Cat arthritis and degenerative joint diseases can cause joints to become painful and make regular moving uncomfortable for our feline companions. It can be difficult for cat owners to know if their pet is suffering with arthritis, as it’s commonly overlooked as aging. However, it’s important to acknowledge it in its early stages so that you can intervene and help to reduce the pain.
It is currently unclear what exactly causes arthritis in cats. Ongoing studies aim to determine whether the causes are similar to arthritis in humans, or whether other factors are involved. Either way, it is a common condition that needs to be recognised and addressed. Therefore, if you notice your cat slowing down or appearing in pain, you should look to get a second opinion from your vet.
Symptoms of arthritis in cats
Because cats are masters at hiding their pain, you may need to look out for less obvious signs that indicate they are suffering with joint problems. Common signs of arthritis in cats can include:
- Reduction in mobility (hesitance to jump, difficulty going up stairs, or obvious stiffness in legs)
- Reduction in activity (not hunting as frequently as they used to, more time spent sleeping or resting)
- Amended grooming techniques (less time spent grooming which may result in a matted coat)
- Increased irritability (being grumpier when handled, stroked, or in contact with other animals)
What can I give my cat for arthritis pain?
While there is no cure for feline arthritis, there are various things you can do or forms of treatment that may help relieve their pain.
- Diet. Even though there is no scientific evidence to prove that obesity in cats can increase joint pain, if you get some weight off, this will relieve the pressure on joints. Because cats aren’t always extremely active, the best way to reduce their weight is to adjust their diet, which can be done with supervision from your vet.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are painkillers used to relieve pain associated to arthritis, osteoarthritis, and degenerative joint disease. While many people find these to be effective in relieving symptoms, NSAID’s can often affect blood flow, clotting, and stomach health
- Supplements. Due to some of the harsh side effects from NSAID’s, natural forms of relief are becoming increasingly popular. This includes natural supplement powders, oils, and tablets.
Key ingredients to look out for in natural joint care supplements:
Green-lipped Mussel Powder or Oil: Green-lipped mussels contain a range of Omega fatty-acids, not found in any other marine species. These specific fatty acids support the nutritional maintenance of bone and joint structures. The green-lipped mussel (perna canaliculus) is endemic to New Zealand and provides a rich source of minerals that have been clinically researched to reduce pain associated to arthritis, osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease.
Omega-3’s: When looking for supplements with Omega-3, it is best to find an option that is rich in EPA, DHA & ETA).
“Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids have been established in chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases through various mechanisms, including modifications in cell membrane lipid composition, gene expression, and cellular metabolism”. (Anamaria Bali´c)
Glucosamine: Supplements rich in glucosamine may help to cushion the cartilage between joints, giving your cat more comfort and relieving their arthritic pain. Glucosamine in its natural form is a compound that occurs in connective tissue. Animals suffering with arthritis may have had this compound worn down so supplementation would be a great option.
Turmeric: The anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric are well-known in both human and animal studies. Therefore, supplements containing turmeric may provide some form of relief for cats. There are many options out there, but you should always follow the recommended feeding guidelines.
Can you prevent your cat from getting arthritis?
Because there is no cure for arthritis, some cat owners turn to natural supplements as a form of prevention, rather than intervention. Studies show that treating the symptom before it’s fully apparent may have the best success for reducing pain as your cat ages.
Browse Nutreats Vitals Products for Feline Arthritis:
- Hip & Joint Powder (Green-lipped Mussel Powder)
- Skin, Coat & Mobility Oil (Green-lipped Mussel and Fish Oil)
- Freeze-dried Green-lipped Mussel Treats
* Anamaria Bali´c, Domagoj Vlaši´c, Kristina Žužul, Branka Marinovi´c, Zrinka Bukvi´c Mokos | Omega-3 Versus Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in the Prevention and Treatment of Inflammatory Skin Diseases