Joint supplements aren’t a substitute for veterinary care, but they could help your aging cat feel their best. As a complement to a healthy diet, certain ingredients may help relieve joint stiffness, reduce inflammation, and alleviate pain.
In this guide, we discuss the potential benefits of joint support supplements for cats and review the best ingredients. We’ll also provide a roundup of our top picks for cat joint supplements.
At a Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Joint Supplements for Cats
Want a quick look at the products reviewed in this article? In the comparison table below, we’ve highlighted some of the most important features of each product. You’ll find more detailed information about each product later in the article.
- Made with research-backed ingredients
- Appealing aroma and chicken liver flavor
- Soft texture makes it easy to chew
- Perfectly sized for cats
- Soft, squishy texture is easy to chew
- Long history of positive reviews
- Liquid supplement is easy to administer
- Clearly marked eyedropper for easy dosage
- Cats seem to enjoy the beef flavor
- Easy to administer powdered form
- Cats seem to like the beef flavor
- Wide array of joint-supporting ingredients
- Soft, chewy texture
- Moderately strong active ingredient concentration
- Rich in omega-3 fatty acids and MSM
- Crunchy exterior with soft inside
- May appeal to picky eaters
- Carries the NASC quality seal
Why Trust Cats.com
As the owner of three senior cats, I’ve spent a significant amount of time worrying about joint health. To supplement my personal experience and prior knowledge, I performed extended research on cat joint health (and the active ingredients that support it) before deciding which products to test. I read clinical studies, consulted veterinary experts, and collected anecdotal evidence from cat owners who have used joint supplements.
I personally purchased all of the products included in this roundup and tested them with my three cats Bagel, Munchkin, and Biscuit. In addition to analyzing the product information, I researched the brands and checked their rating on FakeSpot. During testing, I made observations about each supplement’s appearance, aroma, and ease of use while my cats provided their opinions on flavor and general appeal.
The 10 Best Cat Supplements for Joint Health
Before giving your cat any kind of supplement or medication, check with your veterinarian. While healthy cats prone to mobility issues may benefit from a daily supplement that contains joint-supporting ingredients, cats with chronic joint problems may be better served by vet-prescribed medications that reduce joint pain and inflammation.
What To Consider When Buying Cat Joint Supplements
Before giving your cat any kind of supplement or medication, it’s essential to do your research. As with supplements intended for human consumption, supplements for pets are less closely regulated than pet food. Here are a few key considerations to take into account.
Look for Evidence-Based Active Ingredients
While joint research involving pets (especially cats) is somewhat lacking, some of the same ingredients shown to support joint health in humans may provide similar benefits for your cat.
Some of the best ingredients to look for include:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: The anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids could benefit cats suffering from inflammatory joint issues. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) may be particularly useful in blocking enzymes that break down joint cartilage.
- MSM: A naturally occurring chemical, supplemental MSM has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation in osteoarthritis patients.
- Undenatured Collagen Type II: Derived from chicken sternum collagen and unexposed to heat, acids, or enzymes, this type of collagen may help control progressive joint damage, particularly in the case of autoimmune-related arthritis.
- Microlactin: A protein extracted from the milk of hyperimmunized cows, miralactin reduces inflammation in a way similar to corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Some evidence suggests, however, that it may do so with fewer gastrointestinal or kidney-related side effects.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin Concerns
These ingredients are touted for their supposed joint health benefits, but research that supports any definitive benefit is limited. As key components of cartilage, glucosamine helps make up the structure of joint cartilage, while chondroitin supports its resistance to compression.
While both are necessary elements of healthy joint cartilage, studies involving supplementary forms of glucosamine and chondroitin yield inconsistent results. Some cats may benefit from these supplements and others may not. When shopping specifically for these supplements, some experts recommend looking for low-molecular-weight chondroitin to optimize absorption.
Customer reviews are a great resource when shopping for supplements, but there are a lot of fakes out there. To weed out suspicious reviews, check the brand’s listing on FakeSpot.
It’s pretty safe to assume that products sold by major retailers like Chewy (especially those that require a prescription) have been vetted to some degree, but glowing reviews for products from unknown brands should be taken with a grain of salt. Budding supplement brands sometimes pad their ratings by offering free products in exchange for favorable reviews.
Look for the Nasc Quality Seal
The National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) seal identifies products made by companies that adhere to certain standards for quality. In addition to demonstrating ongoing compliance with these standards, companies must pass an independent third-party audit every two years in order to display the NASC seal.
Participation in the NASC quality seal program is voluntary. So, while the lack of an NASC seal doesn’t necessarily mean a product is unsafe or ineffective, it’s a good metric for quickly deciding which products are worth considering.
Learning all about joint supplements in cats can seem daunting. Remember that your veterinarian is an excellent source of information about joint supplements. They can address your questions and concerns about the supplements, instruct you on how to administer the supplement to your cat, and potentially recommend the most appropriate joint supplement for your cat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do joint supplements for cats work?
The efficacy of joint supplements depends on the type of active ingredients and their concentration. Certain ingredients may be more effective for reducing specific symptoms like pain or joint degradation while others may be better for general inflammation. Your vet is the best person to advise you on which ingredients will benefit your cat most.
What are good joint supplements for cats?
Joint supplements for cats are a mixed bag. To decide which product is right for your cat, start by talking to your veterinarian. Once you have an idea of what active ingredients are best suited to your cat’s needs, consider your cat’s individual preferences for supplement type and flavor when making your decision.
At what age should cats start taking joint supplements?
There is no specific recommended age and some cats don’t need to take joint supplements at all. If your cat starts showing signs of joint stiffness, pain, or mobility issues, it may be time to broach the subject of joint supplements with your veterinarian.
How long does it take cat joint supplements to work?
Every cat is different but it may take a few weeks for your cat to experience the full effects of a supplement or medication. Follow the dosing instructions and be consistent about administering it.