Caring for a Cat with Arthritis in Boston, MA
When we think of cats, we often think about their remarkable agility and speed. Graceful or not, their acrobatics can be amazing to see. Still, cats are not immune to arthritis, which may occur as a result of their age, weight, an injury, or heritable condition. Arthritis causes inflammation of the joints and the gradual deterioration of cartilage in the joints. This, in turn, can result in the bones in the affected joint rubbing against each other, causing further wear and tear over time. Our clinic in Boston, MA can offer a variety of solutions to help relieve your pet’s pain and possibly improve their mobility, too.
Signs of Pain in Cats
A cat with arthritis is likely to experience pain and stiffness in their joints, which can limit other activities they typically enjoy and diminish their quality of life.
Signs of pain in cats include:
- Decreased activity
- Reluctance or inability to jump up/down
- Decreased mobility
- Slower, more tentative gait
- Low tolerance for being petted, brushed, and handled in general
- Decreased appetite
- Eliminating outside of litter box
Treatments that Can Provide Pain Relief for Cats
The best way for us to make your cat’s arthritis manageable is to reduce their joint pain as much as possible. Their treatment plan will also depend on what caused their arthritis, and how much damage the joint has sustained. Additionally, if we are going to indicate an anti-inflammatory pain relief medication (NSAID), we will need to evaluate their medical history and ensure that the medication is safe to give.
Depending on what has caused your cat’s arthritis, we can pursue a variety of options, including:
- Getting your cat down to a healthier weight and easing the strain on their joints
- Encouraging your cat to play more often
- Limiting your cat’s caloric intake and giving them a diet that reduces both calories and feelings of hunger
- Feeding your cat separately from your other cats (if you have a multi-cat household)
- Physical therapy, which may include massage, stretching, and range of motion exercises
- Joint supplements, such as glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids
- Prescription medication for pain and inflammation relief*
- Laser therapy to soothe inflammation and decrease pain
- Acupuncture to stimulate healing and pain relief
- Using a heated cat bed or pet-safe heating pad to soothe your pet’s achy joints
- Rearrange your furniture and invest in step ladders and/or ramps to make getting around easier
- Having your cat eat and drink out of raised bowls so they won’t have to bend their head down
- Use low-sided litter boxes for easier access
*If we prescribe medication for your cat, they will need to have routine blood work performed. This is to ensure that their liver and kidneys are functioning well, and their risk for side effects is low.