tips or advice for cat with arthritis?
April 20, 2011 11:44 AM   Subscribe

tips/advice for a cat with arthritis?

my nearly 17-year-old cat was recently diagnosed with arthritis in his lower spine and hips. he's a little wobbly on his hind legs and is having some trouble leaping up like he used to.

i'm wondering if anyone has advice on how i can make him more comfortable. (i've seen some old postings on semi-related issues but nothing current.) right now i'm giving him two hip action treats per day (glucosamine) and am looking into buying a heated cat bed.

he weighs 12 pounds. any suggestions for supplements/treatments or specific recommendations for cat beds or heating pads would be very welcome!
posted by roxie110 to Pets & Animals (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Our old kitties absolutely love these heated beds. I say "these" because the first was so popular they all wanted to be in it. Easy to wash lining too.
posted by bearwife at 11:54 AM on April 20, 2011

Also, though your cat sounds fairly small, there is a bigger 20 inch version of the same bed.
posted by bearwife at 12:02 PM on April 20, 2011

This site has a few suggestions including glucosamine, chondroitin, steroids, NSAIDs and weight control. Humans respond well to NSAIDs and corticosteroids, but since cats have delicate kidneys and technically aren't human (yet), I would talk to the vet about whether these might be helpful for your kitty. Heated beds and massage sound lovely though.
posted by ladypants at 12:18 PM on April 20, 2011

Ooh, kitty massages. Some one on one kitty cuddle time might do some good and make RoxieKitty feel loved! That and a heated bed might make for a very content feline. Though if you have two cats, you may end up needing two beds (or a larger one, depending on how friendly they are with each other).
posted by Heretical at 12:34 PM on April 20, 2011

Definitely massages--my mother did this for our first cat, who developed arthritis in his legs, and he loved it. She also rearranged the furniture a bit so that it was easy for him to climb to places where he could no longer jump. My parents' currently-arthritic cat is on a combination of glucosamine, chondroitin, and Adequan, which has definitely made him feel peppier (and, as a side benefit, appears to have taken care of some personality changes brought about by being in massive pain).
posted by thomas j wise at 12:46 PM on April 20, 2011

A small can of sardines in oil once a week will help oil his joints with healthy Omega 3 and he'll love you forever for giving him such fishy deliciousness.
posted by essexjan at 12:59 PM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

I gave my arthritic cat the supplements recommended by the vet (a glucosamine/chondroiton power mixed in her food) and it seemed to have a noticeable effect on her mobility.
posted by mimo at 1:14 PM on April 20, 2011

All good advice above, but you must provide a picture of the cat. :-)

Acupuncture made a big difference to my Siamese in the last few years of her life. (She lived to be 22.) I never would have thought that she'd stand for it, but she seemed to know that it helped.
posted by cyndigo at 1:54 PM on April 20, 2011

A step of some sort to help him get up on any tall furniture he may think is his. My little old lady Lionors (RIP) got to the point where she couldn't make it up onto our bed, but she could jump onto the cedar chest we kept at the foot of it. I've seen steps specifically for pets in what I tend to think of as junky-type catalogs (Skymall) but a child's step stool would probably do just as well.
posted by immlass at 1:59 PM on April 20, 2011

Our vet gave us injectable adequan for dear Frannie when her arthritis started to make her back legs wobbly. The glucosamine helped some. So did the acupuncture.

We made her a ramp out of a board that I upholstered with remnants of wool rug. She had one for the window seat she liked and another for our bed.

I got her the heated cat bed too, but she never took to it. She did like a steamed sweet potato with a little cod liver oil mashed into it. I hoped the vitamin A and the omega-3s helped her some.
posted by S'Tella Fabula at 2:01 PM on April 20, 2011

My 10 year old cat went through being on Tramadol and Gabapentin and then just Gabapentin. He still takes Gabapentin every other day. He also has fish oil mixed into his wet food and glucosamine powder sprinkled on top (I crush half a tab daily). This combo has served him well for over a year, and he seems pretty comfortable. It's also helped tremendously that he lost 4 lbs. FWIW, I think you'll find that you need quite a few of the 'Hip Action' treats to meet the therapeutic quota. Also - I've heard that cat stairs can be helpful.
posted by analog at 4:00 PM on April 20, 2011

Response by poster: thanks so much for all the tips! i bought the Thermo-Kitty Cuddle Up heated bed that bearwife recommended, and will look into the recommended dose of glucosamine/chondroiton. i'll also try out giving him fish oil. i have heard that acupuncture is good, though i do wonder if my cat would ever put up with it!

i'm torn about the stepstools... my vet said that activity is good for arthritic cats and can help them rebuild wasted muscle... but i don't want him to hurt himself trying to hop onto something he can't reach anymore. i guess i'll play that one by ear. the vet also said that arthritis doesn't usually hobble cats the way it can dogs... something else usually gets them firstm ugh. my cat has kidney and thyroid issues--holding steady for now, thank goodness and knock on wood--that may turn out to be bigger concerns down the line.
posted by roxie110 at 9:47 PM on April 21, 2011

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