Arthritis in Cats
Arthritis is extremely common in cats. This inflammation of the joints occurs when there is damage to moveable bones, and can be caused by many things, including trauma, infection, or wear and tear.
More than 80% of cats over 10 years of age will have some degree of arthritis.
Unfortunately, arthritis often goes unnoticed as owners think their cat is just slowing down due to age, when it can be a very painful condition.
So it is worth getting your cat checked regularly, as treating arthritis will make a huge difference to their quality of life.
Signs of arthritis are stiffness, reduced mobility, lameness, an unwillingness to jump or climb, or difficulty grooming. It can prompt a change in behaviour, such as a lack of interest in play, litter tray issues, or being more grumpy than usual.
You might also notice a stiffness in movement after resting, or even swollen joints.
The most common form of treatment is long term anti-inflammatory drugs, which are considered the best form of medical treatment to alleviate the pain.
There are also some veterinary versions of familiar supplements, including glucosamine and chondroitin, which are thought to help repair damaged cartilage and may have some anti-inflammatory properties.
Research has also shown that arthritic cats fed a specialist diet containing nutritional supplements can become more active.
Weight control will certainly help an arthritic cat, as a cat that is overweight can put extra stress on the joints and make the arthritis worse.
Considerations for your home:
- Allow your cat to reach their favourite place easily.
- Make sure their bed or favourite sleeping spot is easily accessed.
- Ensure your cat can reach their toileting site easily and the sides of the litter tray are not too high.
Arthritis is an ongoing problem and cannot be cured. However, it can be managed successfully, allowing your cat to be pain free and to lead a reasonably active life.
Here at the NCAC, we have many older cats looking for a new loving home, and some of these will be suffering from arthritis.
Please don’t be put off by the condition. Give these cats their second chance. Certainly, being in a pen will be hampering their condition, through lack of movement or the opportunity for exercise. You could take away that pain.
Can you help?