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C2005-11

Dear Christopher Cat

Are you cats really comfortable when you sleep all twisted and upside down?

Christopher Responds

Sure, or we wouldn’t do it. In fact, my favorite sleeping position is upside down between Mom’s feet.

We cats are one of the most flexible of all species. The problem with our superior flexibility is that our human caregivers seldom recognize that we have arthritis until it gets severe.

Fortunately for me, Mom noticed that I was taking longer to leap onto the bathroom counter – and that I sometimes missed (how embarrassing!) – so she checked me out and learned that I had arthritis.

She started me on a feline glucosamine-chondroitin supplement that has helped my middle-aged joints regain their youthful flexibility.

I am not alone in having arthritis with subtle signs, according to a large study of senior cats whose backs and legs were x-rayed.

Of the 100 cats studied, 90 had arthritis that was evident on x-rays.

Eighty of the cats had arthritis of the back, and 64 had arthritis of the legs.

Surprisingly, the medical records of only four of the 90 arthritic cats mentioned arthritis.

So even if your cat looks comfortable when sleeping, keep an eye out when she’s awake for the subtle signs of arthritis: diminished jumping ability, walking gingerly, decreased flexibility when playing, reduced energy, increased sleeping, or limping.

If you see any of these signs, take your kitty to the vet for a thorough evaluation.

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