Around half of senior cats over 12 years old show changes in behavior that resemble dementia in people. Signs of feline dementia, also known as cognitive dysfunction syndrome, can include disorientation, changes in how cats interact with owners, and urination outside the litter box. In people with dementia, understanding brain abnormalities has enabled earlier diagnosis and promising new treatments for patients. However, little is known about the brain abnormalities that cause dementia in cats and currently no treatment exists for feline patients suffering from cognitive declines. To help fill this knowledge gap, researchers will ask owners to complete a survey about dementia behaviors they see in their senior cats. The team then will test how behavior changes relate to changes in blood test results. The team also will study the brains of senior cats that have passed away from natural causes to identify brain abnormalities. Researchers hope findings will help improve the diagnosis and treatment of feline dementia and enhance the quality of life of aging cats and the owners that care for them.
Grant amount awarded
University of Wisconsin – Madison
Gillian McLellan, PhD