Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Does heat help arthritic cats?

Eamon the cat cuddled up to the heater
Eamon enjoys the heat from the oil-filled furnace.
Eamon has always been a heat-seeking cat. In fact, when he was a kitten, he would run to the nearest vent when he heard the furnace turn on and I would watch his whiskers ruffle in the hot breeze as he closed his eyes.

Ever since he hurt his back, however, Eamon has been an absolute freak about heat. He will drape himself over the other cats, snuggling into their warmth, and he'll sit so close to this little oil-filled heater that I'm afraid he'll melt parts of his fur. It started to make me wonder if his arthritis symptoms were reduced when he was hot.

There have been plenty of studies that suggest that some forms of human arthritis do better with heat therapies. Perhaps when the muscles are warm and relaxed, they tug a bit less on painful joints and bones and the people feel a bit better. Other forms of arthritis don't do well with heat therapies, however, since people with those diseases tend to feel as though their joints are hot and inflamed already.

For now, I try to keep things a bit warmer for Eamon, in case it helps. He has ready access to this heater during the day, and in the evenings, I make sure the furnace is up and running. I've put a few comfy beds near the furnace vents as well. I hope, however, that he won't choose to climb into the fireplace on Christmas Eve in the hopes of getting warm. I may have to keep the squirt gun handy to keep him out.