Back in 2018, Obie faced some serious medical challenges. He was diagnosed with a tissue sarcoma in his tail. The only answer for him was to have his tail amputated.
“He now just has a little stump. He can still wag it, though, which is adorable!”
Rosie has spent a lot of time in veterinary practice and understood the potential implications of this amputation. Although he was now perfectly healthy and able to get on with his life, Rosie was concerned that he might have trouble with his balance with no tail.
“He does all his normal Obie things, jumping, running around and going outside. He also likes to sleep up high. Currently, his bed is on top of the dresser, which he needs to be able to jump up and down from safely. As his balance could be affected biomechanically, I figured that could potentially affect how his joints work. His spine, hips, knees and elbows may have to work differently now that he doesn’t have the counterbalance of his tail.”
As it stands, Obie is healthy, but Rosie is very aware that this change in his balance and biomechanics may mean that he struggles with his mobility later in life.
She wanted to help future Obie by supporting his mobility and joint health now.
“He doesn’t act 10 and a half, which is fantastic. He loves exploring, jumping on fences, and doing all those cat things. I want him to be able to do that for as long as possible—not have to stay inside because he’s feeling a bit creaky or he comes down the fence awkwardly because it’s hard for him.”
Of course, Rosie was concerned after his cancer diagnosis. The positive outcome was the best she could have asked for, but she worried about his mobility and balance, as well as his ability to communicate, as a cat’s tail is vital to their communication.
“After his surgery, I was given no advice in terms of supporting his joint health. I had discussions with colleagues, and of course I knew of many joint supplements on the market.”
Rosie was introduced to Antinol by a friend. She did lots of background reading and decided to give it a try.
For many cat owners, getting their cat to eat the supplement can be stressful.
“I wasn’t worried about if he would eat it, although I wanted to get it into him in the least stressful way. I didn’t want to have to put it in his mouth every day—down the hatch.”
Luckily Obie loves his Antinol!
“Some days, he’ll literally eat it like a treat. Other times I dip it into a tiny bit of Marmite, which he LOVES! He has his own jar so that I don’t double-dip into my jar.”
As Rosie is such an experienced nurse, we asked if she had any tips for getting cats to eat Antinol (or anything similar that we need them to eat).
“Hide it in something. Something quite smelly as cats are driven by smell. For Obie, he loves low-salt marmite. For other cats, things like tuna, or ham (but avoid cheese). With Antinol, it’s literally the size of my little fingernail, so he’s not getting a slice of toast full of marmite. I literally dip one end of the capsule.”
Obie has had Antinol for a few years now, so what differences has she seen in him?
“His fur! His fur wasn’t bad before, but now it’s super thick! As cats age, their coat can get thinner and more brittle, but with Obie, it’s the other way. He’s a wonderful snuggly hot water bottle!”
When talking to owners in her veterinary practice, what does she recommend if they are worrying about their cat’s mobility?
“When I’m having mobility discussions with any owners, the number one thing I recommend is Antinol. If I feed it to my own cat, I am 100% happy to recommend it to other cat owners!”
Rosie’s top tips for supporting an older cat’s mobility and wellness
- Cats are incredible at hiding if they are struggling—it's a survival instinct. So make sure you get joint health support early, don’t wait until they are showing outward signs.
- We would always rather you come into the clinic with your happy, well pet than once they are already struggling—so do all you can to prevent them from having problems. Regular health checks, vaccinations, parasite treatments, and joint supplements are all ways to support your pet’s long-term health and wellness.
- Look for subtle behavioural changes—sleeping more, sleeping in different places, taking different routes around the house. These are all signs that your cat may need some joint health support or a check-up with their vet.