We all age and with that our bodies age. As our pets get older they may begin to suffer from some of the same issues we do, arthritis being one of them. Cats can suffer from bacterial, rheumatoid or osteoarthritis, and it usually sets in at about nine years; though it can set in earlier in overweight cats as they put more strain on their bodies. It is distressing to watch your kitty suddenly lose interest in playing games, struggling to walk up stairs, or have an accident on their way to the litter box. Here are some tips to help give your elderly, and arthritic companion comfort and ease of life in their final years.
1. Keep your cats diet under control. Their activity level begins to decrease as arthritis sets in, and as in any animal, their weight affects how much strain their body is under. By managing your cats diet, making sure they aren't eating too much and what they do eat is nutritious you, you can help your cat keep from putting on extra pounds that will cause additional pain and strain.
2. Find a good supplement that works to help keep their joints moving as smoothly and fluidly. Look for supplements that decrease inflammation and encourage growth and repair of damaged cartilage. There are some supplements that can be added to food or water, others come in pill or treat form.
3. Add heating stations around the house. Provide heating pads covered with a blanket, or consider investing in some special beds that have a heating element. This will help keep your cats muscles relaxed and the joints loose. Anyone with arthritis knows that the worst part of the day is getting out of bed and setting sore feet on the cold floor, so try to keep your house from getting too hot or too cold.
4. As the arthritis reaches the later stages, your vet may suggest putting your cat on non-steriod anti-inflammatory medications. These will help keep down swelling and inflammation, but you will want to make sure that you keep up regular visits and any other recommendations from your vet and ONLY administer them under vet supervision as these types of medications can cause other medical issues if not kept under close watch. As the disease continues to progress, stronger medications may become necessary.
5. As with any elderly cat, you will want to make sure that your cat has access to all their things without having to strain their aching body. Make sure that litter boxes are ground level and consider providing more than one in case it simply hurts too much to move all the way across the house to go potty. Cats are clean animals and they will be very ashamed if they cannot make it to their litter box and instead have an accident. Make sure food and water are easily accessible and add more water bowls so that your cat doesn't need to strain to stay hydrated.
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