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Signs your cat is in pain and what you can do about it!

Cats tend to hide when they are not feeling well; therefore, it can be very difficult to detect subtle changes in your cat.  Cats are very good at not showing outward signs of pain or other medical conditions as part of their survival instinct, and with that in mind it is very important to take your cat to the veterinarian for an examination if you notice any changes in their normal routine.

Some of the signs that your pet cat may be in pain include (but are not limited to): moving around less, decreased appetite, reluctant to jump, weight loss, poor grooming, and urinating or defecating outside the litter box.  If you see any of these signs please contact your veterinarian for a comprehensive exam.

Osteoarthritis can affect both dogs and cats.  It is common in large breed dogs and is easily noticed because usually the dog is limping, has trouble with stairs, lags behind on walks, or has trouble rising or sitting.  Cats get osteoarthritis as well, but it can be difficult for the pet parent to pick up on the subtle signs.  Osteoarthritis usually effects the joints including: elbows, hips, knees, and shoulders.  Cats may also develop arthritis in their back.  The most common sign in cats with arthritis is reluctant to jump on their cat condos, the bed, or countertops.

Treatment for osteoarthritis is challenging in cats versus dogs because cats have difficulty processing most pain medications.  The most common medication in the treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs is an anti-inflammatory prescription, which can cause certain medical conditions in cats.

So if my cat has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis what are my options?

  • Weight loss is essential because the increased weight can cause increased stress on the joints. The fat tissue also produces inflammatory substances that increase the inflammation the joints.
  • Joint supplements which can help slow down the progression of the osteoarthritis.
  • Laser therapy
  • Soft therapeutic beds
  • Litter boxes need to be easily accessible i.e. not in the basement if the cat has trouble with the stairs.
  • Prescription diets high in fatty acids.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication. These medications are used off label and need constant monitoring of blood work.

Ultimately, the best course of action if you are unsure about anything related to the health and well being of your pets please call/visit your veterinarian for their professional opinion.

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