Just like humans, cats become more susceptible to arthritis as they age. Arthritis is a painful condition that affects the joints, and unfortunately, cats are experts at hiding pain. Arthritis in cats often goes unnoticed until it becomes severe, so it’s essential to know what symptoms to watch for. Diagnosing arthritis early is important in keeping your cat as comfortable as possible. Let’s explore what happens when a cat has arthritis. 

Does Your Cat Have Arthritis?

Causes of Arthritis in Cats

Arthritis is a degenerative condition that affects the joints. It can cause pain, inflammation, and decreased mobility in cats. Arthritis is often caused by wear and tear on the joints due to aging. However, arthritis in cats can also be caused by other factors, such as injury or infection. Feline obesity also increases the risk of arthritis, because the extra pounds put added pressure on the joints. 

Seven Signs of Arthritis in Cats

The symptoms of arthritis in cats are often subtle, and may be difficult to spot. Cats also tend to hide their pain, so you must keep a close eye on your pet in order to recognize changes in their health and behavior. 

If your cat shows any of the following symptoms of arthritis, contact your vet for an exam:

  1. Stiffness—It’s common for arthritic cats to be stiff whenever they get up or walk because of joint pain. 
  2. Difficulty Walking—If your cat has trouble walking or using stairs, it may be due to joint pain caused by arthritis. Limping is rare, but can also be a symptom. 
  3. Reduced Activity—It’s normal for senior cats to have less energy as they age. But arthritis can also make your cat less active, so it’s still a good idea to contact your vet if your cat starts napping more and playing less.
  4. Poor Grooming Habits—Due to pain from arthritis, cats may have a harder time grooming, leading to dull or matted fur.
  5. Difficulty Jumping—Arthritis can make it difficult for your cat to jump up onto their favorite high surfaces, such as cat towers, window ledges, and countertops. This test 
  6. Litter Box Issues—Arthritic cats can have trouble getting into or out of their litter boxes, leading to accidents outside the box
  7. Changes in Personality—Cats with arthritis may become more irritable or aggressive because of their pain and discomfort. They may be especially reactive when you touch the joint areas. 

How to Help Your Arthritic Cat

Many of the signs of arthritis are also symptoms of other cat diseases, so it’s crucial that you see your vet to get a diagnosis and appropriate treatment. 

If your cat does have arthritis, treatments can include pain medications (including Solensia, a recently approved osteoarthritis pain medication for cats), joint supplements, and weight management. Physical therapy may also be recommended to help manage your cat’s pain and improve their mobility. 

In addition to veterinary care, there are also several things you can do at home to help your arthritic cat. Be sure to: 

  • Provide soft bedding in warm areas and in their usual napping spots to help your pet stay comfortable.
  • Get some raised food and water bowls so your cat can eat and drink without neck pain. 
  • Use ramps, stools, and chairs to help them reach their favorite perches more easily. 
  • Provide large, low-sided litter boxes or step stools to help your cat use the box without trouble. 
  • Brush your cat regularly to help maintain their coat, especially if they are unable to do so themselves.

Cat Arthritis Treatment in Gilbert, Arizona

Please don’t hesitate to contact Anasazi Animal Clinic if you suspect your cat is experiencing joint pain. We’ll examine your pet and come up with a comprehensive treatment plan to help manage their pain. We’ll also recommend the best ways to keep your cat comfortable at home. Call our clinic at 480-497-0505 today to schedule an appointment. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (5/3/2023). Photo by Nathan Fertig on Unsplash