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Old June 22nd, 2011, 12:43 PM
ALC ALC is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 24
Bad behavior or dementia?

Hello, I'm new here. Posted over in the dog forum, now I've got a question about one of my kitties.

I'm wondering if my cat just has a behavior problem or if she is experiencing cat dementia.

Here is the story, it might be a bit long, so bear with me

I still live at home due to economic hardship so this story involves my mom too.

Almost five years ago my mom and I adopted an older cat from a cat adoption agency. We named her Lily and we love her to pieces. For nearly the entire time we have had her, she has been a wonderful cat who never caused any trouble at all. The only thing was that she had food allergies and we didn't know how old she was when we adopted her. We guess she's probably ten years old now or a little older.

Anyway, the problem is this: in the last six months her behavior has become extremely problematic when it comes to food. I give all five cats a generous amount of food daily, enough so that everyone gets enough to eat. For the other four cats, it is plenty. Lily also eats special food that helps her with her allergies.

It seems that these feedings just aren't enough for Lily anymore. Usually, there is plenty of food in the cat bowls over the course of the day. We keep the cat food where Abby (our dog) can't eat it and it worked for four years with no problems at all. Abby doesn't eat the cat food, and the cats don't eat her food. Now, all of a sudden (and it was sudden when it started six months ago) Lily is eating Abby's food, stealing food from our plates, getting into the cuboards and stealing food from there, and just generally eating everything she can get her paws on, even though her food is right in the other room. The only safe place to put food is in the microwave or the stove. When it is nice outside, we'll close the door to our porch (complete with kitty condo and potty with her out there so that she can't get into the food while we are eating.

If we are preparing food, she lurks around the kitchen or stands next to us and cries and cries.

The standard correction in our house for bad behavior (for all animals) is a squirt of water. This isn't working with Lily anymore. In extreme situations, I might lightly tap her butt and say "bad kitty." (I don't believe in spanking) For the other four cats, just saying "Bad kitty" in a disappointed tone is enough for them to quit doing whatever was considered "bad." and this used to work with Lily for four years as well, right up until this behavior started.

In addition to the constant eating or trying to get food to eat, she doesn't seem to gain any weight at all. You can see and feel her backbone and her legs are little twigs. She has been skinny the entire time we've had her, but never like this. She is a strictly indoor cat and has regular vet checkups, so she doesn't have a tapeworm or anything of that sort that we can tell. We'll be taking her to the vet in a week or so, but I don't know if the vet will be able to shed any more light on this.

What do you all think could be going on?
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