Caring for your arthritic cat - KLFY News 10

Caring for your arthritic cat

Updated:
© Comstock / Thinkstock © Comstock / Thinkstock

By Dr. Jessica Vogelsang
 

"My cat's slowing down with age." "My cat can't jump onto the counter to get its food the way it used to." "My cat once loved being petted, but now it gets crabby when I rub its back."

Sound familiar? It's possible your senior cat has arthritis. Being the elusive and secretive beings that they are, cats often show very subtle signs of arthritis that may go unnoticed unless the owner is looking for them. The exact prevalence of arthritis in cats is unknown, with estimates ranging widely depending on the study, but most clinicians agree it is an underdiagnosed problem in cats.

The signs of arthritis vary, but most owners first notice them when their cats have difficulty jumping. A cat may take a few extra attempts, slide off the countertop, or just start meowing until someone picks it up. The cat may also simply spend more time lying around on the couch, or have a lower tolerance for touch. Rarely does arthritis in cats manifest as outright limping.

Once a veterinarian confirms the suspicion of arthritis though an exam and radiographs, the owner needs to decide on a course of action. The options are a bit more limited for cats than they are for dogs and humans.

Weight loss is a huge help for overweight cats, reducing stress on diseased joints. Many cats benefit from joint-protective supplements, such as Cosequin. Acupuncture and physical therapy are adjunct treatments that many owners also feel are helpful for their cats.

Medication options are limited in cats, unlike in other species. Medications for dogs and humans must never be given to cats, as they have the potential for severe side effects, including death. Meloxicam is the one NSAID routinely used in arthritic cats, but due to the potential for organ damage, the patients must be carefully monitored by their veterinarians.

The good news is that with a little detective work and a willingness to try a few different approaches, many older cats can get a sufficient level of relief from their achy joints. 

Copyright © 2011 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
  • Cat Quote of the Week

    Cat Quote of the Week

    "The more people I meet, the more I like my cat." -AnonymousMore >>
    "The more people I meet, the more I like my cat." -AnonymousMore >>
  • Dog Quote of the Week

    Dog Quote of the Week

    "The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog." -George GrahamMore >>
    "The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog." -George GrahamMore >>
  • Today's Celebrity Pet!

    Today's Celebrity Pet!

    GWEN STEFANI The singer and her pup hit the beach for a day of sun and fun in Marina del Rey, California.More >>
    BETTY WHITE The Golden Girl shares a sweet cuddle with pooch Delilah while attending the Saturday American Humane Association's Hero Dog Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.More >>
  • WOOFSTOCK! Sunday, April 6!

    WOOFSTOCK! Sunday, April 6!

    COME JOIN US for our 1ST ANNUAL WOOFSTOCK FESTIVAL OF ACADIANA. Acadiana residents and their pooches can now party likes its 1969, when Giles Nissan hosts Woofstock Festival of Acadiana, celebrating canineMore >>
    COME JOIN US for our 1ST ANNUAL WOOFSTOCK FESTIVAL OF ACADIANA. Acadiana residents and their pooches can now party likes its 1969, when Giles Nissan hosts Woofstock Festival of Acadiana, celebrating canineMore >>
  • Thank You from Camp Bow Wow!

    Thank You from Camp Bow Wow!

    Here's a message from the staff at Camp Bow Wow to all those who took part in their recent 5K-9 and Pet Adoption Day: We wanted to thank everyone who came out to our first Camp Bow Wow 5K-9 at GirardMore >>
    Here's a message from the staff at Camp Bow Wow to all those who took part in their recent 5K-9 and Pet Adoption Day: We wanted to thank everyone who came out to our first Camp Bow Wow 5K-9 at GirardMore >>
  • Missing "Special Needs" Dog

    Missing "Special Needs" Dog

    Have you seen this dog? This Brownie, an 8 year old Cocker Spaniel, who is spayed and up to date on immunizations. She is missing from her home on Allen Road in Maurice. Brownie has only one eye,More >>
    Have you seen this dog? This Brownie, an 8 year old Cocker Spaniel, who is spayed and up to date on immunizations. She is missing from her home on Allen Road in Maurice. Brownie has only one eye,More >>
  • Camp Bow Wow "Foster Dog of the Month"

    Camp Bow Wow "Foster Dog of the Month"

    Meet Mandy, a young pit bull terrier mix who is our Camp Bow Wow "Foster Dog of the Month" for October! Mandy had a bit of a rough start to life but is happy as can be now that she is out of theMore >>
    Meet Mandy, a young pit bull terrier mix who is our Camp Bow Wow "Foster Dog of the Month" for October! Mandy had a bit of a rough start to life but is happy as can be now that she is out of theMore >>
  • Could Your Dog Be a TV Star?

    Could Your Dog Be a TV Star?

    Hello, everyone, it's Blue here. I'm excited to announce that as of today, we are starting a special partnership with Camp Bow Wow, who is our newest sponsor of Blue's Pet Page! To kick off this specialMore >>
    Hello, everyone, it's Blue here. I'm excited to announce that as of today, we are starting a special partnership with Camp Bow Wow, who is our newest sponsor of Blue's Pet Page! To kick off this specialMore >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KLFY. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.