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 ARTICLES > TTouch > TTouch Tips: Helping an Older Cat with Arthritis
  TTouch  Article:
  TTOUCH TIPS: HELPING AN OLDER CAT WITH ARTHRITIS
Article By: Barbara George        Publish Date: 2009-10-22

How to Help an Older Cat with Arthritis

By Barbara George, Practitioner 1 for Companion Animals

At age 17 Pandora started showing signs of arthritis; slow to get up in the morning, reluctant to jump, resistance to touch on her back and hind legs. She is a medium-sized cat but very thin, weighing in at just over 1Kg, and very sensitive to touch anywhere on her body.

The first hurdle was to get her feeling comfortable with touches in her good areas. She loves her face and head rubbed, so that was the place to start, with gentle Clouded Leopard and little Racoon touches.

The first sessions were daily, starting with a few seconds and extending to around a minute. Gradually over two weeks the touches were extended to her shoulders and upper back. Because Pandora is so thin she was extremely sensitive to these areas being touched. At first the pressure needed to be very slightly harder (about 1 ) as the light touches were ticklish, causing her skin to ripple as she moved away and heavier touches caused her to move away immediately. As she became used to the touches it was possible to reduce the pressure to less than one.

As more of her body was gradually included in the touches the sessions extended to around two minutes. Although she was accepting the touches more readily she is still touch-sensitive and the sessions need to be kept short in order not to stress her unnecessarily and lose her confidence.

Clouded Leopard touches were used on her back, hips and back legs. At first it was only acceptable to do a single touch, over a period of weeks this was slowly extended to touches over her complete back, sides and legs.

After two month of daily sessions Pandora was no longer resistant to touch anywhere on her body although she always remained touch-sensitive. She was also getting up easier and moving more fluidly. Jumping was still an issue.

The sessions were extended to include Python Lifts on her hind legs and hip area. These needed to be extremely gentle and slow for her to feel comfortable. These were done in place of other touches so as not to make the sessions longer.

At the end of three months Pandora could jump as well as when she was 10 years younger; she was supple and can be touched all over her body.

18 months later, at 19 years of age, there is still no sign of arthritis or stiffening of the spine. Sessions have been reduced to around 30-40 seconds daily, sometimes even missing a day. Mainly Clouded Leopard touches are used and the session always ends with her favourite Racoon touches on her head. These short sessions are sufficient to keep Pandora fully mobile and are useful as the first indication of tenderness in the back; Python lifts and more Clouded Leopard touches for a day or two clear this up and she is back to full mobility.

© 2006 TTouch - eugenie@ttouch.co.za.   All Rights Reserved.
 

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