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Recognizing arthritis in your cat can be quite challenging. Most of the cats tend to hide their pain effectively. While you might see some of the older cats favoring one leg or limping, arthritic cats on the whole become less active with time. They spend a lot of their time resting and sleeping. They might think twice before jumping on to surfaces that were very accessible to them previously.
In fact, a lot of pet owners mistake the arthritic symptoms for those of normal aging. Quite too often, we assume that it is normal for senior cats to be less active and sleep more without wondering whether pain is responsible for it. In fact, a lot of people think that their arthritic cat is displaying better behavior or learning manners because he no longer jumps at the kitchen countertop the way he used to.
What can we do about this? First and foremost, if you doubt that your cat is hurting, assume that is the case and take the appropriate measures:
• Give him joint supplements that contain chondroitin and glucosamine to help with the joint pain.
• It is a good idea to add omega-3 fatty acids to his diet to relieve the pain caused by arthritis.
• Adequan is another medication that comes in the form of an injection and is quite effective at relieving arthritic pain and is effective on most cats.
• There are many other medications that can relieve your cat’s pain and they might be necessary if none of the previous options work. These include gabapentin, tramadol, fentanyl and others. Your vet can help you decide on the best course of medication for your cat.
• For a lot of the cats, alternative therapies like hydrotherapy, acupuncture and massage can help with easing arthritic pain.
• Appropriate weight loss can help to relieve the pressure and stress on the more sensitive joints and make it more comfortable for the arthritic cats. Consult with the vet to establish an effective and safe weight loss plan if you have a cat that is overweight and arthritic.
• Exercise can also help in keeping the muscles and joints supple. It is a great way for your cat to burn some calories and shed weight, if necessary.
• Provide your cat with really soft bedding in the form of a blanket or a pet bed in which he can rest or sleep.
• Make sure that his litter box is easily accessible. Place it in a location where it is easy for him to enter and let himself out. Do not place the litter box in an attic or a basement that is far from where your cat spends most of his time during the day. You can also choose to use a litter box with a low side for easy access.