What do I do about feline arthritis?

Older cats, like older people, are at risk of arthritis, which is a problem with the joints and bones. It happens when the tissues of the joints get inflamed from any of a number of causes, such as when new bone grows at the edge of a joint, when the cat injures a joint by a fall or some other accident, or just from wear and tear as the cat ages.

It can be very severe for a cat. Unhealthy cats or obese cats will feel more pain in general from it.


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What are the symptoms?

The biggie to look out for is a cat limping frequently or seeming like it is painful to do basic things like walking or jumping. The cat may seem stiff in the limbs when it's walking. As with people, this gets worse when they're just waking up or when it's colder. The joints may also swell or look kind of weird because of improper bone growth (but that depends on the cause of the arthritis).

What is the treatment?

The treatment for arthritis in cats will be much easier if you get them to the vet as soon as you notice it. It can get progressively worse, especially if it's caused by problems with the bones growing over the joints. For this form, the cat may need to have surgery to remove some of the growth. Otherwise, the usual treatments include a proper diet to get your cat's weight under control if needed, exercising the cat frequently by playing with it, keeping the cat warm so that the cold doesn't make the pain worse, and appropriate medication for cats. One of the better medicines is Cosequin DS, a natural supplement for pets (it's not a drug, it's a booster for several molecules that the pet's body uses to build cartilage, which is the substance on the joints of bones). Vets also often use Adequan, a series of injections that can cause immediate improvement.

Some other pet arthritis drugs and supplements:



Joint Max DS


Synovi G3

Mainly, dealing with it is about controlling the pain on the one end (with the medication) and the health of the cat in general on the other (because it makes the pain worse).

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