On these overcast winter days I’d be content to wrap up and snuggle down inside under a cosy blanket and just sleep until spring time.
Cats excel at finding a comfy place to curl up and sleep, and in this weather I can’t blame them. However, if your cat is sleeping more it may be a sign that they are suffering from arthritis.
There are two sorts of pain that we and our feline friends can experience; acute and chronic pain. While a cat may cry out or limp with acute pain, many cats experiencing chronic pain attempt to hide it as a survival instinct. As such the symptoms of chronic pain can be much more subtle as cats attempt to not draw attention to themselves. It is estimated that 33% of senior cats have arthritis and the associated chronic pain. If you have an older cat then the following are signs to look out for.
Arthritic cats are more reclusive, less willing to play and more inclined to sleep than cats that are not experiencing arthritic pain. They are often less interactive and may be less tolerant of being petted.
Arthritic cats are less willing to jump. While they certainly can jump, you may get the distinct impression that they really don’t want to. They will often look for an alternative way down, such as jumping onto a chair or half way point to get down.
Some cats will be reluctant to use stairs or go up steps. They often show a preference to stay inside, even when they used to love being outdoors. Some experience such pain that they will only walk from cushion, to food bowl, to litter tray and back.
Arthritis may even prevent an older cat from being able to use their litter tray, with some being unable to climb in or correctly position themselves and so they may have ‘accidents’ on the edge of the litter tray or nearby.
Our senior cats don’t have to live with chronic pain. There are a range of different ways that we can increase their comfort and improve their quality of life. Modifying their environment so that they can use steps and litter trays which are more accessible, supplementing their diet with glucosamine and related nutraceuticals, and the administration of prescription pain relief medication all form part of a multi-modal pain management plan.
Please note human pain killers, especially panadol/paracetamol are HIGHLY TOXIC and potentially lethal to cats.
If you think your cat may be showing signs of arthritis please contact us on 97987723.
written by Dr Mary Parker