7 At-Home Treatments for Arthritis in Cats

It can be extremely difficult to watch a pet suffer when there is nothing you can do to make the pain go away. Has your cat recently been diagnosed with arthritis? While there is not currently a cure for arthritis in cats, there are several ways you can help make your pet more comfortable during the course of this degenerative joint disease.

1. Weight management. If your cat is overweight, there are two main reasons why you should consider putting him on a diet to lose weight. First, excess weight only puts more pressure on the already-painful joints. Plus, all surgical and medical treatment procedures work better when the cat is not overweight. Since overweight pets aren’t very active, their caloric intake is low; thus, restricting food intake alone may not be enough. Your cat will likely need to go on a specially-formulated, low-calorie food for weight management.

2. Physical therapy. It is important to get an arthritic cat up and moving, but this can be quite the feat at times. New toys and catnip can help for a while. You can also ask your veterinarian about ways to perform physical therapy on your cat to relax muscles and promote movement in the joints. Just be aware that most cats are not keen on being forced to exercise!

3. Massage therapy. The muscles and joints should be massaged to help loosen them up and get rid of stiffness, especially if you have a cat that refuses to exercise. To maximize the benefits of massage therapy, you will need to learn the specific techniques used on cats with arthritis. Acupuncture is another option, but it will need to be performed by a trained professional.

4. Warmth and comfort. Cats love to bask in the warmth, anyway, but cold, damp temperatures can make your pet’s joints even more stiff. Keep soft, comfortable places for him to sleep in warm places, like in sunny areas or near a heat register. Warm towels – and heated blankets – will also help lessen the arthritis symptoms.

5. Supplements. Glucosamine and chondroitin, available in both liquid and tablet supplements, are compounds that have been widely used to help manage osteoarthritis. They give cells the building blocks they need to create new cartilage and repair the existing damaged cartilage. Some other supplements that help with relieving arthritis in cats are perna mussels, avocado/soybean unsaponifiables and salmon oil, or just omega-3 fatty acids.

6. Anti-inflammatories. Supplements don’t necessarily relieve pain, but they are typically used to repair existing damage. Anti-inflammatories and pain relievers will help soothe achy, painful joints. Buffered aspirin, butorphanol, corticosteroids: These medications should only be given to your pet under a vet’s supervision.

7. Accessibility. Make your cat’s daily activities easier by placing food and water dishes at the appropriate height and making litter boxes accessible for him. You may need to get a box with lower sides. Grooming can also be difficult for cats with arthritis, so try to help him by brushing and cleaning him regularly.

Surgery is usually not an option for cats that have arthritis, due to their size. Very rarely, surgery is performed on the hip to remove the end of the femur that is part of the hip joint. This means your cat would have an artificial joint, resulting in less pain.

References
Cat Arthritis Home Treatments , VetInfo.com
Treatment of Arthritis in Cats , PetEducation.com

** Note: This author does not claim to be a veterinary professional. Before beginning an at-home treatment for arthritis in cats, please ask your pet’s veterinarian for a treatment recommendation.**