Glucosamine for Cats: Everything You Need to Know

Glucosamines and glucosaminoglycans are used to prevent and treat diseases of the musculoskeletal system such as osteoarthritis and certain problems in the cat’s urinary tract.

Many pet owners have thoughts about glucosamines.

Do glucosamines really help?

How long can the cat eat them?

What products are there for cats and which products are good in quality?

With this article, we try to answer most of these thoughts.

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis or OA (osteoarthritis) is a disease in which the articular cartilage breaks down at an unnaturally fast rate. The disease is characterized by loss of articular cartilage which results in the underlying bone tissue being exposed. This leads to the condition that is usually characterized by joint pain. Causes of osteoarthritis can be, for example, diseases that affect the musculoskeletal system or as various traumas.

Many cats suffer from osteoarthritis without our knowledge

According to veterinary experts, many older cats have osteoarthritis. In some studies, it has been shown that among cats over 8 years, 60% of the cats had suffered from osteoarthritis. Because cats are masters at hiding their signs of illness, unfortunately many cats are allowed to go with osteoarthritis without their pet owners noticing anything.

For more detailed information about the disease, read our article, Osteoarthritis in Cats.

Glucosamines in cats affected by osteoarthritis

It is important to add new building blocks to the joint and articular cartilage. Chondortisulfate is a GAG, glucosaminoglycan, a component of cartilage and glucosamine is a precursor to GAGs.

GAG´s have a shock-absorbing effect in the joint and work, among other things, to relieve pain in osteoarthritis. Doses of drugs can often be reduced after giving the cat GAGs for a while.

How to choose glucosamines?

There are different types of glucosamines that have been produced in different degrees of purity and that are different in molecular size. It is difficult as a pet owner to find the right products in a jungle of different supplements.

Here are three important tips to follow when choosing glucosamines for cats:

  • Only buy glucosamines that are for cats. Preparations for humans are not as effective, as dogs and cats take up glucosamines in different ways compared to humans. It is most effective when chondroitin sulfate and glucosamines are combined. Preparations that are made for cats have also been made so that they are easy to give. They are often flavored with meat aromas or they have been made in powder form so that they can be easily mixed into soft foods.
  • Choose high quality supplements. Preferably buy dietary supplements that are manufactured with the same strict requirements as the manufacture of medicines. If a pharmaceutical company has manufactured the dietary supplement, this is usually a good indication of quality.
  • Dietary supplements for osteoarthritis in cats and dogs that contain Glucosamine-HCl (glucosamine hydrochloride) are good supplements. Glucosamine-HCl is small in molecular size that can get directly into the joint and therefore becomes more effective. Dietary supplements with these glucosamines are, for example, Seraquin and Cosequin.
  • Choose well-proven products. In 2000, the School of Pharmacy, University of Maryland conducted a study in which as many as 32 dietary supplements were examined in various ways. Among other things, it was investigated whether the products contained the same amounts of chondroitin sulphate as the tables of contents promised. 26 of the 32 products contained less than 90% of the quantity promised by the manufacturer in the table of contents. 17 of these 26 products contained less than 40% of the promised quantities!

What different products are there to choose from?

The home veterinarian only recommends dietary supplements for joints that are of the highest quality and that we know work as many of our own patients are on treatment with the dietary supplements.


This supplement contains a combination of glucosamine-HCl and chondroitin sulfate along with turmeric. Turmeric is a natural antioxidant which prevents free radicals from doing harm. Free radicals increase, among other things, in osteoarthritis, which contributes to the inflammation that occurs in the joint.

Serquin is a well-proven dietary supplement for cats. It has been used to relieve osteoarthritis in cats for many years. The company that produces seraquin is the pharmaceutical company Boheringer Ingelheim and they have constantly developed serquin to, among other things. make it more palatable and easier to give to cat. It is a company that was among the first to invest more resources in developing drugs for cats in particular. They have done a lot of research to develop painkillers for cats that suffer from, among other things. arthritis.

Seraquin are chewable tablets that are flavored with hydrolyzed chicken and are therefore very easy to give. Many cats eat chewable tablets as candy. You can also crush the tablets and mix them in the cat’s soft food.

For a cat of 5 kilos, the starting dosage is 2 tablets a day for 1 month. After this period, you can try to reduce the dose to 1 tablet a day. At this maintenance dose, a pack of 60 tablets for 2 months is enough.


Cosequin contains glucosamine-HCl, chondroitin sulphate in powder form, packaged in capsules. The capsules break up and can be easily mixed into the cat’s soft food. If the cat eats dry food, you can soak the food a little so that the powder sticks to the food pieces. You can also give the capsules directly in the cat’s mouth if you want. Cosequin has been on the international market for a long time and is manufactured according to the same regulations as pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Cosequin is a supplement of the highest quality. It was one of the American supplements that in the study conducted by the School of Pharmacy in 2000, ended up at the top of the list of dietary supplements that really contained what they promised.

For a cat up to 4.5 kilos, the starting dosage is 1 capsule a day for 1 – 1.5 months. After this period, you can try to reduce the dose to one capsule every other day. For this maintenance dose, a pack of 90 capsules for 6 months will suffice.

Green-lipped mussel

Green-lipped mussel, GLM contains various glucosaminoglycans and a unique fatty acid composition, lyprinol, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Especially in cats, not many studies have been done, but it has been seen that cats that have been allowed to eat food containing GLM show less symptoms of osteoarthritis. GLM is a good choice if you have a cat that also has skin problems such as allergies as it contains omega 3 and omega 6 which reduces inflammation. However, in our experience, GLM seems to take a little longer before you notice the effect of the treatment. I recommend giving the cat at least 4-8 weeks on the supplement. Glyco-flex II is a soft chewable tablet that is easy to give to cats. If the cat does not eat it, it can crumble and mix in the food.

Glucosamines in feed

For the cats who are the worst detectives and can sniff out everything that is different, there are also foods that contain glucosamines. There are also many types of feed here that do not contain such high amounts of glucosamines that they help significantly with osteoarthritis.

Specific Joint Support for cats includes maintenance dosing of glucosamines for cats as well as anti-inflammatory fatty acids.

Royal Canin Mobility contains slightly less than the maintenance dosage of glucosamines for cats. I usually recommend the food for preventive purposes, as you have a cat that has injured itself in the musculoskeletal system but does not yet show signs of osteoarthritis or to cats with a slightly milder form of osteoarthritis. You can also combine these feeds with small doses of glucosamines. Many cats eat, for example, Seraquin as sweets.

How is the treatment of cats with glucosamines done?

It is not dangerous to give glucosamines for a long time. On the contrary, you should treat the older cat with them for life if you notice that the cat suffers from osteoarthritis. About 3-6 weeks after the start of treatment, you usually see the effect of the dietary supplements by, among other things, getting a more mobile and happier cat.

It is often also beneficial to put cats on a low dose with glucosamines that are sensitive in their musculoskeletal system, for example due to different leg positions, previous skeletal trauma, large middle-aged cats.

Some diseases of the skeleton and joints may need surgery to give the cat a better quality of life. Glucosamines and other dietary supplements are not a substitute for such operations, but they can be used in combination with the procedures to give the joint new building blocks.

Read more in our article about osteoarthritis in cats and you will get tips on how, in addition to glucosamines, you can help cats with osteoarthritis. In more severe osteoarthritis, the cat also needs to be treated with pain relief. There are honey-flavored liquid Metacam medicines that are easy to give to cats. If you are treated with glucosamines at the same time, equal doses of drugs are usually not required.

Glucosamines in diabetes and feed allergy

You can give glucosamines if your cat has diabetes. The supplement does not affect blood sugar levels in the body. On the other hand, it is good to give diabetic cats glucosamines in the sense that cats who suffer from diabetes are often middle-aged or older and then probably have some stage of osteoarthritis. Diabetes can be triggered by inflammatory conditions in the body, osteoarthritis is to some extent an inflammatory chronic disease. If the osteoarthritis is untreated, cats with diabetes may find it difficult to get a satisfactory diabetes treatment.

Cats with fish allergies often do not tolerate shellfish, so they should not take the dietary supplement glyco-flex which contains green-lipped mussels, with seraquin and cosequin, so it is unusual for cats who have a shellfish allergy to react. Seraquin contains hydrolysed chicken so that cats with allergies can eat them. If you have an allergic cat and want to be careful, you can start giving a capsule every other day for a week at the start of treatment and if the cat has not had a reaction, it should be safe to give.

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