Arthritis is one of the most highly prevalent ailments in senior cats. It causes changes to their joints that can be quite painful. The pain is the primary reason for most of the signs associated with the condition. Here are some of the most common signs:
Limping – You might begin to notice your cat limping or favoring one leg over another, depending on which of his joints is arthritic. In certain cases, the limp might seem far worse when your pet rises and becomes less conspicuous as he begins to move around.
Difficulty moving – Your cat might become reluctant to do some things that were previously much easier for him to accomplish. For example, your cat might find it much more difficult to go up and down the stairs. He will also stop jumping onto the perches, countertops and other high areas because of the discomfort and pain.
Spinal issues – Arthritic changes affect not only the joints in the legs but also parts of your cat’s spine. These changes lead to a sore neck, an abnormally hunched posture, or lameness in the hind legs.
Tiredness – Your cat will get tired more easily. This means that his walks will become shorter and more painful. He will spend most of his time resting or sleeping.
Irritability – Arthritic animals are more irritable. They tend to bite or snap when they are handled or approached, particularly if the handling or petting takes place in a way that adds to their pain.
Muscular atrophy – Since arthritic cats do not move around much, they often end up developing muscular atrophy due to inactivity and a decrease in the use of their muscles. If the muscles in your pet’s legs are atrophied, they will look much thinner than a normal leg.
Chewing, licking and biting – Pets that are affected by arthritis tend to chew, lick at or bite at body parts that are painful. In certain cases, it leads to hair loss and inflamed skin over the affected areas.
Though arthritis cannot be completely cured, there are a number of procedures and remedies that can help ease your pet’s pain. Consult with the vet for advice if you believe that your cat is suffering from arthritis. Arthritis can be particularly hard to spot in cats. In most cases, the only sign of the condition is a marked drop in activity levels. Often, this behavioral change corresponds to aging and most pet owners tend to think that this change is normal when, in reality, they decrease their activity level because of arthritic pain. If obesity is the cause of arthritis in your cat, your pet will be able to recommend a specially formulated diet plan to deal with the problem.
With button noses, itty-bitty teeth and silky feelers, it is impossible not to fall in love with a kitten. However, as a lot of pet owners can personally attest, their adorable little fluff balls can wreak a lot of havoc by sprinting around in your house, tackling their feet under your favorite covers and climbing up your fine threaded curtains on a regular basis. Let us look deeper into why kittens behave the way they do and how to calm them down when they are revved up.
The energy level of your kitten depends on his age. At around eight weeks, your kitten will start to get active but will not be coordinated enough to scale up the curtains in the house. As they grow older, their energy and coordination will increase and you will start to see them leaping, chasing and jumping on things. They will even playfully attack you from time to time.
As a pet owner, you need to understand that cats are obligate carnivores and they use their predatory instincts to hunt by exploring their surroundings. You need to harness their instincts into something more productive by providing your kitten with plenty of regular and consistent playtime.
How to go about it?
Though it might look like it is impossible to entertain your cat without amassing battle wounds in the form of bites, scratches and ruined upholstery, there are plenty of options to channel your kitten’s energy to calm him down. If you want to adopt a kitten, or have a feisty one already, consider the following tips:
Do not use your body – If you are going to play with your kitten, you need to do it in a way that does not encourage them to use your body as a toy. Encourage your kitten to nibble on cat toys instead of fingers and hands, as that can lead to inappropriate behavior as they grow older.
Mimic hunting – Tap into the natural instincts of your kitten by replicating the hunt cycle that your cat is hardwired to perform. Use a toy that they can chase instead of actual prey, especially one that mimics a bird or a bug.
Redirect your kitten’s energy – If you are tired but your kitten isn’t, give them a bouncy ball so that they can redirect their energy and tire themselves out. Do not touch or restrain your kitten as it will arouse them even more.
Cool down – Think about your cat’s playtime the same way as you would your own exercise regime and incorporate some time for them to warm up to it and cool down after. As you wind down the play, slow your movements and allow your cat to chase after his toy in a more leisurely fashion to signal to him that it is time to relax. If you stop the pla without cooling down, there is a good chance that your kitten will go after you as you are the only moving object in front of him.
Cats sleep for quite long hours. However, when they are not sleeping, they can be extremely active. These active periods mostly occur during the night. In case your cat tries to wake you up when you have already gone to bed, it means that it wants to play or eat. Or he may just want to enjoy your company. So if your cat is young, this activity could deprive you of your sleep.
This nocturnal behavior is understandable as the African wildcat is the modern cat’s ancestor. The former is predominantly nocturnal. Domestication has moved the activity pattern of the cat to be diurnal. However, a majority of cats continue to wake up a minimum of two times during the course of the night. One good news for you is that they can be learned to let the owners sleep in complete peace.
Find out whether medical problems keeps your cat awake
In case the cat wanders around the house in a restless condition crying or meowing, it could be suffering. This could well turn out to be a medical problem causing discomfort or pain. If you believe this is the case, take the cat to the vet for ruling out any kind of medical issues. You can be sure of a medical problem if the animal meows excessively both during night and day.
If you want to prevent the cat from disturbing you at the time when you want to sleep, you can try a few suggestions like scheduling few play sessions with the cat in the evening. Buy toys which can replicate mice and birds’ movement. You can place toys which wiggle and dangle. If your cat like to fetch, start games like ping pong balls, furry mice toys and soft balls. You should continue to play until the cat becomes tired.
You can feed the cat a good meal a little before bedtime. Cats usually sleep off post heavy meals. In case your cat continues to disturb you during the night, it may be hungry and it was asking for food. Buy a timed feeder. If the cat is hungry, it could learn to wait by feeder and not bother you while you slept. Do reduce the size of the meal so that no weight is gained by the cat. You should also include a number of enrichment activities. This will keep the cat busy during day time. An active cat during day times means it will sleep during the night.
In case your cat is friendly with other cats, do consider getting a second cat. In case the two cats are compatible, they will play with one another during he night and not disturb you at all. Do understand that the romping cats could make a good amount of noise.
Pet owners who have spent a lot of time with their cat might have begun to notice certain weird habits in their feline companion. Let us take a look at some of the most prevalent odd behaviors in cats and try to get to the bottom of why they do them:
Kneading – If you have been with a cat long enough, you might have noticed him kneading from time to time. He will rhythmically alternate his paw and push it in and out against a sot surface. While there is no consensus as to why cats take to this behavior, there are a couple of theories. Kittens tend to instinctively knead to help their moms with producing milk. There are animal behaviorists who think that cats continue this behavior as they grow older as this tends to remind them of the rewards of nursing. Some pet trainers also believe that cats knead to show affection or to limber up and prepare a comfortable and soft spot to lie down in. It is also a handy way to mark their territory.
Chewing up plants – Most of the cats chew on dangling leaves, because it’s a lot of fun. They also do it because they derive a lot of comfort from the act, and it is an easy way for them to get your attention. As the old adage goes, too much of a good thing can be bad for your cat. If he eats a lot of plants or grass, he will throw up. Animal behaviorists are not sure as to whether cats do this to cough up hairballs, or whether it is just a coincidence.
Bringing gifts – Cats are natural born hunters and you will see them stalking for prey from time to time. We are sure that you like bringing home delicious treats to your cat to tell him how much you love him. The furry dead animal he brings to your doorstep is no different. It is his way of telling you how much he cares about you.
Rolling – You might have seen this behavior in your cat umpteen times. You approach him to say hello and he throws himself to the ground, rolls on his back and exposes his tummy to you. It actually means that they are calm, comfortable and content. If your cat does this, he is telling you that he loves you and trusts you completely.
Face rubbing – The cheeks of a cat contain glands that they use to deposit their unique scent. If your cat rubs his cheeks against everything he sees, that means that he is being territorial. He is actually marking off the regions that he considers his own.
Adopting a cat is one of the best ways to support the local pet shelter and a great way to bring some cuddly, furry love into your life. Here are a few reasons you should adopt a cat today:
They are independent – Cats are independent creatures and require little to no supervision. This makes them the perfect choice for city dwellers, workaholics, people who live in apartments and people who are generally mellow. While you can walk your cat if you feel like it, it is not essential to their daily lifestyle.
They are cuddly – Just because they are independent does not mean that they do not like a good cuddle. And unlike large breed dogs that don’t belong on your lap, cats fit in there quite snugly. Plus, they are fuzzy and warm, making them purr-fect material for snuggling.
They groom themselves – Have you ever tried getting a cat into water? If you have, you know that you end up with your fair share of scratches. Cats bathe themselves and leave you with one less chore to attend to. It is win-win for both the parties.
You don’t have to housebreak them – Apart from bathing themselves, most cats are instinctively potty trained. You just have to set up a litter box and your cat will learn how to make use of it without any instruction. If you adopt a cat, you can come home as late as you want and don’t have to take your cat outside to pee.
They are avid hunters – If you are not a fan of mice, lizards or giant beetles, cats are the perfect pet for your household. They are skilled hunters and will help keep the reptile, mammal and bug population down in your home.
They are great entertainers – Cats are capable of entertaining themselves with boxes, toys, drawers and pretty much anything they can get their paws on. Give your cat a window and he can spend hours watching what is going on in the street and plotting world dominance.
Couch companion – Cats spend around 15 hours a day sleeping. This means they will never make you feel guilty about lazing around all day, spread-eagled on your sofa, eating ice cream.
You are giving home to an abandoned animal – Over 8 million dogs and cats are carted off to animal shelters each year and around 4 million of them are euthanized. By choosing to adopt a cat, you are single handedly saving a life. That is quite a big deal.
They are good for your health – Having a pet cat will significantly lower your blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. Just stroking a cat releases endorphins in your brain that make you feel good.