Living organisms, as they age, develop various physical conditions due to low energy levels and health reasons. It does not happen only in humans, but animals also suffer from this condition. For example, if you have seen cats with arthritis, you must have an idea of how painful it is for them. They slow down, which may be attributed to their old age. So if you own a cat and you want to prevent your cuddly little one from this condition, you need to know more about it.
Let us walk you through the basics of cats arthritis so that you get to know what is the best treatment for arthritis in cats:
What is Cat Arthritis?
Due to the extensive use of joints and bones through the early years, the joints undergo natural wear and tear. Consequently, the cats feel inflammation and stiffness in their joints. Although it can happen in any joint of the body of your old aged cat, they mostly have it in legs and spinal cord. Besides, the young felines may also suffer from the condition, especially if they get some serious injury during the early stages of bone development.
Types of Arthritis
reduced activity level, occasional lameness, stiff gait, long periods of inactivity
Heat and cold therapy, acupuncture, natural anti-inflammatory agents like fish oil, turmeric, proteolytic enzyme therapy, and esterified fatty acid complex.
pain, fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, joint swelling, lameness
Arthroscopy, antibiotics, surgery
Immune-Mediated Polyarthritis (IMPA)
stiff gait, lameness, trouble standing, and spinal pain
Mores Diet-focussed like anti-inflammatory diet, grain-free, low-carb diet
Nature has made everything perfectly, considering the mechanics and scientific aspects. For example, talking about the joints and movement, the cats can move properly because of the fluid present between the joints. Yes! This fluid makes the surface of joints smooth, hence reducing the friction. When a cat moves around, the fluid allows the bones to slide past each other smoothly. Hence, the cats can even jump over tall walls and are one of the most flexible species of the world.
However, cats with arthritis develop a condition as they age. The smooth surfaces grow uneven and rough due to continuous use. As a result, they can not slide past each other anymore. Instead, they develop friction. The constant rubbing within the joints causes pain and swelling of the bones. As the condition persists, the joints would thicken and stiff, so much so that an extra bone is developed there. Since this bone is not a natural part of the body, it hinders the movement, and your cat would suffer from severe pain.
Symptoms of arthritis
Well! If you own a cat that is very dear to you, you need to be observant about her. You have to keep a close eye at the way she walks around and moves from one place to another. It would give you an idea if she is developing any signs of arthritis or not. Especially if your cat is old, it becomes all the more important. If you observe any of the following symptoms, you will be in a position to take measures for pain relief for cats with arthritis.
- Finding it hard to jump around or going up and down the stairs.
- Limping gait
- Stiff body movement
- Prominent shoulder blades (as the poor thing suffers from a muscle loss around the area, she looks thin and weak in the shoulder area)
- Hiding behavior or lethargic, sleeping most of the time
- Over-grooming (if she licks a particular area of the ground or anything more than usual, the fur will have pink or brown stains)
- Matted and dull fur, especially. On the back and bottom of her body. It is because she finds it difficult and painful to bend and groom these parts of her body.
- Swelling or heated joints
- Easily irritable and grumpy as, especially, if you try to cuddle her or even touch her softly.
Since arthritis is a gradual process and the symptoms become prominent over a while. As a result, it sometimes becomes difficult for you to keep track. However, you need to observe everything very closely to have an idea of what your cat used to move a few years back and what changes are there now.
Contacting the Vet
Well! There is no hard and fast rule as to when you should consult a vet. It is all about the symptoms, especially if you think that your cat’s health is deteriorating and is showing any or all of the signs mentioned above, you may go to your cat’s vet. However, if you visit the vet regularly, it might help you to get to the crux of the problem earlier. Consequently, you will be better able to resort to natural pain relief for cats with arthritis.
Life Expectancy of Cats with Arthritis
As far as the life expectancy of these cats, you do not need to worry. It is just about making their life easier during this condition. It is a continuous condition that worsens over time. However, this is not a fatal disease. All you have to do is to take care of your cat more than before, and you can try to ease down her pain a bit. It has been observed that cats suffering from arthritis have been living for quite long.
What triggers arthritis?
Arthritis is a general condition that occurs due to growing age. However, there might be some common causes of the condition:
Wear and Tear
Felines are the most active animals. They jump around your house and play all the youth happily. It is their very nature that they stay active and playfully all the time. However, with time, their joints also wear off, resulting in the friction developing between the joints. This, in turn, leads to a relatively more serious condition called arthritis.
Well! Hereditary transmission of genes may be one of the reasons for arthritis in your cat. If any of the parents of your cat carried the genes of arthritis, your cat might have more chances to develop the joints disease at some stage of her life. However, this is something that you can not control as such. However, you can still be more careful and affectionate toward your cuddly friend.
Since cats tend to roam around on the streets near your house to enjoy themselves, however, if they face an accident or injury, it might give rise to damage to their joints. You need to work closely with them to avoid such a situation. In case of any accident, you need to visit the vet on a priority basis to rule out any physical injury.
Treatment for cats with arthritis
There are multiple options when it comes to medical treatment for your cat suffering from arthritis. Some of them are as follows:
Anti-inflammatory medicines (Non-steroids)
Well! The vet is the best person to decide which medicine you should give. However, they prescribe such medication to be given daily. Bear in mind that you should not provide any human medication to your cat without consulting the vet. It can be toxic for her if given.
Alternative Pain killers
The vets suggest some pain killers along with the anti-inflammation medication to ease down the pain due to arthritis.
Well! The supplements for strengthening the bones and joints of your cats may come in handy. Different supplements, like containing essential nutrients, will help slow down the process of arthritis. However, Bear in mind that supplements are not alternative to the medication. They work in combination with the medicines.
Although this is one of the most effective therapies for cats with arthritis, your cat might not tolerate this. The reason being, she might feel anxious and stressed out. Moreover, you need to discuss it with your vet first because it requires the expertise of a professional. Ideally, you should hire someone who could visit your place for the purpose, as it will reduce the stress level of your cat.
In case of an extremely severe condition, the vet may suggest surgery. They fuse the affected joint to get rid of the pain. However, invest more time and effort to find the specific veterinary hospitals where such surgeries are carried out.
How can you treat cats arthritis naturally at home?
Besides the medical treatment, you can take try to apply certain things at home to treat cats with arthritis, which may include the following:
As the cat is already suffering and her movement is hampered, her bedding should be comfortable. Make sure that you are not making her jump high to get on to her bed. For that matter, you can opt for the medicated orthopedic memory foam mattress for your cuddly friend. Similarly, you can use the heated beds, too, as it will be soothing her spinal pain.
For cats with arthritis, it becomes difficult and painful to bend their neck too low. So, you can help her take her food by raising the feeding bowl. Yes! Place her bowls at a height where she can easily reach for it.
You can give her a specialized diet that is rich in minerals and nutrients essential for her general health. It will strengthen her immune system, and she will be better able to recover from the condition. Moreover, minerals, especially calcium, plays a crucial role in strengthening bones and joints of living beings.
Yes! It is an important aspect which you need to pay attention to. Keep the weight of your little under control, within the healthy range. In case you fail to do so, there will be more burden on her joints and limbs, and she is prone to suffer from arthritis.
Easy access to a litter tray
In addition to the feeding utensils, you can keep the litter tray within easy access for the cat. Yes! It will help her a lot as she will not have to jump every time she needs to go to pee or poop.
Steps or ramps in the house
As per their instincts, the cats tend to jump around even if they have arthritis. To make it easy for your friend, you can place the ramps and steps around the house so that her lust for jumping is also satisfied, minimizing her pain.
Keep it warm indoors
Well! when it comes to diseases related to joints, the cats feel more uncomfortable in the cold. So, you can keep the interior of your house warm and cozy. Keep her bed away from draughts. If she gets wet, by any chance, dry her body immediately so that she feels warm again.
So, here we conclude everything about cats with arthritis. This is a complete guide about the basic information about the condition. Now you know what exactly you have to look out for and how you can treat your cat suffering from arthritis. You can always take precautionary measures. Yes! You can do so by working closely with your beloved pet, where you can play with her and keep her happy. The weight control is yet another thing you should be careful of. It will not only improve the quality of her life, but you will also be able to enjoy your life with her.
Since petting an animal is a satisfying job, it comes with a lot of challenges, too, which you have to deal with dedication, love, and affection. Your efforts are surely paid off when you come home, and your healthy cuddly friend is the first to greet you. The feeling is indeed overwhelming that an innocent being loves you unconditionally and is happy to hug you and cuddle you, no matter what hour of the day it is. This makes your day, doesn’t it?