Cat owner with Dementia

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LucyF
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Cat owner with Dementia

Post by LucyF » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:57 pm

Hi. My father-in-law has a female cat ( aged 11/12) called Sophie. He is in the advanced stages of dementia and , as far as I am concerned , is not capable of looking after her. She has started to urinate/soil in the house. My husband has put down a litter trade - she has used this on occasions but still messes outside the tray. I am not sure if this behaviour is due to a medical issue, or whether she is just stressed/anxious. My husband will not allow her to be rehomed as he says he has to consider is father's feelings. Can someone with dementia really look after a living creature? Sophie used to have access to the outside but now my father-in-law is not capable of knowing when to let her out........it is becoming a major issued.

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Lilith
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Re: Cat owner with Dementia

Post by Lilith » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:17 pm

Hi Lucy and welcome ... this is an awful dilemma.

What medical support is your father in law getting? I realise this is chancy these days, the state the NHS is in in some areas. And Sophie may be one of the factors that keeps him going.

I don't know if this is feasible, but could you and your husband take over the care of Sophie completely ie pet-sitting, calling twice a day to feed, clean the tray etc? And keep her as an indoor cat, perhaps easier for her at this time of year. Or if your father in law would be agreeable, pay for a sympathetic pet sitter to come and do this? I realise it could take some effort and management but better than an unhappy cat and accidents and worst case scenarios like the mess being trodden in etc.

It doesn't sound as if your father in law is going to be able to manage much longer by himself but this could give him (and Sophie) some dignity and comfort and even help him to carry on a bit longer ... I agree he shouldn't be separated from Sophie. He probably realises the situation and must be terrified. Also, now is the time to make plans for Sophie's future if he has to go into a care home.

I know it's easy for me to try and advise when I'm not involved - you and your husband and father in law must be going through hell and I wonder if Sophie is equally stressed out and that's why she's being dirty. I wish I could say more to help, and hope other people on here may have more advice and support.

With all very best wishes and please let us know how things go on - we're here to support you if only at a distance x

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Janey
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Re: Cat owner with Dementia

Post by Janey » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:25 am

Hi and welcome. Sorry to hear of your situation, I can empathise as my MIL has dementia, but still has my FIL with her, and they don’t have any pets. First thing I would say regarding not using the tray, is that it would be definitely be advisable to take the cat for a check-up if she’s not been, cats of that age need a regular MOT and full bloods doing anyway. It could be due to stress of not being let out etc, or a medical issue, litter or even all three, this link explains:

https://www.catchat.org/index.php/cat-t ... ay-indoors

I agree it’s probably best the cat stays with your FIL if possible, so if someone can pop in regularly, be that a carer if your father has one, or yourself that would be helpful, to check the litter tray is clean, and let the cat out, but as Lilith says make plans now for the cat’s future as rescues are often full, so you may need to put the cat on a waiting list if needing to rehome. Wishing you all the best and do let us know how things go.

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Ruth B
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Re: Cat owner with Dementia

Post by Ruth B » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:56 am

I can only agree with what the others have said, it is an awful situation, but if your Father in Law is still able to look after himself to an extent having the cat might actually be helping him focus on what needs to be done day to day. Someone going into help out would certainly be the best option in my opinion.

One I will mention is to try different types of cat litter. My own Mother recently had to go into a nursing home and I have taken in her cat. I was warned that she wouldn't use a litter tray and always went out to the garden. Of course, having moved she has to stay in for a few weeks and I was wondering how she would cope. My Mother only used the wood pellet litter, saying that that was what she had always used. Mine have a fine grained clay based litter, so I decided to see if she would use it or if I was going to have to try bags of topsoil in a tray. She used it straight off, no problem. She does like to dig and scatters the litter all around the tray, but everything she produces goes in the tray.

The other one to make sure is that Sophie is getting regular meals. I am not sure what was happening with Mum's cat, again she was convinced that she only really liked the Gourmet Gold Ocean Fish Pate, but then also ended up sharing a lot of her own meals with her. Since she has been with me she has been fed at regular times during the day and been given a variety of food, and is definitely putting on weight, the vet was concerned that she was underweight when I had her checked so that is no bad thing.

I don't think my Mother's condition was as bad as your Father in Law's, she was a little forgetful and a bit absent minded, but certainly wasn't in the advance stages of dementia.

I will also add that we found a nursing home close to where I live for my Mother and when I was going around looking at them all were happy for me to take her cat in for visits, which we did the other Sunday. We took her in in her carrier, had a sign to put on the door warning people that there was a loose cat in the room and asking them to knock first. Stroppy (my Mum's cat) had a look around the room, a peer out of the window, sat on Mum's lap for a while and then went to sleep on my fleece on the bed. It was only a couple of hours but it made Mum's day. If when the time comes you could somehow arrange to do something similar then I'm sure it would mean as much to your Father in Law.

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Kay
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Re: Cat owner with Dementia

Post by Kay » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:13 am

You could check with the nearest branch of Cat Protection to see if they know of anyone living nearby who could pop in a couple of times a day - a reliable teenager keen to earn a little pocket money might do, and of course would be useful in letting you know of any problems re cat or FIL

LucyF
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Re: Cat owner with Dementia

Post by LucyF » Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:53 pm

Thank you all for your responses. My husband now agrees his father is not capable of looking after the cat. She is 12/13 , tortie, talkative and now needs a new home............rescue centres in an around BR6 are full. Any takers/suggestions? We looked after her once, she was so desperate to get out that we let her and she went missing for 6weeks...don't think we want to go through that again

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Lilith
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Re: Cat owner with Dementia

Post by Lilith » Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:47 pm

I'm so very sorry to hear - have you seen this link?

https://www.catchat.org/index.php/cat-r ... uk-ireland

With all very best wishes to Sophie and your father in law, please do let us know how things go on.

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Re: Cat owner with Dementia

Post by Janey » Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:02 am

Hi again, these links should be helpful, they have all the information about rehoming your cat safely, as there can be some dubious people about. There’s also advice about direct rehoming, that may be helpful in your situation if the rescues are full, some rescues will do that. Other than that, ask to go on a waiting list now. If you do decide to keep her yourself, then you should keep her in for at least 3 weeks, some say 6, before letting her out, otherwise she may try and return home. Very best of luck.

https://www.catchat.org/index.php/rehome-pet-cat
https://www.catchat.org/index.php/direct-rehoming-cat

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Jan
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Re: Cat owner with Dementia

Post by Jan » Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:42 pm

LucyF wrote:Thank you all for your responses. My husband now agrees his father is not capable of looking after the cat. She is 12/13 , tortie, talkative and now needs a new home............rescue centres in an around BR6 are full. Any takers/suggestions? We looked after her once, she was so desperate to get out that we let her and she went missing for 6weeks...don't think we want to go through that again
Hello Lucy .... your situation reminds me so much of the one we faced 5 years ago. What to do with my mother's cat when she was given a safe haven bed in a nursing home. Her beloved cat was put into a cattery initially and after a meeting with Social Services in North Somerset (where my mother lived) it was decided she needed to go into a care home - not least because we lived 165 miles away - in BR5 which is not far from BR6!

To cut a long story short, in the end I couldn't let Blackie go outside the family and I know it was the right decision because Mum never forgot him - always asking me 'How's Blackie?' when we visited her. It was only when I showed her photos of him in our home that she finally accepted we were taking care of him.

I hope you find a good home for Sophie ... Mum's previous cat to Blackie was called Sophie .. another coincidence.

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Lavone_Folsom
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Re: Cat owner with Dementia

Post by Lavone_Folsom » Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:35 pm

Urine leaks are common in senior cats either they are sick or not. First of all, you should talk to the vet and try his suggested medicine. In the same token, you can also try urinary incontinence tips from here https://ourfitpets.com/health/cats-with-incontinence/. However, I don't think urining and pooping outside the little are only because of dementia or age other factors like sleep apnea, bladder problems and congenital structural defect could also these problems, and usually, we see the effects in the senior ages of cats.

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