It may be hard to believe the kitten who used to leap from your kitchen counter to the top of the refrigerator is now a senior citizen, moving a lot slower than they used to. Feline osteoarthritis can affect cats in a variety of joints. Fortunately, there are plenty of home remedies you can offer to give natural pain relief for cats with arthritis.
Symptoms of arthritis
Of course, your cat has slowed down in their old age, but pay attention to them and carefully watch how they move. Your four-legged friend may be hesitant about jumping onto the couch with you, or climbing steps much more deliberately than normal. Getting in and out of the litter box may be more of an event than previously, so they may have more accidents than they've had in the past. Cuddles can change too; your cat may not care to be petted or picked up like they did in their younger days.
Arthritis can affect both old and young cats. Lethargy, stiffness, lameness, muscle wasting, decreased energy, a higher level of irritability or aggression, and loss of flexibility are all signs that your cat is having joint pains.
Veterinary help for cat arthritis
The vet can confirm your cat's arthritis with an exam and X-rays. As well, there are a variety of medications the vet can prescribe, including pain medication and anti-inflammatories to give your cat some relief. Sometimes, a corticosteroid is helpful for a short period of time to decrease inflammation. There's no cure for arthritis, but you can manage your cat's symptoms.
Cat arthritis supplements
Green-lipped mussel extract helps dogs, horses, and cats cope with arthritic joints. It contains chondroitin, glycosaminoglycans, and glucosamine sulphate, in addition to other helpful ingredients such as minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. Remember, even when supplements come with dosing instructions, you need to speak to your vet about what is best for your cat and follow their instructions.
Your vet may be able to recommend a supplement with chondroitin sulphate and glucosamine, which can help a mild case of arthritis. Those supplements may be challenging to administer, as they require a long-term commitment — potentially to your cat's dismay, as they're in powder or capsule form that you must serve with food.
Arthritis in cats home remedies
If you want to go with natural remedies to ease your cat's discomfort, there are a variety of homeopathic options. Two choices include arnica, effective for pain and swelling after an accident, and turmeric, a natural anti-inflammatory. If you want to use a homeopathic remedy, consult a veterinarian to learn about potential interactions or complications, as well as dosing information.
Make lifestyle changes
You don't have to brew a tea, give a shot, or pop a pill to make your beloved senior cat more comfortable. If your cat is carrying some extra weight, the first order of business is for them to get to a healthy weight. Carrying extra ounces — or pounds — will put more stress on their joints. Weight loss should be gradual; cats who lose weight too quickly can become seriously ill. A little exercise will help your cat, usually in the form of brief, gentle play, as well as gentle massage.
Your vet can show you what's appropriate for your cat and what should be avoided. Make sure their litter box is easily accessible, and make sure they have a cozy bed or blanket — or two — available to snuggle up in. Raise their food and water bowls so they can easily eat and drink. If your cat is having problems climbing onto your bed or couch, consider adding pet stairs, ramps, or stools next to your soft furnishings so your cat can easily cuddle with you. You can gently groom your four-legged friend, keeping them tidy in the places they can't quite reach anymore. Sometimes cats find a warm compress on their sore joints soothing.