Keep Your Cat’s Nails Trimmed
Regular nail trimming and care can greatly improve your cats comfort level and mobility. If you can’t easily trim your cats nails yourself, speak with a good groomer or your veterinarian’s office about having it done. And dont forget about including plenty of scratching posts and other scratching surfaces for your cat to help them maintain their own nails.
If you don’t have them already, here are two great cat nail trimmer options .
Safari Cat Nail Clippers
And if you’re going to be clipping your cat’s nails, it’s best to have styptic powder nearby, just in case you cut a bit too much and “quick” them .
Miracle Care Kwik Stop Styptic PowderBuy on Chewy |
PRO TIP: If you do quick your cat’s nail and don’t have Kwik Stop, using corn starch will do the job in a pinch! Just take a small amount of corn starch and put it on the bleeding nail. Apply pressure for a couple of minutes until bleeding has stopped.
Arthritis & Degenerative Joint Disease In Cats
26th July 2018
It is well recognised that as humans get older they are likely to suffer from joint pain caused by osteoarthritis. It is also well known that older dogs commonly suffer from arthritis and both owners and vets are familiar with the medication dispensed to relieve their pain.However, until relatively recently, arthritis in cats was not commonly diagnosed or treated. This may be due in part to the cats survival instinct to hide signs of pain, and the lack of recognition of the condition by owners and veterinary surgeons.
Treatments For Cat Asthma
While there is no cure for asthma, it can be successfully treated. Your veterinarian will prescribe medications, such as corticosteroids, to reduce inflammation. They may also prescribe medications called bronchodilators to help dilate or open the airways.
Other ways to prevent cat asthma or alleviate asthma-like symptoms in your cat include:
Some other natural and alternative treatments may include:
- Allergy desensitization
- Medications to decrease the likelihood of inflammation
However, these treatments are considered experimental and have not been proven effective for cat asthma.
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Help Your Cat Stay Clean
Cats with mobility problems are more likely to soil themselves with feces, urine, or both. This might be from a decreased ability to get up and eliminate in another area, or even from a concurrent decline in their cognitive brain function and loss of litter box training. For this reason, its very important to check your mobility-impaired cat regularly for any signs of urinary or fecal soiling, and to clean them when noticed. A good waterless shampoo can come in very handy to make such sanitary cleaning easier although giving a cat a bath can be done!
PRO TIP: If you have a medium or long-haired cat, consider having a cat groomer or your veterinarian trim the fur a bit shorter around their backend, hind legs, or even a little bit up the underside of their tail. These are called “sani” or sanitary trims and help keep an aging cat’s fur cleaner after using the litter box.
Arthritis In Cats: Signs Symptoms & Treatment Options
Cats display extraordinarily agility, from those sudden, unpredictable darts across the room to impressive leaps onto and off of high spaces. However, this agility depends on healthy, trouble-free joint function.
If your cat has one of the conditions classified as feline arthritis, that agility may gradually disappear, replaced by increasing pain, stiffness, and avoidance of favorite pastimes. Cats who cannot trust their own joints to support their weight comfortably may find themselves unable to get out of harms way or get the exercise they need.
As a cat owner, you have more power to help your struggling feline friend than you might realize. The right combination of treatments and assistive devices can optimize joint function, prevent further joint damage, and help your cat participate in life more fully.
Lets examine the complicated world of feline arthritis, how it affects feline mobility, and what you can do to give your cat a better quality of life.
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People Eventually Develop Arthritis And Pain As They Age And I Understand The Same Thing Happens In Cats How Can I Recognize If My Cat Is Becoming Painful So That I Can Bring It To The Attention Of My Veterinarian
Recognizing and treating pain in cats has evolved dramatically over time. Since cats are living longer and longer, they are also experiencing the deterioration and debilitation that goes along with aging. This includes the development of osteoarthritis, which involves painful inflammation of the joints.
It is a cats instinct to hide or mask its pain, making pain difficult to diagnose. No one is in a better position to identify the subtle changes in behavior that may signal pain than human family members. When a cat is experiencing pain, the following are changes that you may notice. These signs will signal the need to visit your veterinarian.
Vocalizing. You may notice your cat meowing more than normal. You may also hear her purring at times you would not normally expect it. She may also growl or hiss when approached by human family members or by other animal members of the family.
Changes in daily habits. Most cats who develop painful osteoarthritis stop grooming themselves as well as they used to. They develop a messy hair coat, and may become matted over their painful body parts. Some painful cats will actually over-groom and traumatize the skin of the areas where they are sore.
“Cats who are painful may withdraw from their usual family interactions, may become less engaged in their surroundings, and may start hiding.”
|Contributors: Malcolm Weir, DVM, MSc, MPH Robin Downing, DVM, DAAPM, DACVSMR, CVPP, CRPP
Five Things About Cat Pain:
While its quite obvious and intuitive that a broken bone, gaping wound, or surgical procedure will likely be painful to your cat, those arent the only reasons for pain. There are lots of other common conditions that cause pain that often goes unrecognized by cat owners and therefore untreated by their veterinarians as we cant ask our patients how they are feeling today!
If your cat has been diagnosed with any of the conditions below, be sure to speak with your veterinarian to make sure that any painful aspect of the condition is being treated properly. In fact, if your cat is diagnosed with any medical condition, it is always a good idea to ask your veterinarian if there is any pain component. If there is, ask what options there are for treating the pain.
- Cancer: Especially bone cancer, squamous cell carcinomas of the mouth, any type of cancer that enlarges a capsular organ and tumors that press on important internal structures
- Resorptive tooth lesions
- Eye problems such as glaucoma, uveitis, or corneal ulcers
- Feline Aortic Thromboembolism
Its important to talk with or visit your veterinarian any time you think your cat may be in pain or exhibiting the symptoms of pain we’ve listed above. Not only is it important so that the underlying cause of the pain can be determined, appropriately treated and managed, but also to avoid tragedy.
Read Also: Does Arthritis Always Show Up In Blood Tests
Weight Loss And Management
A key part of arthritis care for cats is managing their weight. Extra weight puts more pressure on a cats joints, which can worsen the pain of arthritis. If your arthritic cat is obese or overweight, your veterinarian will likely recommend a weight loss program, which could include a special diet and an exercise regimen. Depending on the severity of arthritis, your cat may not be able to do too much in the way of exercise, but your veterinarian can give you a safe plan for weight reduction.
If your cat is at a healthy weight, its important to maintain it. For instance, avoid the temptation to offer extra treats and always measure out food portions precisely.
Diagnosis Of Arthritis In Horses
This is based on clinical signs and joint fluid analysis. The only other condition that will result in as much joint pain is a fracture. Therefore if a fracture is excluded, it is almost certain that joint sepsis is present. Strong consideration should be given to a diagnosis of joint sepsis if the synovial fluid has a protein content of greater than 30 g/L and a white cell count greater than 5000/micro L, of which 90% are neutrophils. However, values less than these do not preclude a diagnosis of septic arthritis. The infected joint fluid will also usually have a serosanguinous or seropurulent appearance. Joint fluid from horses with very low-grade, or chronic sepsis, can often appear relatively normal grossly. Samples should be submitted for bacteriology. The culture of organisms from infected joints can often be unrewarding however, inoculation of enhancement broths can improve this.
Radiography may reveal evidence of gas within joints or fractures associated with the sepsis or its initiating factors. In longstanding cases, evidence of severe secondary DJD will be apparent radiographically.
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Have A Sick Cat 9 Ways To Tell If Your Cat Is In Pain
Some of the most profoundly heartbreaking moments of my cat-caretaking life revolve around being unable to tell how much pain my beloved friends were suffering. Even though I know cats are very good at disguising their pain, I cant help but guilt-trip myself sometimes over this health issue, because as a person whos lived with cats almost all my life, I should be able to notice when somethings out of whack. A sick cat will show symptoms, although often theyre quite subtle. In hopes of helping you recognize signs of pain that eluded me, here are some tips that could signal a sick cat or a cat in pain.
Home Adjustments For Cats With Arthritis
There are also several simple adjustments you can make to your cats home environment to increase her comfort if she has osteoarthritis pain. Login suggests providing:
- Warm, supportive bedding
- Easy access to litter boxes and food and water bowls
- Ramps or stairs to help your cat access the bed or other furniture and surfaces she enjoys
- Raised food and water bowls so your cat doesnt have to bend down
- Litter boxes with at least one lowered side so your cat doesnt have to lift her legs as high to get in
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Help Your Cat Stay Hydrated
For cats that are experiencing severe mobility impairment, its important to ensure that they can easily and reliably reach their food and water bowls. Dehydration can be a very real, and very devastating problem for cats that cant walk well on their own. So make sure to check their food and water bowls regularly, and make sure that they’re not in places that they can’t easily reach . Many cats love running water too, so you might want to add a water fountain like one of these options.
Pioneer Pet Swan Drinking Fountain
Every positive change you make for your arthritic or mobility-impaired cat provides them with comfort and less stress. This in turn improves your cats quality of life. Little changes have a big impact!
How Long Can Cats Live With Arthritis
Every cat is different when it comes to their prognosis and quality of life with a diagnosis of osteoarthritis. Working closely with your veterinarian is important in managing your cats arthritis. While there is no cure for arthritis, if the symptoms are managed appropriately, a cat can enjoy many years and a good quality of life with arthritis.
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Diagnosing Arthritis In Cats
Diagnosis is relatively straightforward. You usually notice stiffness, a limp, slowness or an inability to jump.
Since this is generally a geriatric problem in cats, a geriatric workup including blood work is usually recommended to make sure the cat does not have some underlying metabolic disease, causing slowness or a change in gait.
X-rays are also beneficial, to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other problems that cause stiffness, pain or lameness.
Treatment Strategies For Arthritis In Cats
Once you know that your cat has arthritis, youll want to do everything in your power to treat both the symptoms and the underlying causes of the disorder. Sadly, veterinary medicine has no definitive cure for feline arthritis. However, your veterinarian can prescribe a treatment program to manage the problem. Here are some common approaches for treating feline arthritis.
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Identifying Arthritis In Cats
Q: How do I know if my cat has arthritis? Shes getting old and slowing down, but she doesnt limp.
A: Osteoarthritis is exceedingly common, particularly in older cats, so you are right to be concerned. Unfortunately, though, the condition is hard to identify.
Cats with arthritis dont limp, because feline arthritis typically affects multiple joints on both sides of the body. Instead, their behavior changes.
Arthritic cats become less active and less playful, and they sleep more. They may be moody and less tolerant of other pets or human handling. They are reluctant to jump, and they jump shorter distances. Their posture may become more crouched.
The twisting and stretching required to groom themselves is painful, so some arthritic cats look unkempt, and their coats may mat. Conversely, they may over-groom painful joints. Claws sometimes grow long when cats dont scratch or move enough.
Litter box habits may change, particularly if the cat must use stairs to access the box or climb into a box with high sides.
If you see any of these behaviors in your cat, make an appointment with your veterinarian. I also offer these tips for helping your cat with arthritis.
Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine in Pennsylvania. Contact her at .
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About Amanda Jondle Dvm
Dr. Amanda Jondle is a veterinarian who practices small animal medicine and surgery and integrative medicine such as acupuncture in all sizes of animals. Growing up on a small farm, she knew from a very young age that she wanted to work with animals and started spending time at a local vet clinic at 11 years old. In addition to working full time at an animal hospital, she now enjoys helping pets and educating clients through writing and editing articles to inform pet owners on how to best care for their pets. She and her husband currently have 4 rescue dogs and 3 cats of their own and are often fostering pets with health issues until they find their forever homes.
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Symptoms Of Arthritis In Cats
Signs of arthritis in cats can include:
- Difficulty jumping or using the stairs
- More prominent shoulder blades
- Hiding away or sleeping more than usual
- Unkempt or matted fur especially along the back and around the bottom, because your cat will find it difficult or painful to twist to groom these areas
- Swollen or hot joints
- Being a bit more grumpy than usual, especially when you go to touch them.
Signs of arthritis can be hard to spot as they can be subtle and come on gradually. It can be helpful to think back to what your cat was like a few months or even years ago when trying to think if they are showing any of these signs.
Provide Easy Access To Comfortable Lounging Spots
Make sure your cat has well-cushioned and comfortable places to sleep at night and to lay around on during the day. Dont forget about your windowsills, where many cats like to spend their time.
Pet Craft Soho Small Round Memory Foam Bed
For cats that like to be up on furniture or windowsills, try to get them to use a ramp or create a situation to where they do not have high or long jumps to make.
Pet Gear Stair and Ramp CombinationBuy on Chewy |
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Are There Any Changes In Litter Box Behavior That Could Mean My Cat Is In Pain
As already stated, cats are famously clean and tidy, and that generally means being careful with their litter box habits as well. They like having a discrete place to eliminate, and most cat litter makes the litter box an attractive destination. If a cat that has previously been consistent in using the litter box appropriately suddenly begins missing the box or eliminating in other areas of the house, pain should be considered as a potential explanation.
When cats have lower back or hip pain, climbing into and out of a litter box can be a terrible experience. Even worse are covered litter boxes, where the top of the opening can come into contact with the cat’s back. In this situation, a cat will often go to the litter box, but simply refuses to go into it. The cat may choose instead to eliminate near the litter box, letting us know that it understands this is the place to eliminate, but also letting us know that it is uncomfortable getting into the litter box. Other cats may simply choose to eliminate in the same room as the litter box, but not necessarily next to it. And still other cats may choose a completely different part of the house for elimination. Once pain is managed, provide your cat with lower-sided litter boxes.
“If a cat that has previously been consistent in using the litter box appropriately suddenly begins missing the box or eliminating in other areas of the house, pain should be considered as a potential explanation.”