Do Cats Need Chiropractic??

by: Dr. Tecla Fuller, DC (AVCA certified Animal Chiropractor)

I admit, I am a cat person. Most of us come in one flavor or another, we love dogs or we love cats. Some like a mix. Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs too, as they comprise 98% of my chiropractic practice. At the cellular level, I’m a cat lady.  I have noticed how cats are now being included in television advertisements more than ever before. I think it’s just splendid to see cats dancing to “Stayin Alive” and discussing the type of cat liter they use. There are cats on medication commercials as well as cats having a birthday celebration. They make special cat harnesses for taking your cat on a walk, as well as strollers and backpacks so that kitty can go along too.  

So, lets talk about chiropractic. As an animal chiropractor, I regularly adjust my cats. They love it, often jumping onto the table in front of the other one as they can’t wait for their turn. My two late cats were the reason I began to branch off into animal chiropractic. It was an easy decision to make, despite the very challenging educational process to complete the necessary hours of education, travel for hands-on training and then setting for the national boards. It was the best decision!

Do cats need chiropractic care? How do cat owners know when their feline needs an adjustment???

Despite the popularity of cats, most small animal vet practices see fewer cats than dog visits. Of the 95 million owned cats, more than half of them will never see a veterinarian or other health care provider. Cat owners may feel that it isn’t necessary to see a veterinarian, or it is a source of stress for both the cat and the owner. Many of these cats would benefit from chiropractic care.

Cats are much better at hiding signs of pain and discomfort than dogs. The usual presentation for a dog is limping, reluctance to go up or down the stairs or an older dog may have more difficulty getting up and down from a lying position. Cats can display more subtle signs.

The following is a list of signs that may indicate a cat could benefit from an adjustment.

  • Stretching excessively (for 5-10 minutes) after rising
  • Slow moving up or down stairs
  • Stiff walking or slow gait
  • Inability to jump up onto the couch
  • Pain on picking up the cat
  • Limping on one leg or dragging toes
  • Incontinence or constipation
  • Inability to get into the litter box
  • Increased time to jump up on the bed or couch
  • Dislike of petting or brushing of the back end
  • Rolling or flinching skin when touched
  • Grinding teeth
  • Excess licking when mouth is manipulated
  • Excess licking of legs
  • Decreased grooming behavior

Not included in the list above are chronic diseases that cats may commonly suffer. Any chronic health condition can benefit from regular chiropractic care. Chiropractic addresses the spinal column and the associated nerves that exit the spine. Those nerves affect every tissue, organ, and cell. Proper spinal alignment can affect every function of the body, boosting the immune system, and allowing it to function at its optimum, even if suffering from chronic disease.

Both of my senior cats suffered from CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease). CKD is a common diagnosis in senior cats and can effect up to 30-40% of cats older than 10 years of age. Kidney disease is an inflammatory condition, therefore, chiropractic care, laser therapy, acupuncture, dietary changes, and nutritional supplementation can be helpful in managing this disease.

Most cats love chiropractic care and they respond better than any other species. Consider your cat and how he/she reacts to its environment. If your cats don’t mind an occasional outing, an office visit suits most cats just fine. However, if your cat is extremely territorial, shy, aggressive and doesn’t do well in unfamiliar environments, then a home visit may be the best option for getting your cat adjusted.

References:

Animal Chiropractic – Cats, Gene F. Giggleman, DVM, D. Hum., CAC, NREMT; American Veterinary Chiropractic Association 2023 Annual Conference presentation.

Feline Chiropractic – Stroking the Tiger, Janice Huntingford, DVM, MS-TVVM, CVA CVPP; American Veterinary Chiropractic Association 2023 Annual Conference presentation.

Kongtasai T, Paepe D, Meyer E, Mortier F, Marynissen S, Stammeleer L, Defauw P, Daminet S. Renal biomarkers in cats: A review of the current status in chronic kidney disease. J Vet Intern Med. 2022 Mar;36(2):379-396. doi: 10.1111/jvim.16377. Epub 2022 Feb 26. PMID: 35218249; PMCID: PMC8965260.

Pet Ownership Statistics 2024, Forbes Advisor; https://www.forbes.com/advisor/pet-insurance/pet-ownership-statistics/#:~:text=Popularity%20certainly%20has%20nothing%20to,29%25%20of%20households%20own%20cats.