Although somewhat more common in dogs than cats, osteoarthritis is a relatively common form of joint and musculoskeletal disease in older cats. The condition mostly affects the shoulder and elbow joints and symptoms include stiffness and limitations in motion especially when it's cold or damp and after lying down for long periods. The symptoms can be subtle and can be mistaken for normal aging in cats. Traumatic arthritis is another common form of arthritis in cats, which may be caused by an injury such as an awkward fall. This condition can worsen with time.
"As dogs and cats age, cartilage can decrease resulting in joint inflammation, stiffness and achiness," says Dr. Simon Starkey, PetSmart veterinary expert.
How Do Hip & Joint Foods Address Feline Arthritis?
Studies have shown that premium cat foods rich in certain fatty acids and Glucosamine and Chondroitin can reduce joint inflammation as well as damage caused by osteoarthritis.
"Long-chain omega 3 fatty acids like eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) are found in fish oils and may help reduce the inflammation due to joint damage," says Dr. Starkey.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin are natural substances that can help repair cartilage. They can be found naturally in high-quality proteins including chicken meal, fish meal and lamb meal. You can also find foods specially formulated for hip and joint health with added levels of Glucosamine and Chondroitin.
Weight control is also an important factor in managing arthritis in cats. If your cat is overweight and experiencing joint or hip discomfort, consult your veterinarian and ask about switching to a premium, low calorie cat food. Also inquire about supplements that can help control clinical symptoms of osteoarthritis. Your veterinarian may suggest a prescription joint diet in advanced cases.
The information used in this report is approved by PetSmart nutritionists and vet experts.
Information from "Small Animal Clinical Nutrition," 5th Edition, Hand, Thatcher, Remillard, Roudebush, Novotny, Copyright 2010 by Mark Morris Institute was used in this report.