Cats are fascinating animals. One very unique thing about them is they have more elastic tissue than other animals. If you’ve ever watched a cat hunt or play, you’ll have seen they are more flexible than even the most elite gymnasts, contorting themselves into impossible positions, racing with great speed, as well as jumping up and down from incredible heights. With all this flexibility and mobility, it makes you wonder if they even need chiropractic care.
The short answer is yes and let us explain why.
Cats may be very mobile and flexible, but that mobility and flexibility are due to a well-functioning skeletal structure and fully functioning muscular and nervous systems. Just like other animals, these systems can get off track. The cat’s body can also be affected by restrictions in joint movement, muscular tension, nervous system irritation, injuries, degeneration, and other conditions. They do, however, often respond faster to chiropractic care than many other animals due to their more elastic nature.
Some of the more common conditions helped by chiropractic care are osteoarthritis, incontinence, spondylosis, and intervertebral disc disease. While chiropractic does not offer a “cure” for these conditions, it does minimize the discomfort or other associated symptoms, leading to a higher quality of life.
While any area of the body can be affected and need chiropractic care, in cats, we most commonly see restrictions along their spine including their pelvic region, mid-back, and neck. Each of these areas is very important to their ability to move about at will and with comfort. It is not uncommon for an issue in one area to affect the mobility of associated areas. This is called compensation. Compensation allows animals to keep functioning as they offset a painful or troubled area, though the function is not as good as it could be without the interference joint restrictions and tight muscles create. This is why when we see a cat, we not only examine and treat the area with signs or symptoms, but the cat’s whole body to address any compensations in associated areas.
Cats are very tough, but also sensitive animals. Often they are very skilled at hiding their discomfort until it is more severe. There are some signs you can watch for in your cat that commonly indicate discomfort.
Some common signs include:
- Lethargy or not moving around as much as usual
- Accidents outside the litter box
- Lameness or limping
- Overgrooming of an area
- Sudden dislike of being petted
- Decreased appetite
Cats can show they have discomfort in so many ways, and often they will be quite subtle about it. As discussed above, when these signs are noticed in your cat, chiropractic can help them feel much better and improve how their body is functioning. An examination will indicate if chiropractic care is the best course of treatment, or if other conditions need to be addressed or ruled out by their vet first. Cats may be super flexible and tough, but even they will benefit from the optimal functioning offered by chiropractic care.