Virtually all cats enjoy lying in a sunbeam or curling up on the couch, but they also like to be active. Whether they are chasing a toy or jumping onto a bench or window ledge for a better view of their surroundings, healthy joints will make movement easier and more comfortable, particularly as they get older. One study in 2013 suggested that the ability to play, run and jump is a very significant part of a cat’s quality of life. What this means for every cat owner is that it’s important that they look after their pet’s joints so they can enjoy these activities well into their senior years.
Caring for your pet’s joints can be done at any age, there’s no need to wait until he is showing signs of arthritis. There are two main ways in which you can do this.
1. Watch your cat’s waistline. Obesity has a two-pronged effect on your cat’s joint health. Firstly, if his legs have to carry excess weight, they are at increased risk of developing osteoarthritis. Secondly, a heavy cat is less likely to get up and get moving, and controlled exercise is an important part of managing joint disease.
When you’re feeding your cat, choose a nutritionally balanced and complete cat food such as the Butcher’s Really range. They have all the necessary nutrients your cat needs so you don’t have to add anything to his meal which can increase his calorie intake. Feed an amount that keeps him in lean body condition. You should be able to feel his ribs and see a narrowing at his tummy just after his ribcage when you look at him from above and from the side. If he’s getting a bit generous around the middle, cut back on how much food you put in his bowl until he has trimmed down a little.
2. Select a food that contains dietary ingredients that support your cat’s joints as he grows. Two such ingredients are the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are found in fish oils and have a natural anti-inflammatory effect on the body. They have been shown in studies to reduce stiffness and lameness in cats, and improve their ability to move around.
The Butcher’s Really range of cat foods contains salmon oil which is a rich source of both EPA and DHA. Not only will these nutrients support your feline friend’s joints throughout his life and maintain his mobility, but they will keep his skin and coat in good health. Another advantage of feeding your cat a food containing omega fatty acids is that it can reduce the incidence of dementia as he gets older.
Good nutrition is a critical part of keeping your cat in good health. However, diet can have a much more specific effect on certain parts of his body. By choosing a food containing omega fatty acids such as Butcher’s Really, there are extra benefits for his joints, and also for his brain, skin and coat.