Spot the Signs

by on December 3rd, 2012

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Cat Old CatAccording to the latest veterinary research, and thanks to medical advances as well as to improvements in healthcare, cats are now living longer than ever.  Ninety per cent of vets have now treated cats aged 22 or above – that’s equivalent to 104 in human years! Did you know that if your cat is over the age of 7 they are classed as ‘mature and older’?  Of course, it’s fantastic that our furry friends are around for longer, but if your cat is one of the 46 percent of Britain’s ‘mature and older’ moggies then you need to be extra aware of the signs of chronic pain. Just like humans, the years can take their toll on a cat’s joints and your cat is more at risk of developing age-related health conditions, such as arthritis.  Cats live very active lives and are natural athletes. As they get older, their joints can suffer with wear and tear. Arthritis causes joints to degenerate over time, which can result in chronic pain and reduced mobility.

Unlike dogs and humans, cats don’t generally show signs of lameness. The signs of chronic pain are much more subtle – that’s why Cat Pain Awareness Month is so important.  In this newsletter, there is expert advice to help you spot the signs of chronic pain in your cat, as well as tips to help your cat live into old age as comfortably as possible. Don’t forget to also check out the Facebook page to show your support:

If you haven’t already, why not take advantage of Cat Pain Awareness Month to think about your cat’s health, especially any physical or behaviour signs that could signify your cat isn’t at their spritely best.  Claire Bessant, leading feline author gives this advice: “We have devised five simple questions to help you spot the behaviour changes that could indicate your cat is in pain. If you answer yes and think your cat could be suffering from chronic pain, it is best to consult your vet for advice.”

  • My cat’s behaviour has become more agitated then usual – have you noticed changes in your cat’s attitude or daily routine?
  • I have noticed changes in my cat’s grooming habits – have you noticed deterioration in your cat’s appearance, with a matted or scruffy coat?
  • My cat is sleeping more than usual – Have you noticed your cat slowing down, sleeping more, or moving stiffly?
  • I have noticed my cat hesitating to jump up or down – Have you noticed your cat hesitating, or being more reluctant to jump up or down onto your lap/onto the    furniture/through a cat flap?
  • My cat has become withdrawn – Have you noticed changes in your cat’s temperament?

“Cats are programmed by evolution not to show obvious signs of pain to protect themselves from prey. Unlike dogs, they rarely cry out or limp, preferring instead to hide and shy away from contact. Dog owners are more likely to notice pain during routine walks, whereas a cat will just move less to limit its pain, and can often be seen as a cat just getting old,” says Vicky Halls, cat behaviour counsellor.

But don’t worry – there is treatment available that is licensed for long term use in cats with arthritis. This can help manage the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, allowing your cat to make the most out of life.

If you have any questions, or are concerned that your cat might be in pain, please contact the surgery and speak to your vet for help and advice about what to do. Remember, you know your cat better than anyone, so are best placed to spot any of the subtle signs that indicate that your cat is suffering with chronic pain.

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