Cosequin for Cats: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

By Chelsea Hunt-Rivera / December 10, 2018
cosequin for cats

Aging is a natural part of every body’s lifetime. Additionally, this unavoidable reality is true for our feline friends as well. On average, healthy indoor domestic cats live for fifteen years, with some cats living well into their twenties! Crazy enough, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the oldest documented cat lived to be just over 38 years old. During the latter years of even the healthiest cats life, you may notice them struggling more than usual to move around. Well, like us aging humans, cats can suffer from joint aches and pains. So what can you do to make your cat more comfortable and nimble again? Well, a quick trip to the vet or search on the internet may point you in the direction of the joint supplement Cosequin. In this article, we are going to tell you everything you need to know about joint pain and Cosequin for cats.

cosequin for cats

What is Cosequin for Cats?

Cosequin is an over-the-counter joint supplement with unique formulas made for cats, dogs, and horses. Highly recommended by veterinarians, Cosequin is intended to lubricate joints and help prevent the natural pain of aging. Specifically, Cosequin helps prevent the breakdown of cartilage that connects bones at the joints. Better yet, it helps produce healthy cartilage that has worn away from age or disease. Furthermore, Cosequin has been known to help treat feline urinary tract infections (UTI’s) and promote overall bladder health.

Cosequin is less harsh than most prescription medications intended for the same use. However, Cosequin is not meant to “cure” extreme joint distress. If your cat is suffering a particularly advanced case of joint pain or disease, your vet may recommend a more powerful medicine or possibly even surgery.

Cosequin Ingredients

Before giving your cat any unfamiliar medicines or supplements, you should always know what the ingredients are. Furthermore, if any of the ingredients are unknown to you or perhaps are confusingly scientific in nature, you should always do further research. You would be shocked how many unsavory ingredients sneak there way into animal food and medicine. Let’s break down the ingredients of Cosequin, shall we?

  1. Glucosamine Hydrochloride (125 mg)
  2. Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate (120 mg)
  3. Manganese Ascorbate (1 mg)

Also included in small amounts are FD & C Blue #1 and #3, gelatin, magnesium stearate, natural flavor, and titanium dioxide.

Perhaps you recognize some of those words from the good ole’ period table we all learned about in grade school. Worry not, there is no need to dust off your old science book. As a matter of fact, we are about to dive into the key ingredients right here.

Glucosamine Hydrochloride

First on the list, glucosamine hydrochloride. Glucosamine gets the number one spot, not only because it is essential to Cosequin’s formula, but because it makes up the most of it. That is to say, there is 125mg of glucosamine in every Cosequin pill.

Glucosamine is a naturally occurring substance derived from the shells of crustaceans. Made up of glutamine and glucose, glucosamine is known for promoting healthy cartilage, which is essential to healthy joints. Studies show it takes roughly eight weeks for the positive effects of glucosamine to become apparent. There are three types of glucosamine: glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, and n-acetylglucosamine. As previously stated, in the case of Cosequin, glucosamine hydrochloride (aka GHI) is used. The purest form of glucosamine, GHI is known to be more concentrated and more effective than it’s sister formulas.

Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate

Derived from the cartilage of cows and sometimes sharks, sodium chondroitin sulfate (SCS) is a leading ingredient in the treatment of osteoarthritis in animals and humans alike. Additionally, in the case of human medication, sodium chondroitin sulfate has been used to treat heart disease, HIV/AIDS, acid reflux, high cholesterol, and more.

Since SCS is derived from cartilage, it makes sense why it is a powerful tool in rejuvenating weak or aging joints.

Manganese Ascorbate

Found naturally in foods such as nuts, seeds, leafy green vegetables, and tea, manganese is essential to healthy body function. Manganese is commonly used to treat osteoarthritis and joint pain.

Cosequin for Cats Side Effects

As a primarily natural supplement, Cosequin is known to have very few side-effects in most cases. However, vomiting and diarrhea are not entirely uncommon. Furthermore, if your cat is suffering from diabetes, Cosequin has been known to elevate blood sugar levels and may not be the right fit for your pet.

Additionally, while Cosequin is non-addictive, it is a lifelong commitment if it works on your cat. Cosequin is not a cure for joint pain, and if daily administration ceases, so will the benefits. That is to say, joint damage will resurface if you stop taking Cosequin.

Finally, you should always consult your vet before introducing any new supplements into your cat’s diet. Your vet will need to know your cat’s full medical history and if he or she is taking any other medication to provide you with the proper, healthy dosage of Cosequin.

Ingredient Sourcing – A Word of Warning

When any product uses ingredients derived from animals, extra care should be taken to ensure healthy sourcing. You may recall, one of the three main ingredients of Cosequin is made from bovine cartilage. When it comes to products made for animals, it is not uncommon for second-hand ingredients to be used. While these ingredients are typically manufactured in FDA-approved facilities, it is not uncommon for the ingredients themselves to be sourced from the “4D’s”. Meaning: dead, diseased, dying, or disabled. Naturally, it is entirely unsavory to imagine feeding your cat anything made with ingredients from a dead or diseased animal.

Worse yet, the dead animals of the 4D category are often animals that have been euthanized. In many cases, these animals were put down due to poor health or disease. This means they are included in two categories of 4D: dead and diseased.

How to Spot the Signs of Poor Joint Health

Before turning to medicine or treatments of any kind, it is vital to know how to spot the signs of joint pain. As a devoted pet owner, one should always monitor their cat’s daily condition and temperament. That way, should anything change, you can spot it quickly. Cat’s are often hard to read when they are in pain because they are not quick to show obvious symptoms.  Fortunately, there are a few signs you can look out for.


While some domestic cats can sleep upwards of twenty hours a day, too much sleep may be a sign of physical pain. If you notice your cat spending more time sleeping than usual, they may be experiencing joint pain.

Additionally, cats are devout creatures of habit. Indoor cats tend to have two or three go-to sleeping spots around the house. Often times, these snuggly sleeping spots are high up on the back of the couch or on a shelf in a closet. However, if your cat is experiencing joint pain, he or she may suddenly take to sleeping on the floor or closer to the ground. Jumping up to their usual spots may hurt too much.

Limping or Movement Strain

Has your cat been less interested in your laser pointer lately? If your cat is typically playful in nature, then suddenly shows little to no interest in playtime, they are likely in pain.

Furthermore, if your cat is limping or favoring one side over the other, they may be trying to compensate for joint pain.

Irregular Grooming Habits

Grooming is an instinctual habit in all cats. However, if your cat is developing a more matted coat than usual, they may be having trouble with the movement needed to properly groom themselves.

On the other hand, over grooming can also be a sign of joint pain. Sometimes cats will excessively bite or lick a spot

angry cat

that hurts, often resulting in hair loss or skin redness.

Increased Irritability

Cats are notoriously independent creatures. This often means they do not like to be touched or picked up. However, many healthy domesticated cats have come accustomed to attention and even snuggles. That is to say, if your usually cuddly cat is suddenly angered by your touch, they are likely experiencing pain.

How to Prevent Joint Pain in Cats

The best way to treat joint pain is to prevent it from happening in the first place. While aging is a natural part of life, there are many ways you can help your cat live a long, comfortable life.

Regular Exercise

This may sound contradictory, but consistent physical activity can help prevent joint pain in the future. Regular exercise promotes a strong, healthy musculoskeletal system that helps strengthen the joints. Furthermore, the increased blood flow and circulation acts as a lubricant to the joints, making motion swifter, and more comfortable.

Better yet, consistent healthy movement can actually help repair ailing joints. Proper exercise in moderation triggers genes that facilitate healthy cartilage growth.

Finally, exercise encourages a fascinating physiological process called “autophagy”. The body is like a machine, and even the most well-oiled machines break down. When that happens, the body becomes cluttered with sub-par cells. During autophagy, the body cleanses itself of damaged cells, making room for more healthy cells.

regular exercise for cats is important

Optimal Diet

While exercise is key to a healthy lifestyle, diet is the cornerstone of a properly functioning body. A well-balanced diet ensures all parts of the body are getting the nutrients they need to work at optimal levels.

Additionally, a balanced diet is the first defense against one of the biggest health problems in domestic cats: obesity. Did you know, over 50% of indoor cats are overweight? Obesity puts far too much pressure on the joints, making it harder for cats to do simple actions like jump on the couch. Worse still, obesity is known to cause multiple residual health problems. Such as:

  • Shorter lifespan
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease)
  • Urinary tract disease
  • Decreased immune system health
  • Increased chance of certain cancers
  • Joint pain and Arthritis

raws cat food

Clearly, obesity is not worth the risk. Fortunately, obesity is entirely avoidable and treatable. Talk to your vet today about a healthy, balanced diet for your cat.

Annual Vet Visits

A number of vicious diseases and ailments can be avoided with early detection and diagnosis. In the event that your cat is developing early signs of joint pain, a trip to the vet is in order. As with any ailment, early diagnosis can lead to the shortest road to recovery.

Symptoms or not, it is important to take your cat to the vet at least once a year for an annual check-up. Regular vet visits help ensure your cat is fully vaccinated and optimally functioning.

Arthritis in Cats

It is important to note the difference between standard joint pain and full-blown arthritis. While joint pain is uncomfortable, arthritis is often downright painful. Arthritis is the result of the cartilage between the joints fully deteriorating, leaving bone-on-bone friction in its wake. Like joint pain, arthritis can often be treated with diet and supplements. However, particularly serious cases sometimes require surgery.

Considering there are multiple types of arthritis, proper diagnosis is required to determine the most effective treatment plan. Here at SimpleWag, we pride ourselves in providing thorough and informative articles on a number of pet wellness topics. That is to say, if you have any other questions about arthritis in cats, our article on the topic is sure to answer them.

Holistic Joint Supplements for Cats

With a number of questionably sourced products on the market, here at SimpleWag, we prefer a holistic approach to feline wellness. Fortunately, we live in a time that is embracing homeopathic health more than ever. There are a number of ways you can help ease your cat’s ailing joints the natural way.

Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics

As previously stated, diet is the most vital component of a healthy body. Your cat’s food is a direct source of vitamins and nutrients that nourish muscles and organs. However, sometimes an imbalanced gut will make it hard for the body to get the nutrients it requires from food. Fortunately, probiotics and digestive enzymes have been specially formulated for cats to promote healthy gastrointestinal (GI) function.

To be specific, feline probiotics help balance healthy, or “good”, bacteria in the digestive tract. A history of prescription drug usage, among other things, can throw intestinal bacteria off. As if you needed yet another reason to avoid harsh prescription medications.

A healthy diet, combined with effective administration of feline probiotics, will help your cat maintain a strong body and healthy joints.

Fatty Acids

A proper well-balanced feline diet includes essential fatty acids. The most common and effective example of fatty acids is omega-3 fish oils. Joint pain, among many other ailments, is caused by inflammation. Essential fatty acids are a natural anti-inflammatory, easing pesky joint pain. Better yet, essential fatty acids come with a number of additional benefits. Such as:

  • Reducing inflammation of the kidneys, heart, skin, and joints
  • Calming allergies (say goodbye to itchy skin!)
  • Promoting a healthy, shiny coat and reduces shedding (this also means fewer hairballs!)
  • Fostering healthy eye and brain development in kittens
  • Slowing the growth of cancer

Clearly, essential fatty acids are a powerful tool in your cat’s holistic health plan.

Glucosamine for Cats

As you may recall, glucosamine is the main ingredient of Cosequin. While some of the other ingredients in Cosequin have questionable sourcing, glucosamine is a wonderful stand-alone treatment for joint pain. Interestingly enough, glucosamine is actually produced in your cat’s body naturally. However, as cats age, this process begins to slow and eventually stop. Therefore, if your cat is suffering from joint pain, natural glucosamine supplements can work wonders for your ailing cat.

There are a number of supplements, and even glucosamine-infused treats available for your cat’s healthy joints. As always, be sure to check with your vet before introducing any new supplements into your beloved cat’s diet.

CBD Oil for Cats

With the ever-growing popularity of holistic feline wellness, you have likely heard of CBD oil. If not, we are delighted to introduce you to this so-called “miracle cure”. CBD oil has been making ways in human, canine, and feline holistic circles for quite some time. Now, there is more evidence than ever that CBD oil has miraculous health benefits. Like essential fatty acids, CBD oil is a natural anti-inflammatory, which treats a number of issues, including joint pain. Furthermore, the benefits of CBD oil in cats include:

  • Pain relief (joint/arthritis pain, nerve pain, etc)
  • Reducing fits of epilepsy and seizures
  • Calming anxiety (you don’t scare me anymore vacuum cleaner!)
  • Preventing and curing cancer
  • Promoting overall homeostasis in the body
  • Manifesting healthy skin and fur

cbd for cats

Yep, that’s right. CBD oil has been known to prevent cancer. Joint relief and decreased risk of cancer?! Clearly, you can see why CBD oil is all the rage in holistic pet wellness.

What is CBD Oil?

With an impressive list of benefits, you are likely sold on CBD oil. However, you may still have some questions about where it comes from. Well, CBD is an all-natural oil that is derived from the hemp plant. It is estimated that over 50,000 consumer products are made from hemp. Products like milk, coffee, fabric, and paper can all be made from the versatile hemp plant.

The hemp plant is a member of the cannabis family. However, unlike its infamous cousin the marijuana plant, hemp does not facilitate a psychoactive quality. The THC in the marijuana plant is responsible for giving people the feeling of “being high”. Marijuana is composed of upwards of 20% THC, while CBD oil derived from the hemp plant only has .3% THC. To repeat, that is point three percent. Therefore, CBD oil is completely safe for feline consumption and will not get your cat “high”.

Where can I get CBD oil?

CBD oil can be an unparalleled addition to your cat’s homeopathic health plan. However, not all CBD oil’s are created equally. With demand so high, more and more companies are popping up virtually overnight. Sadly, some companies cut corners to speed up production and get their products on the market sooner. It is vital that you seek CBD oil that is non-GMO, lab-tested, all-natural, and curated specifically with pets in mind. We recommend the holistic pet wellness company Honest Paws because all of their products meet these essential standards. Better yet, they have a definitive guide on everything you need to know about CBD oil for cats, should you have any lingering curiosities on the subject.

treat the cause, not the symptom

Cosequin for Cats: In Summary

Joint pain is a completely natural response to an aging feline body. However, your beloved cat doesn’t have to be in pain. While Cosequin is often recommended by vets, questionable ingredient sourcing can lead to a number of unwanted health issues. Fortunately, we live in a time where a homeopathic approach to pet wellness is more commonly practiced and effective than ever. As always, be sure to consult your vet about the most effective holistic options for your unique cat. Now, go give your cat a snuggle!



Probiotics: One of the Most Important Supplements for Your Cat

Probiotics: One of the Most Important Supplements for Your Cat

Arthritis in Cats: Everything You Need To Know

How Exercise Helps Your Joints

Disclaimer: This post may contain references to products from one or more of our partnered sites, Honest Paws and Vets Preferred. However, SimpleWag content is to be used for educational and informational purposes only. Please seek veterinary advice for your own situation.


About the author

Chelsea Hunt-Rivera

Chelsea Rivera is a Dedicated Pet Parent who loves to create amazing content for pet owners and is helping change pet wellness as the Head of Content for