What happens to our pets as they grow older? Do their bodies change just as ours can? Of course they do; spritely kittens don’t stay young forever! So, what can you do to slow the onset of conditions, namely Arthritis, that normally affect the elderly? Luckily, that’s what we’re here today to tell you!
If your not familiar with the condition, Arthritis is a medical term for the wearing away of the jelly and cartilage between our joints. These two key parts of our bodies ensure smooth travel for our bones when our muscles decide to contract or relax. Over time, this jelly and cartilage can become damaged, broken and disappear completely, leaving the sufferer with immense pain typically in their hands and feet.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to outright stop Arthritis, bar replacing the entire joint (in extreme cases) – it’s simply a byproduct of wear and tear. Thankfully, we humans shouldn’t experience this until we’re well into our fifties (all going well). Cats, on the other hand, have much shorter and more exciting lives than us; lives where they use their full bodies on a regular basis. Imagine, for a moment, that you spent your whole day climbing up and down on a sofa... We guarantee you’d have Arthritis by the time you were thirty! Because of this, cats can start to experience symptoms from as young as seven or even eight!
How Do I know If my Cat has Arthritis?
As with all medical conditions, the first things you’ll start to notice with your feline are behavioural changes. These can be as simple as your pet’s reluctance to sleep somewhere that they have always slept, or perhaps an aversion to climbing up to their favourite perch. A true, tell-tale sign is general grumpiness or sulkiness when you lift, play with or pet them.
Symptoms are one thing, but diagnosing your pet is a whole different ball-game. While your cat may appear to have Arthritis (or, at least, joint pain) they may not actually have it! A common symptom of obesity in cats is also a major symptom of Arthritis. Once we can rule out your cat’s weight as a factor, we can then move on to dealing with the issue at hand.
Yes, How Can I Make my Cat’s Life Easier?
As if it needed to be any easier! Treating Arthritis is a tactical nightmare in and of itself. First, we would ask that you put your cat on an age-friendly food. Older cats require a specialised diet that contains low Calcium with high amounts of Chondroitin and Glucosamine – this diet should also minimise your pet’s calorific intake so as to prevent them gaining unnecessary weight. The added Chondroitin and Glucosamine, on the other hand, will help alleviate joint pain by providing your cat’s body with the necessary tools to slow down its own wear and tear.
Once you have their diet under control, you can then start to change their routine and environment. Begin by changing their bowls to low-rimmed plates or saucers and their litter-boxes to have smaller sides. This will help eliminate any pain your cat experiences while doing their business or eating their food. The last thing you’ll want to change is their bed as this can be a matter of trial and error. Cat’s are picky creatures by nature, so finding something that works is better than finding something that’s intended to work!
Arthritis in cats is a long-term battle. You’ll need patience, persistence and, most importantly, help! We’re always on hand to answer your questions or provide advice on what you can do to ease your pet into this next stage of their life. For more information or even just to call us for a chat, click here.
For now, cat-companions, we’ll see you in the next one!