Will joint supplements help my arthritic cat?

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If you're looking to ease your cat's arthritis, the answer may lie in joint supplements, says our holistic vet.

(Q) My cat is 16 years old and suffers with stiffness in her legs. I don't want to put her on medication permanently, so I've started her on Hill's j/d dry food daily, plus an arnica tablet in her meat. This has definitely eased things, but I've been considering giving her a glucosamine supplement too. Do you think this will be of benefit to her condition? She also has a radiator bed and a heatpad to keep her joints warm.

Holistic vet Holly Mash says: Glucosamine supplementation can be highly valuable for cats suffering aches and pains associated with stiff joints. Glucosamine sulphate is a naturally occurring substance found in joint cartilage and, when used as a supplement for cats suffering musculoskeletal problems, is helpful in rebuilding and repairing damaged and worn-out joints. It also acts to help prevent ongoing damage to the joint, helping to maintain healthy articular function.

In addition, it is believed to act as an anti-inflammatory, thus, when used over an extended period, provides significant pain relief from arthritis. Glucosamine supplements specifically for cats are commonly available from your vets and can be given in either tablet, capsule, or liquid formulation, whichever is easier for you to administer to your feline friend!

Your cat obviously finds warmth of benefit to her joints, which is common in older animals. This is related to the ancient Chinese medical diagnosis of arthritis being a form of 'cold, damp phlegm' in the joints. Keeping your cat warm and providing plenty of snuggly, cosy places to nest will be the key to helping her feel more comfortable.