Is your cat struggling to jump from one piece of furniture to another? Are they not moving around as they used to? Then there may be an issue with their joints and, more specifically, they may be suffering from arthritis. Arthritis in cats is unfortunately quite common and can cause them a number of problems with their mobility and comfort. As a result, cat joint and bone health are of paramount importance for keeping them fit, active and healthy.
What is arthritis in cats?
Also known as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease, arthritis in cats is a serious issue to do with their joints. When a cat’s joints are healthy, they can move and run around happily without a care in the world. When an issue begins to occur, it means their mobility is reduced and they can feel pain and stiffness. Arthritis is an extreme version of joint issues and can make a big impact on their overall health and wellbeing.
In a healthy cat’s joints, the surface of the bone is covered with a thin layer of smooth cartilage as well as joint fluid. These allow the two surfaces of the bones to move and glide over each other with ease. In a cat’s joints with arthritis, the cartilage is damaged for some reason, so the bones end up rubbing against each other with friction which can cause a lot of pain and discomfort.
Causes of cat arthritis
Arthritis is caused by the joints being eroded and damaged to such an extent that there is permanent damage. This is how it differs from other issues with your cat’s joints, as smaller issues can accumulate and result in the serious issue of arthritis in cats. There are many different things that can cause such damage to your cat’s joints including an accident or injury, high levels of activity over a long period of time, too little activity, obesity and infection. Age also plays a big role in the causes of cat arthritis as the cartilage can slowly wear away over time resulting in little or none left when it comes to a senior cat as compared to a kitten.
Signs of arthritis in cats
So now you know the causes, what are some of the most obvious cat arthritis symptoms? Each cat is different so the symptoms can vary; in some cases, you may find arthritis in cats front legs but not their back, or vice versa! But here are some of the most common signs and symptoms to look out for to see if your cat is suffering from arthritis:
- Stiffness & pain when moving
- Lameness (when they can’t stand right)
- Decreased activity levels
- Less flexibility
- Discomfort in certain positions
- Hesitancy to run or jump
- Not liking being handled
- Reduction in jumping height
How to diagnose arthritis in cats
If you notice your cat’s joints worsening over time, other joint issues getting worse or the signs of arthritis, then the best thing to do is take them to the vets. They will be able to check your cat’s bones and joints and give a proper diagnosis. They will also be able to discover if it is, in fact, arthritis or another joint issue. Some signs of arthritis in cats can also be the same as many other health issues, so it is important to isolate the problem before taking action.
What can I give my cat for arthritis pain?
Whilst there is cat arthritis medication available and other medicated forms of pain relief for cats, these should only be used in serious cases and when recommended by your vet. There are a number of other methods you can try first that work as a natural pain relief for cats that either supports their joints and mobility from within or, alternatively, help them to use their joints in a way that can cause less damage and pain. You can even find methods that work in targeted areas such as for arthritis in cats back legs or their hips, or instead for their body overall.
Home joint care for cats
To help your furry friend with their joints, you can try an at-home arthritis treatment for cats. Firstly, you need to establish the cause of the joint problem and address that. For example, if it is wear and tear then consider a less active lifestyle or if it is weight then consider putting them on a diet. Secondly, you can take steps to make things a little easier for your furry friend. This can include moving their bedding and food down to a lower level and taking away anything that requires them to make big jumps or position themselves in a way that may hurt their joints. Additionally, you can alter their diet to include more joint-friendly ingredients such as omega 3. Vitamins and minerals are also great for your cat’s health overall, so of course can also be beneficial when it comes to their bones and joints.
Joint supplements for cats
Another simple way to get joint-friendly nutrition into their diet is through natural cat arthritis supplements. These can come in all shapes and forms, including capsules, tablets, softgels, liquids and soft chews. Cat joint supplements contain a number of amazing natural ingredients that can help with inflammation, movement, mobility, strength and overall bone and joint support. Here are some of the best ingredients to help arthritis in cats:
Glucosamine & Chondroitin
Both of these fantastic ingredients are found naturally within our cat’s joints and play a big role in their healthy function. As cats age though, the levels of glucosamine and chondroitin in their body slowly decreases, which is why you’ll find a lot less in older cats compared to bouncy kittens. As a result, they’re perfect as part of an external supplementation to boost levels.
Not only can fish oils be great for your cat’s skin, fur and heart, they’re also superb for their bones and joints! This is because they contain omega 3. This beneficial fatty acid provides internal joint care for cats and is a simple way to help their overall wellbeing as well. You can find this amazing omega 3 in all fish oils, including salmon, krill and cod liver oil.
The turmeric plant contains a special compound called curcumin, which gives it its magnificent colour and flavour. Curcumin is great for helping arthritis in cats as it can help with inflammation and reducing swelling and stiffness as it is known to have a natural anti-inflammatory effect. As a result, turmeric and curcumin are widely used to help joint issues in both humans and pets.
Another component found within joints, collagen is part of their healthy function. Just like with glucosamine and chondroitin, when cats are young there is an abundance of collagen, but this will slowly decrease with age. As a result, they can benefit from a collagen supplement that can boost their internal levels. To make it even better, collagen can also help their skin and muscles!
How to prevent cat arthritis
As arthritis in cats is due to the breakdown of the joints where it gets to a stage they cannot be fully repaired, taking preventative measures before this happens is key. Firstly, this can be done through their lifestyle, such as by making sure their weight is kept in check and that they aren’t doing any activities that could potentially cause damage. The second type of preventative joint care for cats is through supplementation. A joint complex supplement that includes one or more of the natural ingredients listed above are the ideal way to keep your cat’s joints healthy and functioning properly throughout their lives and reducing the risk of them developing arthritis.
Arthritis in cats conclusion
Overall, arthritis in cats is a serious issue and should not be taken lightly, however, there are many things you can do before resorting to prescription cat arthritis medications. Start by doing what you can at home to help such as making things easier for them to reach. Then try altering their diet to include foods that can support their joints and, finally, add joint supplements into their daily routine. Arthritis in cats may be a permanent and irreversible issue, but if you take the appropriate steps to help, there is nothing to stop your cat living a happy and fulfilling life in the long term!