Chronic Pacing in Old Cats

Excessive pacing is common in senior cats.
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If your cat is a sweet senior, you probably have noticed slow but steady changes in his health and behavior over the years, some good, some not so good. One key sign of aging in felines is chronic pacing, which is oftentimes linked to disorientation, confusion and memory loss.


Just like many elderly humans, senior cats -- ages approximately 10 and up -- often experience gradual memory loss, which as a result brings upon disorientation and confusion. If your precious pet feels out of his element, he may express it by wandering and pacing back and forth around a room with no apparent destination. Take note of your cat's traveling patterns. If you notice that he seems to be aimlessly moving about your home all day, it may simply be because he doesn't really recognize where he is anymore.

Other Signs

If you really want to pinpoint what's going on with your cat's relentless pacing, be on the lookout for other telltale indications regarding the cause of his behavior. If disorientation and loss of memory are indeed the root of his problems, you may also notice behaviors including persistent meowing and yowling, grooming neglect and staring off into space blankly. Disoriented cats also tend to have messy bathroom accidents -- much to owners' dismay. For example, if your cat is relieving himself on your living room carpet, something is just not right. When you just get the feeling that your cat doesn't feel like himself anymore, you probably have your answer.


When a cat seems to be moving from room to room in a home on a quest to find his litter box, favorite toys, scratching post or food and water, the nonstop motion indicates serious confusion. Elderly cats often tend to pace around homes looking for items as if the environment is totally strange and unfamiliar to them.


During the night hours, many senior cats may feel even more frightened and confused because of the darkness. Apart from memory loss, hearing and vision problems are also very typical in aging cats. Perhaps your dear kitty is frantically pacing around your home at night because he has no idea where he is, and wants you to find him and comfort him. Essentially, he's calling out to someone in the household for help.


One easy way to help your cat cope with his disorientation is by keeping things in the same spots as much as possible. Also avoid picking him up and dropping him off somewhere totally different in your home, as that may confuse him even further. To be on the safe side, speak to a veterinarian about your pet's chronic pacing. Although the behavior often indicates memory issues, it could also be a sign of other ailments, including hypertension and diabetes. The sooner you seek medical help for your wee one, the easier it may be for you to manage the problem.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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