Helping Your Arthritic Cat To Have A Comfortable Life
Your senior cat walks stiffly and doesn't jump up on the sofa quite as often as before. Arthritis in their joints makes moving painful sometimes. By working with your veterinarian to come up with a plan of traditional and alternative animal therapy, you can help your feline companion to have a comfortable life for their remaining years. Here are a few approaches to consider when helping your aging kitty to have a more pleasant life.
A low calorie, high protein diet gives your cat the energy they need and keeps them lean so they have less weight to carry around on their joints. Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids can have an anti-inflammatory effect to reduce pain and swelling in the joints. Foods with added vitamin D and calcium give your cat's body the building materials it needs to create new bone and cartilage where arthritis has worn it away in the joints.
Some food supplements can also help. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate help cartilage production where arthritis has caused it to wear down, so the bones in the joints rub against each other causing pain and inflammation.
Medications for Pain Relief
Dogs can take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medications, such as ibuprofen, but they should never be given to your cat. Your veterinarian can prescribe a type of synthetic opiate, called buprenorphine. In low doses, this medication relieves joint pain and inflammation.
Short-Term Pain Relief
Sometimes your cat just can't get comfortable and, in those cases, your veterinarian can give them a steroid injection. This gives immediate relief from inflammation and joint pain. Repeated use of steroids will harm your cat's immune system, so these treatments are reserved for those times when your cat's pain makes it difficult for them to relax.
One alternative pet therapy in your area may be pet acupuncture. Some cat owners say their feline friends respond favorably to regular acupuncture sessions for pain relief. Some veterinarian clinics now offer this service by a trained practitioner. There are no negative side effects to these treatments, so if your cat responds well, you can take them in for periodic sessions.
Some cats respond well to massage, which increases circulation to the joints and reduces inflammation and pain. This is another treatment with no bad side effects. For some cats, though, this may cause them to become overstimulated so they may only tolerate short infrequent sessions.