Can I Give Glucosamine to My Cat?
Look, we love a cantankerous old cat more than anyone. The older they grow, the grumpier they get — and the more their unique personalities shine through.
But if your senior cat is extra-irritable, their behavior might indicate a painful hidden condition, like arthritis or Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC).
Cats are great at hiding their discomfort, so any time you notice a behavioral shift, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with the vet. (But you know that, because you’re a great pet owner.)
So, is there anything you can do for an older cat with arthritis and stiff, achy joints?
Yep. Glucosamine is a nutritional supplement that can support healthy joints. It works in both humans and cats (and dogs) and is a practical way to support your arthritic kitty.
“Should I give my cat glucosamine?” you’re probably wondering by now.
Yes — especially if they’re experiencing early onset arthritis.
But there are a few important questions to consider first:
- What are the non-toxic glucosamine formulations for cats?
- How much glucosamine is ideal for cats?
- Which formula works best between solid and liquid glucosamine for cats?
Good thing you’re reading this, because we’ll help you answer all those Qs and then some. ;)
Which Is the Best Glucosamine for Cats?
Not all supplements are created equal. Since supplements don’t fall under the strict regulations that drugs do, there’s a TON of variation in ingredients and standards.
You want to give your fur baby the best there is, avoid harming them (duh) and put the spring back in their step.
So when you’re looking for the best glucosamine for cats, look for a combination of these ingredients:
- Glucosamine, which promotes production of collagen (for tensile strength) and hyaluronic acid (for mobility). It also stimulates the production of glycosaminoglycans, which support cartilage lubrication.
- Chondroitin, which helps build new cartilage, prevents breakdown of existing cartilage, and helps cartilage retain water.
- Methyl Sulfonyl Methane (MSM), a potent anti-inflammatory that works on reducing joint pain and inflammation, and offers the body sulfur to help with production of collagen and other tissue.
- Manganese, a mineral that supports strong, healthy bones. Manganese is also related to the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), which helps the body fight free radicals.
- Hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate), which improves joint mobility and flexibility.
How Do You Identify Non-Toxic Glucosamine for Cats?
While pure glucosamine offers a lot of potential health benefits for your cats — as we already know, not all supplements are created with purity and care!
That’s why you have to be careful about the ingredients in your pet’s supplements.
To ensure you’ve chosen glucosamine safe for cats, follow these two simple steps:
Administer the correct dose for their weight.
As a rule of thumb, avoid giving your cat any human medication, including human glucosamine.
Your pet’s gut won’t easily absorb human medication, which is specifically formulated for the human digestive tract.
The other reason human glucosamine isn’t ideal for your pet? Some common ingredients that are fine for humans are toxic to cats, like xylitol. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener common in human food and supplements — but it’s toxic to cats and dogs.
Be sure to run your choice of glucosamine brand by your cat’s vet to avoid any dangerous mistakes. Your vet can also confirm you’re giving the correct dosage.
Speaking of which…
What’s the Correct Glucosamine Dosage for Cats?
Use your cat’s weight to determine how much glucosamine to give them.
Another important number to know is the concentration of active ingredients in each milliliter of glucosamine.
For example, Paramount Pet Health’s liquid glucosamine for cats contains 260 mg of glucosamine, 50 mg of chondroitin, 120 mg of MSM and 100 mg of Taurine (Read about the many important benefits of taurine for cats here).
Our glucosamine/chondroitin for cats dosage breaks down as follows:
- Cats weighing under 10 pounds should take 1 ml orally, daily.
- Cats weighing over 10 pounds should take 2 ml orally, daily.
Expert Tip: You can give your cat a “loading dose” of twice the recommended daily amount for their weight for 4-6 weeks to jumpstart the action of glucosamine in the body. After that period, drop down to the recommended maintenance dose of 1-2 ml daily.
Is Liquid Glucosamine for Cats Better?
If you’ve ever tried to pill your cat, you’ve been at the mercy of their claws (and you proooobably have the scars to show for it).
Forget about prying your cat’s jaws open. Even hiding the pill in some cheese or tuna can easily backfire. You know how suspicious our feline companions can be.
Glucosamine for cats liquid is the best option, because it:
- Mixes more easily with food
- Is easily dispensable using the dropper
- Offers superior digestive absorption compared to other forms of glucosamine
Compare Liquid Glucosamine vs Chewable Pills and Powder Capsules
Proprietary glucosamine formulations on the market are available as soft chewable tablets, or capsules of powder that can be opened and sprinkled on cat food. You may think that chewable tablets are like cat glucosamine treats but some still won't take them.
In the table below, we compare glucosamine formulas: Paramount Pet Health’s Liquid formula against sprinkle capsules and “soft chews”.
|Paramount Pet Health Liquid Glucosamine||
|Glucosamine Sprinkle Capsules||
|Glucosamine Soft Chews||
Whether your cat is a picky eater, has dietary issues or is just extremely suspicious, liquid glucosamine will ease your daily pill struggles.
What Is Glucosamine?
So far, we’ve discussed the best formulations and ways to give your cat glucosamine safely.
You might still be wondering, what exactly is glucosamine? How can it be both a supplement and a natural product of the body?
Bear with us while we get a little nerdy. 🤓
Glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound that’s one of the building blocks of cartilage.
(Quick refresher on cartilage: While your cat’s bones — and your bones — provide the rigid structure that keeps them moving and upright, cartilage is a substance that cushions and lubricates the bones to ensure they move smoothly. It also acts as a shock absorber, bearing the pressure of the body’s weight and movement.)
Glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM provide key ingredients for cartilage repair and joint lubrication. Unfortunately, the body produces less of these substances as it ages, which leads to wear and tear in the joints and cartilage.
Damaged cartilage can expose sensitive bone ends, causing pain and inflammation in the joints — which means cats reduce their movement, because it hurts!
Supplemental glucosamine is a nutraceutical: a non-drug substance meant to improve well-being and health.
Although it’s regulated as a food supplement, you should only give it to your cat after consulting their veterinarian.
Bonus Benefits of Glucosamine for Cats
A bonus application of glucosamine? It can also help alleviate the inflammation of feline lower urinary tract infections and Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC).
Since urinary issues are very hard to diagnose and can be very dangerous if left untreated, this is yet another reminder that you can’t go wrong bringing your cat to the vet if their behavior changes. :)
Frequently Asked Questions
How quickly does glucosamine work in cats?
Vets often recommend treatment with a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin for 2-6 weeks before any therapeutic effects can become evident.
Remember, glucosamine doesn’t cure arthritis — it supports cartilage repair and eases joint pain in cats, which can make them more comfortable and improve their mobility.
Can cats be allergic to glucosamine?
As with any other food substance, it’s possible for cats to develop an allergy to glucosamine. Cats side effects of weight loss, dermatitis, diarrhea, vomiting, irritated bowel, and hair loss could point to a possible allergy.
The only way to be sure what’s causing a cat’s potential allergic reaction is for you and your vet to run a dietary elimination study, first stopping and then later reintroducing foods and supplements one at a time. Another option that is new on the market to talk to your vet about is Solensia for cats. It is a injection that could help with your cat's arthritis.
When should I start giving my cat glucosamine?
Cats can develop arthritis as early as seven years old (this is the age when most vets consider a cat a “senior”). That said, your fur baby may develop premature arthritis if born with weak joints.
Seven years is a good age to start cats on glucosamine and chondroitin supplements with the vet’s approval — especially if your cat changes their sleep, grooming, movement, and litter box habits. Find out more about how to care for your aging cat.
Get Your Baby Feeling Better
If your fur baby has been feeling less than peppy because of joint pain and swelling, it’s time for you and the vet to explore liquid glucosamine for cats. They’ll thank you for their better quality of life and pain-free movement by manically streaking across the house. Ah, the good old days!