Although rather rare in felines, Arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease, causes pain and inflammation in a cat’s joints...
Felines suffering from arthritis may display swelling of the joints, lassitude, lameness, overall stiffness, decreased flexibility and distress when you pet or handle them in certain positions. You may also notice subtle behavioral changes such as decreased activity inconsistent litter box habits because of the pain caused by getting in and out of the box and diffidence to run, jump or climb stairs
By nature, joints deteriorate as part of the aging process. Cartilage shapes a cushion between the bones at a joint. As cats grow older, the cartilage weakens and becomes loses elasticity.
Arthritis can arise as a result of an injury, dislocation or infection in the joint. Excess weight can also put extra strain on a cat’s joints.
A veterinarian may perform a physical exam, take radiographs and carry out other diagnostic tests to help establish the cause of the pain and inflammation in your feline’s joints.
Arthritis most frequently affects older cats, as their joints degenerate as you would expect as part of the aging process; but can occur as consequence of trauma or infection in cats of all ages.
Once symptoms of arthritis settle in, there is no restore-to-health remedy; however you can work with your veterinarian to reduce your cat’s pain while keeping him/her healthy. There are wonderful anti-inflammatory/pain medications available. You can also use nutritional supplements to assist in replenishing cartilage. There is also the weight loss method if need be--which has been proven to benefit overweight cats with arthritis.
Consult with your veterinarian about an exercise agenda for your kitty. Brief, gentle play can be helpful in many instances, but you’ll need to initiate these sessions slowly and in stages. Energetic play involving jumping, soaring, and turning is to be shunned.
If your cat has arthritis, there are a few things you can do to make him/her feel better: Provide him/her with a comfortable blanket or soft, supple cat bed, when he/she is tranquil and composed, give him/her a gentle massage, tenderly groom the areas of his/ her body that may a challenge for him/her to reach and make certain he/she has trouble-free, undeviating access to his/her litter box, food and water bowls.
Just a little extra loving care is all it takes, not much, but the rewards will be amazing.