Preventing Joint Injuries in Cats

In cats, joint injuries are somewhat hard to prevent, especially with an active or outdoors cat that spends much of his time running and jumping. Injuries to the joints are painful and may cause lameness, so it is important to know how to properly treat a sprain, twist or even break. However, there are a few preventative measures that you can take to lessen the chance your cat will sustain an injury, despite its high activity level.

Though accidents can occur, there are certain variables you can control with your cat to lessen the chance of an injury.

Good Diet

Cats with healthy bones and no deficiencies will be less likely to develop arthritis or osteoporosis, two conditions that can substantially weaken bones and joints. By giving your cat enough calcium and phosphorus, you are also ensuring strong joints that can handle his activity level.

Reduce Potential Hazards at Home

Movement wears down the joints every day, and extra activity causes extra wear. Cats leading very active lives can be more at risk for developing joint injuries as their cartilage wears down over time, slowly degenerating faster than it can be rebuilt.

Landing on hard surfaces increases the shock to joints, accelerating the degeneration. If possible, avoid overtly hard-surfaced furniture in your home, or encourage the use of a specially built cat towers for your kitty to climb. These are often padded, allowing for a softer landing.

Likewise, stairs can sometimes pose a risk to older cats that cannot move as well as their younger counterparts. By carrying your cat up or down the stairs or installing a cat walk, you can eliminate this household threat.

Treat Any Injuries Promptly

Cats with previous joint injuries are also at increased risk for future sprains or breaks. Should your cat develop any joint injuries, it is important to treat them promptly, as the risk for more serious and permanent damage increases the longer it goes untreated. This is especially true in older cats, once the cartilage of a joint has been damaged. It may never fully recover, so special care should be taken to ensure the cat's activities and diet are conducive to aiding the weakened joint.

Restrict Movement

Sometimes the best choice to prevent an injury is to simply restrict your cat's movement. If your cat is older or has arthritis, this may not be hard, as cats will often avoid activities that will cause them pain. However, restricting your cat to the indoors, or even to a certain floor of your house may help reduce the chance your cat injures himself while roaming.

Joint injuries are not uncommon in cats and while both unpredictable and difficult to prevent altogether, certain steps can be taken to help lessen the chance they occur. By feeding your cat a good diet conducive to bone health, and monitoring its behavior, you can help him stay safe and still be active and playful.