretty daft tbh!). The visit was prompted by blood coming from her bottom - just the once thankfully. She has a history of digestive problems and the vet detected nothing serious so proposes just to monitor that (although she did squeeze the cats anal glands out!). I also mentioned some strange behaviour from my cat. In recent months she has taken to howling at doors and empty rooms and on occasions charging away from them at high speed, clearly terrified. Apparently, this could be the onset of dementia. I just wondered if anyone had any experience of this? I'm wondering what to expect for my poor moggy.
Yes I have had a cat do much the same thing and assumed it was senility (I've no idea how old she was, but she was definitely ancient). That odd behaviour went on for a couple of years but then seemed to stop when she went blind. She then behaved more or less normally for a blind cat for a couple of years until she became incontinent a few weeks ago and I had to have her put down. I'm guessing that story is going to be no comfort to you at all. But yes, it does sound like dementia. Just try to reassure her, be extra loving and don't let her outside unsupervised.
Thanks for replying. To be honest, what you say is quite reassuring. She's 15 and I know she can't last forever. I love her deeply but if she can have another couple of years or more of good quality life, then I can accept that. She certainly doesn't lack for love and cuddles! I hadn't thought about not letting her out unsupervised. She doesn't go out much (prefers the comforts of sleeping inside!), but you are right we need to think about how we handle that aspect.
Is she showing the other possible signs, blimppy? (eg incompetent use of litter tray, lack of attention to grooming, decreased appetite etc?)
My old boy had a bad blip before Xmas - he started being frightened by daft things (such as bookmarks!). I thought he was getting dementia but I think now it was a small stroke or something. What I did was try to keep a fairly rigid living structure (activities, time of meals and so on ) and that seems to have helped a lot. He doesn't like new things now but is very content with old and trusted ways of doing things and has generally recovered.
I also found that background noise helped a lot. In my boy's case, this meant telly because that was what he was used to as a kit with my Mum. (I now have square eyes and have watched nearly every boxed set DVD I have because I have no external service in the bedroom which is his sleeping/safe place.) Maybe you could try music if TV is not your bag and she gets antsy ?
The going out thing is only a problem if, like mine, she becomes so confused she can't find her way home. I used to get calls from neighbours saying she'd been sitting in the middle of their garden for hours, crying, and I would then go and collec her. So obviously then I had to stop her going out unless I was there.
Cozietoesie - glad to hear your cat is doing okay. The howling is really the only strange behaviour we are seeing, so I guess we have to wait and see if and how things develop. Thankfully she still seems to know what the litter tray is for! She has become more affectionate and needy in the past couple of years, which we put down simply to getting older. I like the idea about background noise. We might give that a try.
She doesn't seem to be getting lost outside, although tbh she barely goes more than a few yards from the door and never seems to leave the garden now. We'll just keep an eye out in case she deteriorates.