When mentioning the word ‘Arthritis’ a pet owner will reply it happens to the senior era which isn’t so. It is now a common ailment due to excess weight that puts stress to the joints. In 2013, the Association of Pet Obesity and Prevention had over 50% of dogs and cats in the overweight or obese category so at risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and arthritis.
Known as a degenerative joint disease, arthritis occurs when a joint is unstable. This instability causes the bones to move abnormally rubbing against the cartilage until it erodes then its bone rubbing against bone and this is as painful as it sounds.
The most obvious sign for joint problems is limping, stiffness, movement is hugely reduced due to inflammation and pain and for cats aside the meowing of pain they would be lying down mostly. Also, cats have the tendency to urinate and defecate outside their litter box as jumping in is too painful.
Combatting Obesity in Cats
There 2 ways combatting obesity in our feline companions.
Discuss with your veterinari an the ideal diet. There are many pet foods that are formulated for this purpose so the faster you start kitty on this the better for her/him. As for exercises, have a cat tower where kitty can stretch, climb, scratch, perches to hide and relax. This maintains their body and mind stimulation. There are various exercises like playing lasers, fetch, catnip toys, running wheel & treadmill – with pet owner supervision at all times, toys with feathers.
Preventing and combatting obesity and arthritis in isn’t difficult. Just requires commitment to strictly follow all instructions so kitty can achieve her/his ideal weight and stress to the joints are relieved.
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Mark E. Epstein. Managing Chronic Pain in Dogs & Cats. Part 1: The Two Most Important Tools in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis. Today’s Veterinary Practice. November/December 2013;3(6):20-23
Ward, E. (2013, October). Fat Cats and the Fat Gap: Convincing Cat Owners to Begin a Weight Loss Program. VIN/AAFP Rounds presentation. Accessed on VIN January 14, 2014