Meow, Meow, Purr, Purr: Tips and Tricks for Little Kitty

I’ve previously written articles on how to care for your pets when you are flared. But I realized, in my most recent one, I only talked about dogs!

As someone who also has cats, I know their needs are a bit different. Thankfully, they don’t have the exercise requirements but there are other issues that can prove difficult for someone with rheumatoid disease.

Taking care of cats when living with RA


Same with the dogs, I portion out the food in easy-open containers or sandwich baggies. On bad days, I cannot grip the dry food scoop well, so just emptying an already portioned bag of food into the bowl is a lot easier.

If kitty is on a wet food diet, I section out the food for at least a couple of days in advance. It’s faster on good days and way easier to manage than opening tins and scooping out food with cutlery.

There are also automatic cat food dispensers that pour out food at intervals. This is a more expensive option but means that you don’t have to refill the dry food as often.


This is a little bit of a more expensive option (and one I personally am not a huge fan of): those automatic water dispenser fountains. There are many varieties. My guess is that I have never tried one of the better (more pricey) ones so that’s why I am not set on it. It usually comes with a filter and the water cycles throughout the day. This means you don’t have to fill, wash, and water as often. Of course, do your research. I found washing the fountain more tedious than just the plain water bowl that I use.

Another, less expensive tip: When choosing a water bowl, get one that is dishwasher safe. That way, you can easily put it in the washer and not hand-wash it yourself. Just make sure there is no soap residue left over after the cycle!


Oh litter, the bane of my RA existence. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve stared at the litter bag wondering if I could teleport the litter from it into the box. (Unfortunately, I have not yet figured how to do that yet). I buy cat litter in bulk so the bags are kind of heavy – read: 25 pounds. Let’s just say on a good day, that’s a pretty impossible weight for me.

I bet you know what I’m going to say!! PORTION CONTROL! I section out how much litter I need for a full clean and leave it aside.

I personally don’t like scented, scoopable litters (just personal preference). But, using this type of litter means you do not have to do a full clean of the box as often.

Cat lining bags are an option to just close and throw versus picking up the box and tipping out the contents into a bag.

Of course, this is a bit of trial-and-error for what you prefer.


Little meows need as much enrichment as dogs do even if it’s not exercise, necessarily.

My cats adored the little wands that have mice or feathers hanging off them. Unfortunately, my hands don’t necessarily allow me to hold said wand sometimes. I fashioned a make-shift one (nothing fancy, I just tied a string around a mouse) and tied it to the door handle or the stairs. I showed the cats where it was and they would go play by themselves.

If your cat is food-oriented, you can hide treats around the room and let kitty investigate and find them. Or, if you want to tap into their prey instinct, throw treats across the room and see if they chase after them.

There are also electronic toys that the cat can chase...Personally, my girls didn’t really enjoy those as much.


And finally, brushing. If I don’t brush my cats regularly they get hairballs. When my hands are uncooperative, I use either a large paddle brush I tape to my hand (so I don’t have to hold it) or I wrap the handle in socks so it’s bigger and less painful to grab.

Did you find these tips helpful? What other things do you do to make life with kitty easier?

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