Author Francesca Lees, BSc (Hons), NCert (AnBeh), ISFM CertFN, RVN

Francesca is an RVN and feline behaviour specialist in Plymouth, Devon. After qualifying as an RVN, Francesca worked in small animal first opinion practice while studying for certificates in feline nursing and animal behaviour. In 2022, Francesca graduated with a BSc (Hons) in applied animal behaviour from Sparsholt College. She now runs her own animal behaviour business, predominantly focused on feline behaviour, and is a provisional clinical animal behaviourist member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors.

ABSTRACT In senior cats, behaviour issues such as house soiling, excessive vocalisation, aimless wandering, overgrooming and clingy attachment are often attributed to old age. However, they could be associated with cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). Although CDS is a well-known disease in dogs, it is not as well recognised in cats. This study aimed to investigate potential barriers to the treatment and management of these behavioural signs in senior cats. The data for this study were obtained via a survey of 95 veterinary surgeons (VSs) who had been presented with a cat over the age of 8 years displaying signs of a behavioural issue, within the past 2 years. The findings suggested that barriers to the treatment of cats with CDS were under diagnosis and the VS not offering the recommended treatment and management options. Owner attitudes towards their cat, and how much they perceived the problem to be impacting on their lives, were contributing factors to compliance with a treatment plan. This study highlights a need for further investigation.
Keywords cognitive dysfunction syndrome, CDS, cats, feline, behaviour, age, old


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