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How to feed an arthritic cat
When your cat has arthritis, it's easy to feel helpless in relieving its pain. After all, cats are independent creatures. While arthritis pain in dogs can be relieved using pet drugs like Previcox or Metacam, these common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are not safe for cats. Pain relievers like Tramadol and Prednisone can help, but one of the best ways to help your arthritic cat is through diet.
Why does a special diet help?
Unless your cat is an extremely picky eater, changing its food is one of the easiest ways to fit certain nutrients into its diet. There are diets designed specifically for joint pain or "mobility problems," and they come in wet or dry types of food. Many of these foods may improve other aspects of your cat's health, too, like its skin and coat.
What should the pet food have?
Diets designed to help cats with arthritis generally have certain ingredients to reduce inflammation caused by arthritis and even promote healthy cartilage. The most important ones to look for are omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, chondroitin and glucosamine for dogs and cats.
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the best nutrients to give an arthritic pet because they have been proven to reduce joint inflammation. When the cartilage breaks down in the joint, the bones rub together, causing major inflammation that makes movement more painful and stiff for the animal. Omega-3s reduce this inflammation. As a bonus, they also nourish your cat's skin and coat!
Antioxidants are also important for their anti-inflammatory properties. Look for foods with real fruits and vegetables for a wholesome source of vitamins C and E and selenium, MSM and SAMe.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are important because they actually improve the health of the cartilage. The breaking down of the cartilage is, after all, the cause of all the pain in the first place. These two ingredients work to help hydrate cartilage, repair the damaged parts and create new, healthy cartilage in the joints.
Other ingredients like green-lipped mussel have also been proven to repair and hydrate cartilage in pets, lessening their overall arthritis pain.
If your cat likes dry food, try Now Grain Free Senior Recipe Dry Cat Food. This pet food has fresh fruits and vegetables and added glucosamine and chondroitin. It is also important that your cat's kibble be high-protein and not contribute to or cause obesity, since this condition can make arthritis even more painful for the feline.