The internet responds kindly to acts of animal kindness and Felicity Morse has come up with an imaginative way to cuddle and care for her 17-year-old Siamese cat, Ricky, who suffers from arthritis. She posted on Twitter an intriguing photograph with the following words:
“Our 17 year old cat has arthritis but still wants cuddles and strokes so my mum has made him a sling slash papoose for when she is doing the housework…”
She does this to please her cat and to ease his discomfort. That’s what I call being a excellent cat guardian.
“He’s in a lot of pain and the only thing that helps is stroking, so he follows my mum around the house miaowing till she strokes him so she thought this would help.”
A nice aspect of this story is that her cat accepts this because he is on his back which is normally uncomfortable for cats. Not every cat would but he accepts it because he likes it. As Felicity says it calms Ricky and eases his pain.
It is an interesting thought actually: easing feline pain by petting. It seems the pleasure received by the petting cancels out the pain of the arthritis.
Felicity’s Twitter post encouraged many others to come forward to express their views on how they cared for their arthritic cat. For instance, building ramps and stairs is a nice way to assist an arthritic, elderly cat.
P.S. Ricky looks like a blue point Siamese.
A bit about feline arthritis from Dr Elizabeth Hodgkins DVM
Feline arthritis in cats over the age of ten is not uncommon. Cats mask the pain so it can be overlooked by the guardian. Obesity complicates the condition. The first sign is lameness. The cat will favour limbs which are less painful if the pain is in limb joints. There may be irritability. And the joint may be swollen. A vet needs to diagnose arthritis as the cause of joint pain may not be arthritis.
Steps to relieve the pain:
- Overweight cats should lose weight. Hodgkins recommends switching from high carb dry to wet cat food.
- A multiple vitamin/mineral/essential fatty acid supplement. This ensures an ‘adequate intake of anti-inflammatory nutrients.
- Moderate exercise helps. Losing weight will encourage activity. Better muscle tone helps support joints.
- Studies indicate that glucosamine supplements reduce arthritic pain.
- Your cat might benefit from and anti-inflammatory drug called metacam. My comment: Warning: I have heard bad things about this drug causing renal failure. I’d treat this with great caution. It is possible that Hodgkins DVM recommended this drug before the bad news leaked out about it. She may have re-evaluated it since.
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