Joints and Arthritis

Senior Cats – Joints and Arthritis

Cats bodies are designed to jump, and so they are very resilient, and pretty tough, but time is rarely kind to anyone, and even your cat can get sore joints and even arthritis.  If your cat has sore joints or arthritis there are many things you can do to make them more comfortable and relieve some of the soreness.

Around the House

  1. Make sure that their bed is in a warm place, and with lots of padding and cushioning to protect their joints,
  2. If you have slippery floors, put down non-skid mats or runners, and keep their nails nice and short, this allows them to grip the floor better.
  3. Use ramps up and down from furniture and other place they like to sleep.
  4. Raise their bowl up off from the floor, so that they do not have to bend to reach. For slippery floors, get a bowl with a non-slip bottom so they aren’t chasing it around the floor.
  5. If they are particularly sore, block their access to stairs so that they can’t exacerbate their joints with a gate.
  6. If your once outside cat has become too stiff to take themselves out to the toilet, consider investing in a Pet Loo.  Alternatively, use a litter box with low sides.
  7. Sore cats will often be unable to reach all of their coat to groom themselves. Invest some time with a brush to help them feel comfortable.
  8. There are many supplements that will help with joint health and well being, and most come in powder or chew forms that can be used as a treat or sprinkled over their dinner. Look for a product that contains glucosamine and chondroitin; two ingredients that are clinically proven to reduce inflammation.
  9. Provide several sources of drinking water so that they don’t have to travel a long way for a drink. Sore cats often won’t move until they have to, which leaves them susceptible to urinary infections.
  10. Feed them a good quality, complete food designed for joint health.

De-sexing

There are many people who simply don’t like the idea of desexing, but it’s purpose is not to take anything from your cat, but rather aid your cat living with us, and prolonging life by avoiding certain sadly common health issues.

Vets for all pet cats for many health and behavioural reasons recommend de-sexing. It helps lessen male cats need to mark and spray, it helps prevent Romeo looking for his Juliet, it can help prevent testicular and uterine cancer, as well as some common issues with the uterus.

Males
Male cats will urine mark or spray, which can often occur inside the house. They will roam great distances in search of a girlfriend, and indoor cats will find ingenious ways of escaping. This leaves them at a high risk of being hit by a car or getting into fights – de-sexing can prevent all of these problems early on.

In terms of health it will eliminate the risk of testicular cancer, as well as reduce the occurrence of prostate cancer and other diseases. Un-neutered males also have much larger territories than de-sexed ones, and will fight and scrap with other cats to defend it. Cat scratches can often become infected, resulting in abscesses and multiple trips to the vet.

Females
Female cats that are un-desexed have to be kept securely indoors, or she will become pregnant relatively quickly. They can have many litters a year, resulting in endless supplies of kittens in search of homes. They will roam further and vocalise more than other cats, resulting in a high risk of being hit by a car or getting into fights, just as male cats do.

In terms of health, de-sexing will eliminate the risk of uterine cancer, as well as relatively common infections of the uterus, false pregnancies and other sexual related diseases. The chance of mammary cancers developing, as they get older is also greatly reduced.

Are There Any Negatives?
The anaesthetic risks associated with de-sexing are the same as for any routine surgery; the chances of complications occurring are below 0.05%.

Some females will be more prone to gaining weight after being desexed. However a healthy diet and normal amounts of exercise can avoid this problem altogether, generally fatty snacks or poor quality food are more likely to be the blame.

It may be that certain rare types of cancer are slightly more likely after de-sexing; however, the risks are still negligible. If you have any questions or concerns, your local vet will be more than happy to discuss it with you.

The Procedure
If you would like more information about what happens before, during and after your pet’s surgery, speak to your local vet. They are more than happy to provide you with all the information you need, and most will have fact sheets for you to read.

Dental

Despite what many people might think really foul cat breath is not normal.  It can be the sign of periodontal disease, which causes pain and discomfort and if left untreated can cause damage to the heart, liver, kidney and your wallet. Sadly because cats are cats and have wild instincts they often keep pain hidden.   It then isn’t until their annual trip to the vet that it gets discovered.

There are lots of options to help your cat keep her mouth clean and healthy:

  1. The number one way to keep your cats teeth clean is to brush them. Yes believe it or not, it is possible. Use a double sided toothbrush and a nice tasting toothpaste, and begin very slowly. At first, just some toothpaste on the finger and rubbing it around the gums for a few seconds will be all they can tolerate. Cats are often sensitive about having their mouth touched. But, with a little patience, some treats and building up slowly, eventually you should be able to brush their whole mouth.
  2. Cat specific dental chews are a fantastically easy way to help clean their teeth. One after meals will dislodge all the food and leave them with a clean mouth.
  3. Water soluble solutions which are added to their drinking water is also very helpful. These contain enzymes that will remove that tartar build up, it’s simple and easy, especially for those cranky cats that don’t like to be touched.
  4. Try using a dry food specifically designed for oral health. These will contain cross-woven fibres that clean the teeth as it bites in, as well as tartar removing enzymes.
  5. An annual dental check up at the vets will keep them in tip top shape. If you have become behind on your oral care, a cleaning may be necessary to bring their mouth back into perfect health.