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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 10923
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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EditHi,My cat is approximately 13,years old and needs the

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My cat is approximately 13,years old and needs the following care:
6 small half packets a day, 6 x sealed- left if more or not sealed
a smaller enclosed area for locating food, litter and bed
5-10 minutes outise for toilet- disorientated and dizzy if more
Longer rests after climbing leading to later tiredness if not rested
Refuses to eat and loses weight if above not provided
Frequently drinks a whole bowl of water at breakfast- started urinating this all at once, now sometimes retains and sometimes loses
If above not provided, drops food near tray and or other places
Started to mess if smaller space not provided as can not find tray
Is very much loved and has constant cuddles and care.
Recovered with 48 hour home support provided by myself last year after a flea and mite attack and not regained any fleas due to careful care.
Teeth are checked regularly and seem okay. Vet checked 6 months ago and ok.
Seems tired and legless ir diorientated if above care not followed through.
Please can you tell me if this is normal for his age or if there could be some other problem?
Thank you,
Correction: Rehoming would NOT suit his needs -
Hello Jo, I'm Dr. Deb.

I recently came online and see that your question about Basil hasn't been answered. I'm so sorry that you've had to wait for a response, but if you still need assistance, I'd like to help if I can.

This is obviously a very tough situation and a cat who clearly doesn't function well if his routine is changed. Therefore, I absolutely agree with you that rehoming would likely be disasterous for him and that he wouldn't thrive at all with this sort of significant change in his life.

Unfortuantely, the behavior that you're describing is not typically seen in older cats, at least not to the degree that you're seeing and not in my personal or professional experience.

I have several thoughts as to why he might be behaving this way, though:

1. Dementia which is quite similar to Alzheimer's in a human. Some of his other behavior doesn't exactly fit with this condition (such as his being tired and drinking a lot of water) but it's possible for him to have more than one issue at a time.
His need to have his life regimented with no variation may reflect dementia.

If you think this might be playing a role, I have a few treatment options which I can provide although their primiary goal is to reduce progression of the condition.

2. Hypertension can cause some cats to behave in some strange and odd ways. This condition is rarely primary in a cat but usually secondary to Hyperthyroid Disease, kidney issues or Diabetes. I assume that blood work has been done recently but if not, this this woudl be a good idea.
Blood pressure measurements can be taken in cats although stress can often muddy the results and make interpretation difficult in some patients. But, we can prescribe medication for those cats who do have Hypertension issues.

3. I always worry about a brain mass when older cats start behaving in unexpected ways. Unfortunately, it woudl take an MRI to diagnose such a problem and brain masses are not typically located in areas where's it's practical or advisable to remove them.

4. I might worry about cardiovascular issues given his tendency to become tired and dizzy. Auscultation of his chest may not reveal abnormalities but an x-ray or ultrasound might.

5. I'm not sure how to interpret his thirst in light of his other behavior. If he has a brain mass or Dementia, for example, then this behavior might reflect central nervous system changes. However, if he has problems with his kidneys or diabetes, for example, then excessive thirst and urination is often associated with these conditions.

I hope this helps although, again, my apolgoies for the delayed reply. Deb
Dr. Deb and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for all the information. He seems to have recovered and seemed to have benefited from a smaller space. I have also mixed water in with his food which I think has helped. I think he has the same symptoms but that this is now happening periodically. So careful monitoring and awareness of all of the above has really helped. I think if he has the same symptoms again at the same time, I will take him in to the vets surgery as the points in the email seemed to match his symptoms. I was slightly worried that he had been injured outside so I will keep monitoring him as dementia and diabetes also seemed to fit the description last week. I think at this stage it could be on/off dementia however he has currently recovered so thank you for your time. I will take him in if this all happens at once again. He has now been well enough for a bath and I aim to keep him indoors as much as I can, for a little while.

Thank you again for your reply.


You're more than welcome.

I'm glad to hear that he appears to have recovered but won't be surprised if some of his symptoms do recur. Careful watching and waiting makes sense to me with testing an appropriate next step if necessary.

Best of luck with him. Deb