Dear Dennis,

As you got older, you started to need more medications. First came the thyroid medication, which was a pill you took quite happily twice a day, as long as it was hidden in a bit of canned food or a pill pocket (I also know my husband would use cheese sometimes, behind my back).

As you started to feel better and your activity level increase, we could see that you were sometimes stiff and reluctant to jump up on the couch or climb the stairs. Arthritis has only recently been recognized in cats, but at the age of fifteen, I knew that was the most likely cause.

There are some good ways to help ease arthritis pain and stiffness in cats, and even specialists in animal pain management. So we started, step-by-step, to add supplements and medications to get you moving around.

First, I added a cartilage-based supplement which we could sprinkle onto your daily canned food. You took it easily, and after a few weeks, it seemed to be helping, but not enough. Then, we added an omega fatty acid supplement as recommended by Dr. Downing (link above). You also took this easily on your canned food, and again, some help but not enough.

So then we started with the medications. You got a daily dose of Metacam liquid medication, again flavoured and added to your food. And this seemed enough for quite a while.

One thing about you, Dennis. It was easy to get medications into you, because you easily accepted anything added to your canned food, and you would take your thyroid pills tucked into a small bite of food or a treat. Not all cats can be medicated this easily, and now I know how lucky we were.

After another few years, you seemed to be slowing down again. Your blood work looked good, so we added another medication called gabapentin. This one was a little more tricky, because the capsule needs to be taken whole or the medication inside is very bitter. However, you were still a trooper.

Now, my husband had some trouble with figuring out the medications because we had powders and liquids and pills, so I had to make sure I took the time each day to give them. But, I’m glad to say you felt well and moved well. We gave you a great quality of life as you got older, and I really proud of that.