90% of cats have arthritis by age 12.
Signs of arthritis are:
- Trouble getting in or to the litterbox.
- Greasy, unkempt fur - unable to groom themselves.
- Missing jumps, hesistant to jump.
- No longer using scratching posts (nails become overgrown)
- No longer wanting to play
- Difficulty climbing stairs
How to help
Veterinary consultation for anti-inflammatories - this will require blood work to check for signs of kidney or liver failure as these medications can be hard on those organs.
Have large low-rise litterboxes on each floor of the house for ease.
Brush fur daily and dry bath once a week - some cats are VERY sore so pain medications will be required prior to brushing.
Check claws periodically and trim as needed to prevent them from overgrowing into the paw pads.
Veterinary approved joint supplements.
You will see a major difference in your cats well-being with appropriate pain control.
What to expect during a senior health exam
At the age of 8 our cats and dogs are considered to be heading into their senior years, with that means a few things:
- Yearly blood work - Once a year your cat should get a Blood Profile to be proactive in screening for diseases such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes and the big one kidney disease.
Study from IDEXX labs
CKD is a common disease in cats. Previous studies have found that 1 in 3 cats are likely to develop kidney disease in
their lifetime.1 However; earlier studies used azotemia to make the diagnosis of kidney disease and likely missed
nonazotemic cats with CKD, particularly those with IRIS CKD Stage 1 or Stage 2 disease. In a recent study in cats, the
prevalence of CKD was even higher than previously believed, with 50% of cats of all ages and as high as 80.9% of cats
15 years of age and older diagnosed with CKD.
Your veterinarian will discuss joint supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, omega-3's, green-lip mussel and devils claw to help ease the discomfort and damage to the join. A product we sell often is Flexadin. I would stay away from human supplements as there are no regulations ( i.e 500mg glucosamine only contains 20mg). This is true for Canada so I would check with the regulations in your country.
Typically your veterinarian will assume at 16 your cat has some form of arthritis - they may ask you how they are getting along with day to day life. It is not standard for veterinarians to give pain medications for arthritis (they will suggest joint supplements first unless case is severe) so it is important for you to bring up that you feel your cat is painful if this is the case.
Diet - There will also be a discussion on switching your cat to a senior formula, this food will be formulated to prevent or slow down common diseases in our cats such as heart disease, kidney disease and arthritis.
Along with these discussions your vet will do a thorough exam of heart, chest, eyes, mouth, abdomen, paws, skin, uro-genital and address what's needed.