Arthritis is something that can effect a wide range of beings, from humans all the way down to our feline friends. Because we understand the struggle, it's only natural that you'd want to help your cat to be as comfortable as possible!
The good news is that while arthritis can be an uncomfortable condition, it's not one that tends to be threatening. That said, surgery to remedy the situation can be quite expensive. In addition, there are medications that may be useful, but you'll want to make sure you understand the potential side effects that may come with them. The more knowledge you have, the better your chances are of making good choices for your pet.
In this article, you'll learn all about arthritis in cats, and what options you have to keep your cat healthy and happy!
What Is Cat Arthritis?
Cat arthritis, or osteoarthritis, is a disease that results from the aging and degeneration of joints. Just like in humans, there is a natural padding in the joints of cats that can wear down over time, resulting in movement that is uncomfortable and difficult.
In most cases, this condition is one that is quite common in older cats, especially if they are overweight. However, it can show up earlier in the lives of some cats. It's also worth keeping in mind that this is a condition that can become worse as your cat continues to age.
What Causes Cat Arthritis?
In most cases, feline arthritis is due to the natural wear on the joints of your cat over time. In addition, there can be some cases in which there are aggravating factors that make it more likely for your cat to develop the condition. These can include excess weight, infections or injuries.
Basically, cats have cartilage in their joints that allows those joints to move smoothly and comfortably. As they grow older, that cartilage can wear down and doesn't regenerate as well. This results in the bones within the joint being more likely to grind and become uncomfortable.
Cat Arthritis Symptoms
In most cases, pet owners can begin to notice the signs of arthritis in the way their cat moves. They may take longer to get up, have difficulty getting up or down stairs, or generally seem to be uncomfortable. It's also worth noting that because arthritis is more of an ache than an intense pain, cats aren't likely to show their discomfort in obvious ways.
Common arthritis symptoms include:
- A noticeable decrease in muscle mass
- Hesitation or reluctance towards jumping
- Changes in the way they walk
- Having trouble getting up after laying down
- Struggling when going upstairs
Something else you might notice in your cat is that they are less willing to play or jump onto taller surfaces. Instead, they may spend more time sleeping, or may look at places they'd like to jump up to, but avoid doing so.
Cold Weather and Cat Arthritis
Humans who have experienced arthritis know that the stiffness they feel can become worse in cold weather. Because if the effects that cold weather can have on joints, the same is also true for our feline friends. Joints already have a tendency to become more stiff in the cold, so this can result in more arthritis discomfort as well.
To avoid cooler temperatures becoming a problem for your cat, it's a good idea to keep them warm and comfortable. If your cat spends time outside, either keeping them inside when it's cold or making sure they have a warm place to go can help them greatly.
Something like a sleeping mat that is heated is a great choice for arthritic cats. Furthermore, helping them to get some gentle, regular exercise can help to keep them healthier and more comfortable. Cats can tend to avoid exercise in the cold, which can worsen the stiffness in their joints.
Natural Cat Arthritis Treatments
Not everyone is a fan of the standard options out there for arthritis. In all fairness, the options are few and they can be expensive or include unwanted side effects. Luckily, you have options when it comes to pain relief for cats in the form of home remedies!
For those who prefer natural options, cat arthritis supplements can be an ideal choice to help their pet with arthritis. There are a variety of natural substances like boswellia, turmeric and more that are capable of fighting off inflammation in the body that results in your pet experiencing discomfort.
It's a good idea to talk to your vet about these options, especially if your pet sees a holistic vet. That way, you can get a good idea about what supplements to use and how to use them to create the best possible effects. Fatty acids are also often a useful tool for arthritis!
This is a useful tool for cats who are overweight. That excess weight can really cause more wear on your cat's joints, which can lead to more problems with things like arthritis. On top of that, it can also cause illnesses like diabetes, or generally leave your cat in poor condition.
Your vet can help to guide you through how much to feed your cat and how often. That way, you can give your cat just the food they need and help to bring them down to a healthier weight. Once they've lost the excess, you'll be sure to see improvements in their ability to move and play.
There are a few other options out there that some pet owners may want to explore. Some of the options out there include simply making your home more friendly to an arthritic cat. This can include providing small ramps and easier ways to reach high points comfortably.
In addition, some may opt to look into acupuncture for their cat as a means of easing the pain. If you want to take this route, make sure that you locate a vet who has received proper training. That way, the acupuncture can be completed safely and efficiently to best help your cat.
Medical Cat Arthritis Treatments
Many can find that the standard options out there can be quite helpful for their cats. Your vet will also be able to give you some options for what to expect from each treatment option and help you to select the best arthritis medicine for cats.
There are some medicinal options out there that you can give your cat for arthritis pain, made to assist your cat with getting around. Often, these medications are NSAIDs, much like the aspirin or ibuprofen that humans may use. However, keep in mind that it's not a good idea to give your cat human painkillers.
Instead, your vet will prescribe or recommend the ideal options to help your cat. When you've gathered this information, make sure that you do some research on these painkillers. That way, you're armed with information about potential side effects and complications that can occur.
Surgery can also be an option in cases when arthritis in your cat has become severe. Just like in humans, cats can receive replacements for hips, elbows and sometimes other areas that are especially troublesome. In addition, implants can be placed in smaller areas to assist with movement.
Surgery is certainly a viable option, but it's worth keeping in mind that it can take months for your cat recovering from surgery. On top of that, these kinds of surgeries can be quite expensive. Make sure to discuss the options with your vet to find the best course to provide comfort and care for your cat.
Helping Your Cat To Be Comfortable
In just about every case of feline arthritis, helping your cat to avoid pain is a key part of managing the symptoms. This tends to include making it easier for your cat to get around. For example, making sure they can easily get in and out of their litter box, and access food and water.
In addition, you may want to find ways to help them with obstacles like stairs or taller pieces of cat furniture. That way, they can be mobile without the pain of jumping or intense joint use. Another option that has become more popular is the use of CBD.
CBD For Cats
CBD is a supplement that has been growing in popularity, due to the natural benefits it can offer. One of the key features of CBD is that it's great for doing away with inflammation in the body. Because of that, it can be especially useful for things like arthritis pain.
Furthermore, CBD can also assist with seizures and improve the appetites of pets that are having trouble eating. You can also provide CBD to a range of pets from cats to dogs and even horses. It's just a matter of making sure each pet gets the correct dose, based on their weight.
CBD For Cat Arthritis
The source of pain for cats with arthritis is in the inflammation that occurs due to the lack of cartilage. Many of the medications that can be prescribed by vets aim at stopping this inflammation to ease the pain. However, they can often include side effects that may end up being worse than the arthritis itself. For example, NSAIDS can effect organs like the liver and kidneys, creating negative effects in the long term.
With CBD, arthritis can be relieved pretty greatly. Some owners may choose to use CBD oil for arthritis alongside another natural anti-inflammatory for cats to create better results. If this sounds like an option that would work well for your cat, then make sure you're familiar with the ideal CBD dose for arthritis in cats.
Because of this, more people are turning to natural arthritis treatments for cats like CBD. CBD and arthritis almost seem to be natural enemies, making the product a helpful tool in giving your cat a bit more comfort. It's natural, safe and easy to administer to feline friends!
Top CBD Products
If you make the choice to try out CBD for your pet, it's important to seek out CBD products that are high quality and organic. The organic aspect is especially important because the hemp plants used in the creation of the CBD can absorb chemicals from the ground they're in.
The good news is that companies like Innovet offer CBD products that are safe, organic and made to address the needs of many different kinds of pets. The CBD comes in a variety of forms from oil, to treats and even pills, ensuring that you can get what will work best for your furry friend.
CBD oil is a perfect choice for arthritic cats. We all know that pets can be extremely picky eaters. They may simply refuse treats or other edible forms of CBD, and they are notoriously hard to give pills to! This can make medications provided by a vet even more difficult to administer.
However, you can easily place a drop or two of this CBD oil for cats in their mouth, and due to the liquid nature they won't be able to simply spit it out. If that is still too difficult, then they surely won't notice a small amount of it mixed into their meals!
CBD Treats And More
Another option that is worth looking into is Innovet's Hemp Protect Balm. This can be a useful option for applying topically to pets with arthritis.
Innovet also offers some fantastic CBD treats, which can work well if you have other pets in the home who can benefit from it, such as dogs and horses. CBD dog treats can be a fantastic way to make sure that the canines in your life also get the benefits of CBD. Pets don't have to be suffering from an illness or condition to receive benefits from these products. In fact, they can work as a great supplement and preventative measure to keep healthy pets feeling fantastic!
Cat Arthritis: The Bottom Line
Arthritis can be tough on cats and humans alike. Because we don't want our beloved felines to suffer, many cat owners want to know what options they have to help their pet. The good news is, there are a decent amount of options out there designed to ease the pain of arthritis.
Understanding those options can help you to make sure your cat gets the best possible care. Alongside your vet, you'll be able to find the best plan for your cat. Don't forget about the natural options available to you while you're seeking ways to make your pet more comfortable!
Dr. Ivana Vukasinovic
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade
Ivana Vukasinovic grew up in Serbia and attended the University of Belgrade where she received a degree in Veterinary medicine in 2012 and later completed surgical residency working mostly with livestock. Her first year of practice was split between busy small animal practice and emergency clinic, and after two more years of treating many different species of animals, she opened her own veterinary pharmacy where an interest in canine and feline nutrition emerged with an accent on fighting animal obesity. In her free time, she acts as a foster parent for stray animals before their adoption, likes to read SF books and making salted caramel cookies.
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The Innovet Team
Please do not ask for emergency or specific medical questions about your pets in the comments. Innovet Pet Products is unable to provide you with specific medical advice or counseling. A detailed physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinarian are required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet requires emergency attention or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic health conditions, please contact or visit your local/preferred veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.
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