Joint care isn’t always the first thing we think of when considering the health and wellbeing of our cats. But bearing in mind how active they are, and the amount of their lives spent jumping and climbing, it probably should be.
Even house cats that don’t have free rein to climb outside are still incredibly agile and inquisitive and will scale just about anything in the home. Whether it’s a sofa, shelf or wardrobe, they are always on the move and particularly enjoy viewing the world from a high vantage point.
Just like dogs, cats are susceptible to a number of joint complaints as they age, including arthritis. But unlike dogs, cats show symptoms very differently and are often better at disguising when they are in pain. Rather than displaying obvious physical signs like lameness, you may notice subtle behavioural changes which signal a problem.
Signs of a joint problem in your cat:
- Inability and/or reluctance to jump/climb.
- Reluctance to move.
- Hesitation before jumping.
- Difficulty getting up or down the stairs.
- Over-grooming the joints.
- Increased sleep.
- Sudden aggression.
Age-related complaints will typically develop gradually, whereas those caused by genetics, trauma, injury or mechanical wear and tear may show themselves more suddenly. Generally speaking, joint problems can be categorised as either 'degenerative' or 'developmental'. While not all are preventable, there are things we can do to minimise the risk and invest in the long-term health of the joints.
Supplementing your cat’s diet with a targeted joint supplement is one way of doing this. Glucosamine and Chondroitin are common ingredients as these promote healthy, functional joints by providing the building blocks for cartilage, synovial fluid, tendons and ligaments. Chondroitin is a key component in joint structure and supports the integrity of cartilage, while ingredients like Green Lipped Mussel and concentrated Omega oils bring anti-inflammatory properties.
Antioxidants like vitamins C and E are often included as they are good at reversing harmful changes in the joints.
We stock a number of joint supplements for cats, suitable for young and old alike, whether your cat is arthritic, convalescing or simply ageing, including our own brand product, Joint Force Soft Chews for Cats. These palatable salmon flavoured chews are designed to provide a daily source of ingredients involved in joint structure, repair and maintenance, normal joint function and mobility, and the reduction of inflammation.
Feel free to get in touch if you need any advice on choosing a suitable supplement. Before starting your cat on anything, we would advise contacting your vet to double check its suitability for your animal.