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How to keep an arthritic cat comfortable at home

October 21, 2020

An arthritic cat is likely to be very uncomfortable and irritable, even more so as their condition progresses over time. Getting them diagnosed by a vet as early as possible will allow treatment to commence, with the aim of reducing pain and improving their symptoms. You can also help them live a more comfortable life by making some changes at home.

Call us on 01327 350239 for advice on arthritis

Feline arthritis (osteoarthritis) isn’t curable, but it is treatable. Causes include:

  • Genetics – some breeds are predisposed to inherited cartilage weakness.
  • Wear & tear – just a cat living a normal life.
  • Injuries – joints damaged through trauma & dislocations can lead to arthritis in later life.

Symptoms to look out for include difficulty jumping or using the stairs, limping, constant or intermittent stiffness, more prominent shoulder blades due to muscle wastage (may look thinner in this area), over-grooming/licking certain areas or joints, swollen or hot joints, unkempt or matted fur along their back/bottom, and being a bit more grumpy than usual especially when touched.

Signs can be tricky to spot, can come on slowly, and be intermittent. If you think your cat could have arthritis, it’s well worth booking a vet health check to discuss treatment options. In the meantime, our head vet Helen has this advice:

7 ways to provide comfortable care at home for arthritic cats

  1. Comfortable beds – Put a selection of comfy beds around your home at different heights for your cat to choose from, remembering they may struggle when jumping. Orthopaedic memory foam beds and heat pads can be particularly helpful for aching joints.
  2. Raised food bowls – Reduce the need for your cat to bend down to eat and drink as this can be painful. You can buy raised bowls, or simply place something underneath their current bowls.
  3. Specialist diet – Specialist joint diets can help cats long term as they contain ingredients to support joint health. Talk to our team about how best to change your cat’s food slowly and safely.
  4. Weight watch – Being overweight will exacerbate already sore and aching joints. Keeping your cat slim will help to lessen the strain.
  5. Accessible litter trays – To help with mobility issues, use indoor litter trays with low sides and ensure they’re accessible on every floor of your home.
  6. Ramps & steps – Give your arthritic cat a little help by placing pet steps or ramps next to settees or beds if that’s where they’re used to hanging out.
  7. Keep warm – The cold affects arthritis so it’s important to give your cat a warm place to rest indoors as the autumnal weather sets in. Move beds away from draughts and gently dry their fur when they come in from the rain. On particularly cold days, place a heat-pad under your cat’s bed for extra warmth.

If you have any questions about feline arthritis and what can be done to help your arthritic cat, give our team a call. Contact Us.

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