Therapeutic exercises in cats

8 October 2018 – News

While cats may not seem the most likely candidates for therapeutic exercise (TE), it is possible to create treatment plans that can benefit most patients.

TE aims to increase the range of motion in joints, improve muscle strength and limb use, as well as improving proprioception and mobility. TE consists of three sorts of exercise:

  • Passive exercises – useful for increasing the range of motion in joints and enabling them to move without active muscle use
  • Proprioceptive exercises – these can be introduced when patients can bear some body weight. They include exercises designed to train neuromuscular function and increase strength and endurance
  • Active exercises – these make use of cats’ playing and hunting behaviors to motivate them

Swimming and underwater treadmill training can also be used successfully and are tolerated by many cats although animals that struggle with these techniques might injure themselves further.  As cats are not used to being manipulated for long periods of time, appropriate patient and treatment selection is paramount.

In Drum, M. G., & Bockstahler, B. (2015). Feline Rehabilitation. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice.