Arthritis is not just a condition that can affect humans, did you know that it can also affect your feline friends? Here, our Hoquiam vets share some information about how changing your cat's diet can help manage the symptoms of arthritis.
While it is still a fairly recent discovery, cats can develop arthritis as they age just like people do. Unfortunately, this can be difficult to notice the signs as cats will hide the pain caused by arthritis just as they do with other types of pain and discomfort.
Arthritis Affecting Older Cats
Cats are living longer than before which means vets are seeing more health conditions that are normally seen in older cats like arthritis. The problem with this is that the research into medications to assist cats with this condition is not as advanced as it is for other species.
Symptoms of Arthritis in Aging Cats
Some of the commonly seen symptoms of arthritis in cats are:
- Difficulty jumping to places they used to
- Avoiding climbing up stairs or furniture
- Limping or stiffness
- Refusing to use the litter box
- Lack of grooming
- Matted fur
- Increased irritability
- Sleeping more often than usual
- Lack of interest in activities
- Using the scratch post less
Treating Arthritis Symptoms in Cats
The pharmaceutical companies can’t adjust the dosage as they do with some human or other animal medications to give to cats because the types of medications used for arthritis in humans and dogs are toxic to cats. Some drugs can mask the pain but it is normally reserved for later in the condition. One of the possible treatment options for cats experiencing arthritis pain is to change their diet to one that will help alleviate these symptoms.
How Changing Your Cats Diet Can Help
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. Putting your cat on a diet to reduce the weight that your cat has it is hoped that it will reduce the strain on their joints. It has also been shown that the extra fat on an obese cat namely the white fat can cause hormones to be released that cause inflammation. Anything that causes inflammation should be avoided because that is what arthritis is, inflammation of the joints.
By monitoring your cat's weight and ensuring they live at a healthy weight you can also help them reduce and manage the symptoms of arthritis.
Diet and Supplements to Help Treat Your Cat's Arthritis
Confirm with your veterinarian about a weight loss plan for your cat if they are obese. You want to have your cat on a diet that keeps them lean.
Your cat will need sufficient protein to maintain muscles that support the joints. The objective is to reduce fat on the cat, not muscle.
Something that is recommended for joint issues is fish oil supplements. The Omega-3 fatty acid has been shown to have a beneficial effect on joint health. The downside is it does add calories which can undo the desired weight loss in the diet. We recommend consulting with your vet to find the right nutritional balance to try and manage their condition.
Along with having a healthy, lean yet protein-rich diet and omega fatty acids, your cat may also benefit from the addition of a joint supplement, also known as a chondroprotective agent. This supplement will help improve the cartilage health of your cat while providing some anti-inflammatory benefits. Speak with your Hoquiam vet to learn more about supplements that may be a great addition to your cat's diet.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition or boarding needs, please make an appointment with your vet.