With cold weather upon us, joint pain is a greater threat to pets. Owners often miss signs of arthritis in cats, simply assuming their cat is getting older and less active. Research has shown that as many as 70 to 90 percent of older cats suffer from arthritis.
Dogs with arthritis often suffer from lameness, but cats tend to be more subtle. A cat with arthritis will often just adjust its lifestyle. He or she might stop hopping up on the bed or the sofa to rest and may stop using the litter box if it’s too difficult to get to. You may notice your cat playing less or doing more grooming – often licking at a specific spot. Some cats will cry out when picked up as an indication of pain. Others will hiss or threaten to bite if their painful joints are handled. Any and all of these signs may indicate the development of arthritis.
Cats are sensitive to many of the pain medications that are routinely dispensed for dogs and/or people. There are ways to help your cat’s comfort just by adjusting your care. Make sure your cat has a warm place to rest and add a step stool or footstool to help your cat reach its favorite resting spots.
You may also consider speaking to your vet about a joint supplement for cats. Liquids, powders, gels and tablets are all options for helping to lubricate your cat’s joints. Joint supplements alone may make your cat more comfortable and active, if not, your vet may suggest a prescription medication. Over the counter medications used for people, such as Tylenol, are extremely dangerous and potentially fatal for cats. Always speak with your pet’s veterinarian regarding the best treatment plan for your individual animal.