Managing the arthritic cat
As you may have read in our June 2018 Newsletter, arthritis is a big problem for cats, no matter how they hide it. Fortunately there are two simple things you can do to alleviate their suffering before even reaching for the medicine cabinet.
Firstly you can observe their jumping behaviour, you may have already completed our jumping checklist (www.taringavets.com.au/jumping-checklist-for-cats). Cats with arthritis struggle to jump which sadly means that they have to alter their lifestyle to accommodate their reduced mobility. So, one of the best things we can do to help is to provide ramps/intermediate platforms that enable them to access their preferred resting/feeding places. It is also useful to raise water/food bowls (aim to have them around chest height or a bit lower) to reduce back pain when they're eating.
Before I launch into the second way we can help our arthritic cats I am going to ask you to be brave and answer one question with brutal honesty...Is your cat overweight?
Take a good look at them.
Run your hands along their sides.
You should be able to feel their ribs and they should have a waist line.
If not, well, they are overweight. (Sorry!)
Overweight cats suffer more from arthritis not only because the excess load on joints wears away the cartilage more quickly but also because fat produces inflammatory mediators - substances that that affect joint tissue and play a role in pain. Maintaining an ideal body condition score is the most important aspect of arthritis management. So if you are not 100% certain that your cat has an ideal body condition score you need to book a weight management appointment with one of our nurses so we help them.
While these will make a big difference to your cat's life, it is usual for us to use pharmaceuticals and/or nutraceuticals as well. To read more about what we use and how they help please follow this link.