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How to Help Your Cat with Arthritis

WHAT IS ARTHRITIS?
Arthritis or osteoarthritis is inflammation within the joints and the tissues surrounding them. It is one of the most common diseases in cats.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF ARTHRITIS?
It can be extremely difficult to know if your cat has arthritis. Cats are very good at hiding their pain and discomfort. In addition, the signs of arthritis can show up slowly over time. Things to look for include:
Limping
Reluctance to move
Hesitating/falling when jumping
Hunched stance
Increase in sleeping
Irritability
Decreased muscle mass
Licking/chewing at painful areas
Missing the litter box/accidents
Decreased grooming
Vocalization Hiding
Sleeping/resting in new locations

HOW DO I HELP MY CAT?
Here are some ways to help your cat stay more comfortable and treat the pain associated with arthritis.
• Pain Management-
-There are some medications that are safe for your pet to take and are available through your veterinarian. Never
give your cat an over the counter pain medication without discussing it with their doctor first.
-There are a variety of joint supplements (both oral and injectable) available that help maintain or support
cartilage repair within the joint space.
-Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.
-Feeding a prescription diet specifically designed for joint health.
-Alternative pain management options include therapeutic laser and acupuncture.
• Environmental control-
-To make it easier for your cat to get in and out of the box, consider cutting a lower opening in the side of the
litter box.
-Creating stairs for your pet to reach their favorite spot is helpful. Your cats may not use the steps every time,
but if they’re having a bad day, they will.
-Provide plenty of comfy beds for your cat use.
-Long flights of stairs can be daunting for a painful pet. Consider moving litter boxes and food/water bowls to
the same floor of the house that your cat prefers.
• Weight loss-
-Extra weight adds unneeded stress to arthritic joints. Talk to your veterinarian about a safe weight loss plan
for your cat.
Together with your veterinarian, you can help your cat stay comfortable and happy.

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