As any cat owner will attest, cats make for excellent pets. They are easy to care for, can be very affectionate (under the right circumstances), and have unique, fun personalities. The cognitive capacity of cats is excellent. Cats know to use a litter box, they're excellent at playing games (like pretending to hunt by pouncing on things around the house), and they have fantastic memories. However, estimates have shown that around 28% of all cats will lose some cognitive function between 11 and 15. Past 15 years, that number rises to a whopping 50%.
Cognitive dysfunction in both cats and dogs can make them have trouble doing some things that they could do when they were younger. They may have more difficulty using a litter box, find it harder to vocalize, and have altered sleep patterns. Sometimes they might seem more restless or "forgetful" than usual. As your cat's caretaker, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do to lessen the chance of this decline. Fortunately, there is! To keep your pet's cognitive abilities functioning at optimal levels, consider trying these three things.
Give Your Cat Toys
Cats can keep their mental acuity sharp through play. Much like humans, by playing games, like chasing a ball all around the house, cats can exercise their minds and retain much-needed cognitive skills. Giving your pet new objects such as cognitive and interactive cat toys will cause their curiosity to kick in and make them use their minds to explore this new object. Whether your cat is young or old, it's never too early or too late to encourage them to play!
Give Your Cat A View
Cats receive mental stimulation by looking at the outside world. If you have an outdoor enclosure or if you have a window in your house, you can help keep your cat's mind sharp by letting them and encouraging them to look out of it. Cats frequently see birds and other stimuli that help keep them engaged and focused. This engagement, in turn, helps keep cognitive abilities high!
Give Your Cat The Right Diet
Much like with humans, diet plays a significant role in overall health, including mental health. Foods rich in omega-three fatty acids and antioxidants will help preserve your pet's mental acuity. By serving your cat high-quality pet food, you will not only keep your cat's mental health better, but it will also maintain their physical health better. Going back to the first tip of playing with your cat or giving them toys, a pet that is in a better physical condition is more likely to be able to play with toys longer. The fact that they can stimulate themselves means that they will be less likely to face cognitive decline. A healthy diet protects cat cognition on multiple levels!
Keep Your Cat's Mental Acuity Sharp
As with many health conditions, you're best to try and prevent cognitive issues in cats rather than trying to repair them after seeing symptoms. Make sure your pet has enough mental stimulation, through toys and outdoor-viewing time, as well as the right foods. If you keep them mentally stimulated and provided top-quality meals, there's a good chance that you will be able to avoid many of the cognitive decline issues that happen later in life!