Friday, April 11, 2014

My Cat Has Dementia -- Possibly Lewy Body???

I know. By the title of this entry, you must be thinking I'm seeing Lewy Body Dementia everywhere!

Well, maybe because we're more knowledgeable about Dementia and especially Lewy Body Dementia, my daughter and I see more clearly the symptoms and behaviours around us reflected in people we've visited many times at Mom's SNC/Long Term Care Facility and we've also noticed the same and similar behaviours in our very old cat.

Our cat's physical challenges and behaviours are very similar to Moms.

Balance & Gait -- she places her "feet" differently and often tilts or starts to fall to one side

Incontinence -- more bowel than urinary right now; she seems to go by smell and if she has an accident, we have to be very careful to clean it thoroughly or she goes back to the same area. Strange, however, if her litter box isn't cleaned frequently, she'll walk out of it and look for another place -- which is totally different from the above behavior -- possibly a memory of how that area"should smell" still remains?

Loss of direction/location of familiar items and areas -- we've moved her bed closer to where her litter box is located but still in the kitchen and it's in the laundry room--we turn on another small light to give her more ability to see;--we've had to close the door to one room because when she comes downstairs she turns into that room thinking it's where her litter box is and all that's there is a carpeted room -- not pleasant for us.

Eating and Appetite -- she's hungry and persistent about being fed or she doesn't want to eat when I try to feed her; she eats a few bites, leaves the can or dish (we try both because sometimes she refuses one but eats from the other. 

She often "forgets" the food is in front of her especially if she becomes distracted by my opening the refrigerator or pantry. 

Lately, I've taken her can and bowl and moved it beside where I'm sitting and she'll eat a little more when I do that although her attention span is still limited.

Sleep -- she gets up frequently in the night and thinks it's time to eat or if she does choose to sleep, she tries to lay her body across my face -- I thought it was to get my attention but now think perhaps it's to feel my breathing and know I'm there or cause me to wake up and feed her

Need for Companionship; cats are usually very independent -- know going up and down the steps is becoming more of a chore for her but she seeks us out as though needing companionship more than ever

Grooming --  is sometimes done and sometimes not -- any cat "parent" will tell you cats are constant groomers and so was ours; now, grooming isn't as
detailed and seeing the "tangle" of hair on parts of her body, not as thorough as she used to do

Appetite -- she acts hungry and begs for food and then takes a few bites and walks away -- only to return to my side to beg crying out for something to eat

Span of attention -- getting shorter and shorter -- she sleeps a lot; she eats small amounts; she turns away from her food and then can't find it again and when I take her back has to be coaxed, sometimes using a small spoon filling it with a little food and placing it against her mouth so she realizes it's there

OK, this may seem like a "stretch", but if we believe, as has been written in several articles about comparing the "years" of a dog and a cat's lives to a human life, a cat that's over 20 (we're not sure how old she was because we choose our cat from a cat rescue organization) she must be around 100 human years old. So, why couldn't she have Dementia/LBD?  Let's explore the internet and see if my "crazy idea" has any merit; as usual, LOVE the internet!

Here's a resource I just checked; read for yourself; it's quite interesting -- and here's another resource: ct cognitive_dysfunction_syndrome

So, the world is filled with "cognitive challenges" and Dementia.

Why, then, do we know so little about how to work with, care about and recognize Lewy Body Dementia and other Dementias?

Why do we ISOLATE Alzheimer's patients and set them apart in some Long Term Care facilities and yet let others live openly in the facilities when they have similar "challenges" but a Dr or other person has not decided to "declare" the person to have this "challenge"?

In the United States, we're bragging about, advertising and seeking higher rates of compensation for caring for "select" individuals when it's obvious there is a much higher rate within the aging population of individuals deserving better care, more focused care and more individualized care.

You and we will make the difference if we pass the word along and become active in our communities, with all organizations and through our legislators to turn this NATURAL life event that comes our way if we live long enough.

Many of us will exhaust our funds set aside for "Elder Care" or the costs will become far beyond the policies we've paid or they'll be "adjusted" (I'm sure there's fine print in those contracts; no company can begin to predict the costs of goods and services over more than 20 or 30 years)

Continue this journey with us to make a difference in the everyday life and care of a part of our population who lived to make a difference in the world and provide what we eat, drink and use and who nurtured us and cared for us.

Live long and prosper -- in the words of Star Treks' Vulcan, Mr Spock. Ray Bradbury was a science fiction writer but also a futurist!

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