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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some of you maybe have already read that Wilbur has been diagnosed with arthritis. It is in both of his back legs and spine. He is an outdoor ragdoll, 12 years old and weighs 5.9kg. At the moment he is on Metacam.

I have a few ideas and want your absolutely honest opinion and/or experience:

1. The vet said acupuncture might be something to consider. Has anyone here had their cat treated with acupuncture and had results? I do not want to drag Wilbur to acupuncture sessions and stress him out if it does not help him.

2. Wilbur is an outdoor cat. I have been thinking of cat proofing the garden so he is confined to only this and can't go around jumping over fences. I asked my cat behaviourist what she thinks and she said it is not a good idea as he has been able to do what he wants for the last 12 years and confining him to the garden could distress him.
What is your honest opinion on this? Let him roam freely and risk injury (he likes to climb onto my neighbour's extension) or confine him to the garden and know he is safe but risk him being unhappy?

3. The vet said the arthritis is pretty bad (back legs and spine). He is 12 years old now. Was thinking of getting him a heater bed or something (he is a ragdoll so pretty big). Can anyone recommend anything? His favourite sleeping spot is currently our large dining table with no cushion but only a blanket.

I will obviously keep a close eye on him in the future to see if the arthritis gets any worse. He will be going to the vets every 4 months for check-ups and will have a 6 monthly blood test.

Many thanks to everyone's replies!
 

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ok, my experience is very out of date...

we did give a cat cod liver oil for joint pain - on vet advice, and it did help so my mum continued with it - even when we were giving tablets we were later proscribed.

the restriction of freedom - IMO, let him decide when its time to stay in your garden.
 

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With regards to cat proofing your garden, I think this would be in his best interests. Older cats, especially not in good health, are exremely vulnerable. How would he escape a fox, or if he wandered into the garden of a cat aggressive dog, how would he escape? There are hundreds of other dangers for young healthy cats, let alone those that are slightly disabled.

He will not be as fast on his feet as he used to be. Please keep him safe from harm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What I forgot to add to my opening post is the following:

Last week he came home limping and he had sprained his front leg. We guess he tried to jump a high fence as his back claws were scuffed too.

And we do have foxes here! This is why he is being kept in at night anyway.
 

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There are a lot of foxes near me too, and I can assure you that they are as active in the day as they are at night. They are in my neighbours garden every lunch time.

There was a thread on here not long ago - someone had found their 14 year old cat dead which looked like a fox attack.
 

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I am an advocate of outdoor roaming cats whenever possible but if he's not as fit as he was I think cat proofing your garden is a good idea if you can afford it.

It doesn't have to be a prison, you could always add a good outdoor climbing post/activity centre for him. Yes his "territory" will have shrunk but he's still getting outdoors and you will have the peace of mind he's safe. Better than having to go searching for him if he's stuck in another garden due to pain.
 
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