Your long-time feline companion is moving slower as arthritis makes their joints painful. Your local veterinarians can provide advice on diet changes and medication that can help the pain and swelling in the joints. There are also a number of other things you can do to make your cat more comfortable at home. Here are a few ways to make life more enjoyable for your cat as they live with this painful joint disease.
1. Make eating and drinking easier for your cat.
Raise food and water dishes slightly off of the floor so your cat doesn't have to bend down as far to get to the dishes. Arthritis in the spine can make eating and drinking a painful challenge for your cat. They may also be slower when eating than other pets in the household. Consider placing your cat's food and water dishes in a quiet area where they can take their time without competing with other household pets.
2. Make the litter box more accessible.
Buy a litter box that doesn't require stepping over a high lip to get into it. You could even try lining a large cookie sheet with paper and litter so your cat has pain-free access to relieve themselves.
3. Make it easier to get to favorite sleeping areas.
Jumping up to and down from favorite sleeping places will be painful for your cat. Move their cat beds to the floor level so your cat won't have to jar their joints. If your cat insists on climbing up onto your bed or other high places to sleep, make a ramp or stairs for them to use.
4. Give your cat quiet places to rest.
Your cat's painful joints can make them irritable. They will appreciate having places where they can get away from the daily activities around the house and other pets. The floor of a closet with the door left slightly open or the corner of a room behind heavy furniture are places where your cat can escape and where they can't easily be snuck up on by other pets.
5. Have heating pads available in favorite resting areas.
A heating pad on a timer under a cat bed will warm up your cat's joints, increasing circulation and decreasing painful inflammation. Keep any electrical cords out of sight to reduce the temptation for your cat to chew on them.
6. Have grooming and massage sessions with your cat daily.
Your cat will have difficulty grooming themselves as the joints grow more painful. Brush and comb your cat gently every day to help keep their coat glossy and mat free. Gently massage the area over each leg joint to stimulate circulation while grooming your cat. Time the grooming and massage session to when your cat is on one of the heating pads to take advantage of the joint pain relief your cat gets from the heat.
7. Consider acupuncture sessions for your cat.
Some local veterinarians have a pet acupuncturist on staff or they work with someone trained in this technique. In addition to the massage you do for your cat at home, the acupuncture will increase circulation in your cat's joints and relieve painful inflammation.
To learn more about treating arthritis in cats, speak with a vet, like those at Riverside Pet Hospital.