4 Signs of Feline Senility

Here are four signs of feline senility. The signs are subtle and behavioural. Perhaps they need to be combined them to make them more noticeable.

Geriatric cat
Geriatric cat
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General Behaviour

The senile cat might have a blank expression, continuous repetitive pacing and be disinterested in self-grooming.


A senile cat may delay in recognising places or objects and even people with whom he is familiar. He may get lost when in familiar surroundings and specifically, he may ‘go to the wrong side of a closed door when asking to go through’. At night senile cats may howl due to confusion and being alone (src: Michael)

Changes in Sleeping Pattern

A senile cat may have increased daytime sleeping, decreased night-time sleeping, and increased instances of disturbed sleep.

Changes in Social Activities

Other signs of feline senility might include any of the following: a decreased enthusiasm to greet you, a decreased speed in responding to his guardian’s voice and requests, a decreased appetite to play with his owner or other pets, an increased irritability towards people, objects or cats with whom he is friendly, and a failure to complete social interactions.

Cat dementia
Cat dementia?

Senility is “cognitive dysfunction” – CD. CD should not be confused with decreased activity or mobility due to chronic pain. Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs can be effective against pain when used safely. Interestingly, anti-anxiety drugs such as amitriptyline and diazepam (Valium) may reduce pain in 10% of elderly cats. They are not licensed for use in cats, however.

Source: Dr Bruce Fogle in Complete Cat Care unless as stated.

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