Older cats can develop arthritis in their joints, just like their human owners. It can become difficult for your cat to jump up or down from high places. They may have problems using the litter box. Your aging cat can still live a comfortable life in spite of the degeneration in their joints. Here is how to help them to be comfortable in their senior years.
Make Some Changes in Their Diet
Talk with your veterinarian about the latest foods available that may make your arthritic cat more comfortable. A low-calorie, high-protein diet helps your cat to stay lean and keep the weight off of those sore joints. Foods high in omega 3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect to keep the swelling down in their joints. Vitamin D enriched foods give your cat's body the calcium it needs to replace the degenerated bone in their joints.
Add Helpful Food Supplements
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate are two supplements that help to repair the cartilage in your cat's joints. Healthy cartilage cushions the bones in the joints as your cat moves. This creates less friction in the joints that causes pain and inflammation.
Ask About Medications To Relieve the Pain
Your veterinarian will also have recommendations regarding medications that your cat can take safely to reduce pain and inflammation. While dogs can take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, these are toxic to your cat. A type of synthetic opiate, called buprenorphine, can be taken by your cat in low doses to relieve joint pain and inflammation.
Steroid Injections for Short-Term Relief
Your vet can give your cat steroid injections directly into their joints for immediate relief of severe pain and inflammation. Long-term use of steroids this way will compromise your cat's immune system, making them vulnerable to illness. The use of these injections is restricted to every few months when your cat may be struggling the most with joint pain.
Consider alternative pet therapy in your area by looking for someone who does acupuncture on pets. You may find a private practitioner who specializes in pet acupuncture. Some veterinarian clinics are now hiring staff trained in this technique. Many pets tolerate this treatment and gain some relief from joint pain and inflammation. There are no negative side effects from acupuncture for your cat, so they can have as many sessions as they can tolerate to treat the pain.
Rearrange Your Home for Your Cat's Comfort
As you see your cat struggle to make their way through your house, make some changes so your cat can get to their favorite spots easily. This might include:
- Placing cat beds and other favorite napping spots on the floor.
- Building ramps for your cat to use should they insist on getting up on a bed or other high place to rest.
- Creating out-of-the-way hiding spots for your cat to relax in to get away from hectic and noisy household activities.
- Buying a litter box with a low ledge that's easier for your cat to step over to get into the box.