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Advice for Arthritic Cats

Arthritis is a common problem especially in middle aged to older cats, although sometimes younger animals are affected too.  The joints most susceptible to arthritis are the ones permitting free limb movements – called synovial joints.  There are several causes of arthritis – it commonly occurs as part of the normal ageing process, leading to wear and tear on the joints, but in other cases it can be linked to previous trauma to a particular joint.  Arthritis develops when the articular cartilage becomes pitted and cracked, resulting in exposure of the underlying bones, causing pain and inflammation.

Signs of arthritis often include sleeping more and some cats may take extra time or effort to jump up onto surfaces or show signs of toileting issues such as incontinence or missing the litter tray. And some cats will show changes in temperament due to pain.

Arthritis is usually diagnosed on a combination of clinical examination – examining the joints for swelling, thickening, pain and a range of movements.  X-rays may be helpful confirming the degree of bone changes.

To help your cats with sore joints, especially in the winter, make sure they always sleep on a deep, soft bed and keep the ambient temperatures warm.  A key consideration is weight loss for cats carrying excess weight, as this hugely impacts on the joints.  Some cats benefit from anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the pain, plus dietary supplements are often beneficial too.

If you are concerned about your cat, talk to your vet and see what help can be offered.

With the central heating on, a quick reminder of what else likes the warmth on our homes – fleas. Fleas were once thought of as a problem in the warm summer months, however they are now a year-round problem. Fleas can get into our homes on our cats, on us, or just hopping in by themselves. Fleas feed and breed on our cats with female fleas laying eggs which fall off around your house ending up under furniture or deep in carpets. There are a variety of veterinary licensed products available, which are much more effective at killing fleas than products bought in the supermarkets or pet shops.  Please ask your vet for the best products for your cats.

For help or advice, or if you need assistance with the cost of neutering, please call us on 01842 810018.

Rita Thompson


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