Cat arthritis is something that can affect the older cat just like it effects humans and is one of those cat illnesses that develops slowly. It can be very distressing for the cat as they can nolonger get around as easily as they used to.
Of course it is also distressing for the cat owner to see their pet struggle to walk or to climb and knowing that their cat is in some pain and discomfort. But there is something we can do to help relieve our cat's symptoms.
Also just like with humans they are affected mainly by the form of arthritis known as osteoarthritis.
This is when the cartilage betweens the bones wear down and the bones then start to rub against each other causing pain and inflammation.
Feline arthritis is one of those cat Illnesses that mainly affects older cats and has no particular cause other than just day to day wear and tear on the joints caused by age.
However some younger cats can also develop this illness due to injury, joint disease or a predisposition for it in their genes can also be the cause.
Your vet will be the only person who can properly diagnose the condition by taking x-rays of the bones to see if there is any wear and tear on the bones.
However the symptoms of cat arthritis are often quite obvious and include:
If one or more of these symptoms is seen in your pet then early diagnosis and treatment will prevent much suffering to your cat.
Unfortunately there is no cure for arthritis in cats and the best that can be done is to manage the pain for your cat and to try and slow the disease down to enable the cat to have a fairly normal life.
However human pain killers must not be used as these can be toxic for a cat. Instead prescription drugs from the vet must be used as well as some natural remedies.
Arthritis causes inflammation to the joints and your vet will prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs.
These drugs may include:
These drugs are known as NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and are similar to the human drug of Ibuprofen. They simply reduce the inflammation and so reduce the pain, they however do not slow down the progression of the illness.
They are not normally prescribed for cats but they are safe to give in normally healthy cats (not diabetic or cats with bleeding disorders), you may want to check with your vet before giving these supplements to your cat.
There is no specific scientific evidence that it will help rebuild cartilage in cats and so the decision to use them is entirely yours.
An overweight cat will find it even more difficult to get around if they have cat arthritis and so making sure that they are receiving the right amount of and quality of food is essential.
Keeping your cat at a healthy weight may become harder and harder as they become less active so a keeping a close eye on their food intake is essential.
If your cat is being prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs by your vet, it may also be helpful to try and encourage your cat to be more active.
Any activity will help the joints to become stronger and could help to slow down the rate of the disease. Playing a simple game with a piece of string every evening might be all that is needed to help keep your elderly cat healthy and fit and extend their life with you.
Arthritis in cats can be rather nasty and upsetting for both the cat and the owner, after all a cat needs to be able to get around freely. However with both prescribed and natural remedies a cats life can still be fully lived.