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It’s normal for cat parents to have many health questions as their cat ages. A common physical change pet parents may notice in their cat is decreased mobility.
Like any animal, as a cat ages, they become less mobile. Senior cats can develop many of the same degenerative disorders that people can, including arthritis. However, cats can have a good quality of life long into their senior years if their pet parent provides adequate mobility support.
Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes inflammation and damage to the cat’s joints. Signs a cat is developing or has arthritis include:
Stops grooming themselves
Unwillingness to run or jump
Not wanting to use the litter box
Difficulty walking or limping
Doesn’t want to be pet near the hips
Arthritis can have a number of causes and isn’t curable. However, pet parents can strive to prevent or slow the condition. The following conditions and habits can cause a cat to develop arthritis:
Obesity: Extra weight on a cat puts extra pressure on the joints. Over time, the added pressure causes irreversible damage to the joints.
Poor Nutrition: A poor diet lacks essential nutrients required for proper bone development and maintenance. Cats need to be fed a balanced diet that contains the correct amount of essential vitamins and nutrients for their bones to develop correctly and maintain healthy function.
Trauma or Injury: Cats are more prone to develop arthritis in areas of their body that have experienced any injury.
Activity: Cats love to jump and climb on things, which puts stress on their joints. Over the years, the joints can become inflamed from the pressure, and the cat may develop arthritis.
Genetic Predisposition: A healthy cat can develop arthritis if it’s been genetically passed down from their parents.
Autoimmune Diseases: An autoimmune disease is an abnormal reaction that causes the immune system to attack the body. Many autoimmune diseases cause inflammation that leads to arthritis.
Some of the above-listed causes of arthritis are unavoidable. However, some of the causes can be prevented. The best cat advice for preventing arthritis concerns lifestyle and food. It's important for pet parents to provide their cats with a balanced diet and promote exercise.
Poor nutrition and obesity will cause a cat to develop arthritis at an early age. Once a cat does develop arthritis, the pet parent can still provide their cat with an excellent quality of life in the following ways:
Add padded rugs or mats near furniture to lessen the impact on the cat’s joints when they jump down.
Provide steps to climb on and off furniture and cat towers.
Give them a joint supplement.
Warm and cold compresses.
Inactivity causes the cat’s muscles to atrophy, which in turn will cause the arthritis to worsen. By providing support to an arthritic cat, pet parents can slow the development of arthritis.
Fuzzy is here to help 24/7 via Live Vet Chat and can answer any questions or concerns pet parents have about support for their senior cats.