Just as in humans with arthritis, your cat's joints can become inflamed, causing pain and swelling.
- Symptoms: Avoidance of jumping or other behavior that strains the joints; dislike of being touched, or nipping when touched; possible depression, irritability, or changes in eating habits. The affected area(s) may feel hot to your touch.
- What to do: Consult your vet, who can determine whether your cat has arthritis and recommend treatment. He or she may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or recommend alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, massage therapy, or herbal supplements. (Note: Never offer your cat medicines or supplements designed for humans; these can be very dangerous to animals.) In some cases, surgery may be appropriate. You can also adapt your arthritic pet's environment to its changing needs. For example, you might elevate the cat's food and water bowls to a height where your pet can eat and drink without bending; provide cushions or padded surfaces for your cat to sleep on; and switch to a litter box with low sides that make it easy for the animal to climb in and out.
Continued on page 3: Fleas