This information deals with the Cognitive dysfunction and the neurobiology of ageing in cats. and is based in part by a medical article by D. Gunn-Moore, K. Moffat, LA Christie, E Head which was inturn based on their research conducted at the Easter Bush Veterinary Centre and Hospital for Small Animals at the University of Edinburgh at Rolin.
With improvements in nutrition and veterinary medicine the life expectancy of pet cats is increasing. Accompanying this growing geriatric population there are increasing numbers of cats with signs of apparent senility. A recent study suggests that 28 per cent of pet cats aged 11 to 14 years develop at least one geriatric onset behavioural problem, and this increases to over 50 per cent for cats of 15 years of age or older. While behavioural changes may result from systemic illness, organic brain disease or true behavioural problems, the possibility of age-related cognitive dysfunction is often overlooked. Studies have revealed a number of changes in the brains of geriatric cats that showed signs of cognitive dysfunction, and potential causes include vascular insufficiency leading to hypoxia, increased free radical damage and the deposition of beta-amyloid plaques and/or the modification of other proteins. By recognising the importance of behavioural changes in old cats, investigating them fully for potentially treatable medical conditions, and instigating dietary and environmental modifications to meet their changing needs, we can make the lives of our geriatric cats much more comfortable and rewarding.