Cats are natural predators in the wild – able to twist and turn their bodies to be able to fit in tight spaces and leap at their prey. These instincts have not left your furry friend. You may see your own cat jumping from high places only to land on its feet every time.
However, if you start to notice your kitty friend not jumping around as much or not grooming themselves like usual, it could mean that something is amiss. These strange behaviours could indicate that your furry friend may have joint pain.
There are plenty of reasons why your cat may have joint issues. The most common reason is arthritis. Similar to arthritis in humans, this is a degenerative joint condition caused by old age or injury. The affected joint can get inflamed and that leads to pain. It is so common that a study from 2011 has found that arthritis affects over 60% of cats in one joint and at least 48% of cats in more than one joint. It can be caused by a myriad of reasons from natural joint wear and tear over time or genetic predisposition.
And just like arthritis in humans, there is no cure for arthritis in cats. Here are some ways you can help manage your cat’s joint health:
#1 Managing their weight
While we all love our chunky furry friends and the lazy cat stereotype, obesity is one of the common causes of joint issues. The additional weight puts unnecessary pressure on their joints. Managing your cat’s weight can mitigate the progression of joint wear and tear.
If you are unsure of how to reduce your cat’s weight safely, your veterinarian can help build a plan with you on the best kinds of food to provide and how much to feed your cat.
#2 Consistent activity
Just like their human counterparts, sedentary cats may find it difficult to start exercising and being active.
You can start by using something you already know your cat likes. For example, if there is a particular cat toy they like, you can make a game with it to get them to chase it around. You can also switch up cat toys and accessories so that your cat does not get tired of them. Enrichment toys such as cat trees and cat towers can be extremely beneficial as cats love to climb to high places.
#3 Having balanced meals
As a pet lover, it is easy to give in and feed your cat all the unhealthy treats they beg for. Unfortunately, this can lead to unnecessary weight gain.
Balanced diets can have a variety of benefits from better fur, bones, teeth, and joints. Cats with joint issues should eat enough protein to develop and maintain muscles that can support their joints. Older kitties may find it difficult to digest protein so you would want to look into high-quality protein sources in the ingredient lists. Be sure to consider their age and activity level before you plan their meals!
#4 Providing supplements
Sometimes we aren’t able to stop joint wear and tear, we can slow its progression. By providing supplements, your cat can get the boost they need to keep their joints strong and limber for as long as possible.
Inflammation in the joints is due to the bones rubbing against each other due to a lack of cartilage. Certain cat supplements are able to reduce inflammation and promote cartilage repair.
If you are unsure about what kind of supplements your kitty needs, don’t be afraid to ask your veterinarian.
Start prioritising joint health today
With careful planning and some modifications to your cat’s lifestyle, you can help slow the progression of joint problems in your feline friends. If you start to notice that your cat may be having some joint issues, you consult your veterinarian immediately.
Need help or guidance? Visit Pet Lovers Centre online, or any of our Pet Lovers Centre locations today!