Maine Coon cats are among one of the most loving, loyal and gentle feline breeds you’ll come across. They are also one of the largest. Their size alone draws quite a bit of attention, but couple that with their laid back personalities and it is no wonder they are one of the most popular cats to have as a pet. Spotting arthritis in Maine Coons can be especially challenging without the help of a vet.
Due to their size, they have unique and magnified challenges. Often found in this cat is osteoarthritis, which is commonly seen in humans, dogs and yes… the Maine Coon. This post is all about arthritis in Maine Coon cats.
Arthritis found in the Maine Coon is just like osteoarthritis people and other pets struggle with too. When their cartilage (spongy like tissue that protects joints) starts to wear down, joints and bones crunch together and it can be very painful. That word ’crunch’ is cringy when thought about in terms of bones and joints rubbing together. Your Maine Coon cat cannot tell you that he is in pain which causes owners to be baffled. Age, injury and obesity are all factors that can cause arthritis. If your Maine Coon is young, you can still help prevent arthritis through proper diet and exercise.
Many cat owners do not know the signs of arthritis, so they are confused if their cat acts differently. A cat who is used to jumping, playing and having zoomies in the evening might now be acting very different. This can be very confusing for a cat owner. It is important to pay attention to the signs your cat is displaying. Being aware of lethargy in any senior cat is important. You will be able to mitigate her pain and help manage her new mobility challenges.
What Is The Cause Of Arthritis In Maine Coon Cats?
The three main causes of arthritis in Maine Coon cats are obesity, old age and injury. Since it is not possible to stop your cat from growing old, focusing on obesity is the best you can do. And it is a very effective preventative. Eliminating a risky lifestyle can also help prevent injuries.
“Feline obesity—generally viewed as body weight that is 20 percent or more above normal weight—is the most frequently observed nutritional disorder among domestic cats. Its clinical signs are clearly apparent and, when observed, should be taken seriously and addressed without delay.”Cornell Feline Health Center
Obesity also causes diabetes, lethargy, hip dysplasia and a handful of other diseases and health issues. Obesity is the number one factor cat owners can control in their pet. Now let’s continue with the topic at hand, arthritis.
How To Know If Your Maine Coon Cat Has Arthritis
Cats are the masters at hiding their pain from owners and Maine Coons are no different. Being people pleasers, a Maine Coon might even push through normal activities with you that are a little more painful due to arthritis. You would never even know he has pain, things seem normal; until they don’t.
A few signs that can signal your Maine Coon has arthritis includes limping, avoiding jumping, licking his legs after just climbing stairs or playing, general lethargy and dragging his back legs when he walks. If you have an older (over 10 years old) cat and / or an obese cat, you want to be watching closely for these signs before they are even obvious since he is in a high risk group.
How Can I Help My Maine Coon Cat With Arthritis Pain?
Unfortunately there is no cure for arthritis. Just like in people, it is the process of aging in cats. There are things you can do to make your Maine Coon with arthritis more comfortable including, adjusting his diet, playtime with no jumps, supplements, prescription medication from your Veterinarian, and investing in pet steps and ramps.
Arthritis in Maine Coons and how to provide relief.
- Maine Coon Cat Diet
I have done quite a bit of research on dry cat food and wet cat food, and the results strongly point to a wet cat food diet if possible. There is wet food available that includes omega-3 fatty acids. This is the ingredient you want to get in your cat’s diet. Royal Canin came out with a few varieties that are specifically designed for older cats.
Omega-3 fatty acids will help lubricate muscles, bones and joints so food that specifically spells out this ingredient is ideal. Also, check with your vet for other recommendations.
Getting supplements can definitely help your Gentle Giant through these challenging arthritic times.
Finding supplements that have Glucosamine help because they reduce any swelling from your cat’s arthritis. This will help his pain and bring some overall relief.
“Glucosamine acts as a mild anti-inflammatory and is used by the joints to make cartilage components and by the urinary tract for protection.”VCA Hospital
Amazon has a variety of cat supplements to choose from; one factor to consider is if your Maine Coon will take a pill, treats or liquid better. There is nothing worse than getting your cat the meds and vitamins he needs just to have him refuse to let you administer it.
If you go with a liquid supplement, there are several flavors to choose from. This will definitely entice your feline to have some. You can even put a few drops right on his food, hopefully he will gobble it right up!
- Pet Steps and Ramps
Steps that lead to areas of your home your Maine Coon used to love to jump up to will be super helpful. All of that jumping can be eliminated by simply setting up a few steps or ramps. Easy access to his favorite lounge areas (like a wall shelf, your bed and even counters) will let your cat know how much you love him.
Since Maine Coons are big, getting sturdy stairs is important. Ramps are ideal for cars if your cat travels.
Alpha Paw came out with a cat ramp that is also lined with carpet for your kitty to scratch his claws on his way to his destination. This can easily be leaned up to your bed too.
- Prescription Medication
If your cat seems to be in a substantial amount of pain, getting him on pain medication is one option for immediate results. Talking with your vet will be key in putting your Maine Coon on an arthritis plan that may include all of the above plus pain medication. Your cat should instantly feel better though, and that will improve his mood and overall standard of living.
Arthritis In Maine Coons: Prevention
The number one thing you can do to prevent arthritis is your cat’s diet and exercise. Obesity is literally the number one cause of many feline ailments and can be managed by owners. Give your kitty instant relief by helping him lose a few pounds and getting some additional light exercise.
My cat is not a Maine Coon, but I am the first one to admit, he is too chunky. Since obesity is the number one cause of Maine Coons health issues, food management can be an immediate way to help him lose some weight. Here is a very good video illustrating the tips you can implement now. I know I will be doing a few immediately!
Just like people, some cats are more prone to different health issues than others. Maine Coon cats are big by nature and have thick coats. This can hide obesity which in turn, can cause arthritis.
Taking control of your cat’s diet and exercise is something Maine Coon owners can do right away.
Working with a vet who can put a plan together for your Maine Coon’s arthritis will be the best way to get immediate results and bring relief to your feline.
Since cats hide their pain, watching for signs when he turns 8-10 years old can notify you before it progresses.
If you enjoyed this you may want to read more from our blog on Maine Coon Cats:
And now over to you. What real life experience do you have for preventing obesity in felines? Are there specific times of the day you plan for playtime to keep your cat active? Have you ever had a cat with arthritis?