Regardless of age or breed, about 20% of cats will suffer from osteoarthritis in one or more joints in their lifetime. In this post, our Brooklyn vets explain arthritis in cats and discuss how making intentional dietary choices can help manage this condition.
Arthritis in Cats
Cats are living longer than ever before, which means veterinarians diagnose more health conditions (such as arthritis) that are normally seen in older cats. The issue with this is that the research into medications that may be prescribed for cats with this condition is not as advanced as it is for other species.
The pharmaceutical companies aren't able to adjust the dosage like they do with some human or other medications made for animals to give to cats. This is because the types of medications humans and dogs take for arthritis are toxic to cats.
While some drugs can mask the pain, these are normally reserved to be prescribed to cats suffering from more advanced stages of arthritis. One recommendation for assisting your cat with arthritis is to put them on a diet geared to help manage the condition.
Using Diet to Manage Arthritis in Cats
Arthritis is characterized by inflammation of the joints. By putting your cat on a diet, you can reduce the strain on their joints as a result of carrying around extra weight. It's also been found that the extra fat an obese cat carries can cause hormones to be released that lead to inflammation.
Anything that contributes to inflammation should be avoided, because that is what arthritis is — inflammation of the joints.
Your vet at can help you keep your cat on the lean side to avoid the health issues mentioned above.
Best Diet for a Cat With Arthritis
Confirm with your veterinarian about a weight loss plan for your cat if they are obese. You want to have your cat on a diet that keeps them lean.
Your cat will need sufficient protein to maintain muscles that support the joints. The objective is to reduce fat on the cat, not muscle.
Something that is recommended for joint issues is fish oil supplements. The omega-3 fatty acid has been shown to have a beneficial effect on joint health. The downside is it does add calories which can undo the desired weight loss in the diet. We recommend consulting with your vet to find the right nutritional balance to try and manage their condition.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition or boarding needs.