Posted on: 27 November 2015Share
You notice that your cat doesn't jump up on things as often. When they do, jumping down appears to be painful for them. Your cat may have arthritis, which attacks their joints and can make it painful to move. A visit to your local vet services will confirm your suspicions. While not a fatal disease, your feline companion will need some help to be comfortable. Here is what you need to know about this disease and what you can do to help your cat live with it for the rest of its life.
A Persistent and Incurable Disease
As in humans, arthritis attacks the joints by wearing away the cartilage that keeps the bones from rubbing together. Without this protection, each time the cat moves, the ends of the bones rub together and cause inflammation in the joint. This creates the pain and stiffness when your cat moves. There is no cure for arthritis, and the disease will slowly cause the joints to degenerate. There are a number of ways that you and your veterinarian can make your cat more comfortable.
Changes in Diet
Ask your vet about a low-calorie, high-protein diet that keeps the weight off of your cat's joints, yet gives them the energy they need. Omega 3 fatty acids in foods have an anti-inflammatory benefit to keep the joints from becoming swollen. Foods high in vitamin D and calcium provide the building blocks for new bone tissue in the joints.
Two food supplements, glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate, help to repair the damaged cartilage in the joints. This reduces the pain and inflammation in the affected joints when your cat moves.
An animal hospital (such as Capitol Animal Clinic) can also prescribe low doses of buprenorphine for the pain. Buprenorphine is a synthetic opiate which can be given safely to cats to relieve pain and inflammation in their joints.
For short-term relief from severe pain, your vet can give your cat an injection of steroids directly into the joint. This causes immediate relief from pain and inflammation. Long-term use of steroids reduces the immune system's effectiveness, so this treatment can only be given every few months.
Some cats respond to acupuncture, which increases circulation in the joints, and reduces inflammation. This treatment has no negative side effects, so your cat can receive this treatment as often as they can tolerate a trip to the vet.
Place a heating pad under your cat's favorite sleeping area. The heat warms the joints and increases circulation, reducing the pain and swelling.