Learn Responsible Cat Care
This is a course for:
- Pet Owners
- Pet Shop Staff
- Veterinary Assistants
- Cattery Staff
- Anyone working with, or passionate about cats
Start study any time and work at your own pace.
Feline Health Care
Breeding and Raising Kittens
Feline Services (includes a PBL Project)
Learn the Fundamentals to Manage any Cat
Every cat is different. Age, temperament, and the situation in which it is living will all influence the challenges that a cat brings to it's owners. Cats are not humans. They need to consume a different diet, and their minds work differently to yours.
This course provides the foundation for making the right decisions for cat care in any situation.
How Do You Manage an Old Cat?
Older cats can exhibit different behaviour as they age; and can require extra special treatment, not unlike a geriatric human.
In humans we may talk about Dementia. In cats this is technically known as Feline Cognitive Dysfunction. The signs that a cat is going senile can be confusing and mimic other behaviours, such as feline separation anxiety or petting aggression. This will usually occur when the cat is over 15 years old. The cat will often develop problems elimination rather than using the litter box.
In the past, the symptoms may have been seen as part of the normal ageing process, but feline cognitive dysfunction is actually a medical condition. The cat will develop a waxy protein deposit (beta-amyloid) in their brain. This affects cats in a similar way to how Alzheimer’s disease affects humans.
Changes in Interactions you might observe in a geriatric cat:
Avoids or dislikes petting
- Does not greet family members
- Does not want attention
- Interactions with other pet’s change
- Gets lost and confused
- Gets lost in the house
- Gets stuck in corners
- Wanders aimlessly
- Doesn’t recognise familiar places and people
- Repetitive pacing
- Yowls and cries for no reason
- Licking the floor or objects
Changes in Sleep patterns
- Awake and active at night
- Disrupted or reversed sleep cycles
Urination and Defecation
- Forgets cat litter
- Can’t find the litter box
- Does not know what to do with the box
Treating the Geriatric Cat
Cognitive dysfunction cannot be cured, but about one third of all cats can be helped temporarily with drug therapy.
We can help prevent degeneration in cats in a similar way to that in humans encourage them to use their cognitive function. Encourage them to use puzzle toys. Mental stimulation can improve the cognitive function of older cats.
Examples may include:
- Train the cat to walk on a lead/leash, which can open up a new world for the cat.
- Provide stimulating entertainment for the cat. For example, a bird box outside a window that the cat cannot reach but can watch.
- Encourage the cat to learn tricks
- Hide their food around the house so the cat has to hunt for the food.
- Give puzzle toys that give a treat to the cat.