Feline Arthritis

If you have any suspicions of feline arthritis in your elder cat pay close attention. Cats are great at hiding pain so it can be difficult to tell sometimes until your cat’s arthritis has really progressed.

Because cats are so good at keeping their pain or physical limitations a secret it’s important to pay close attention to your cat and note any little changes in routine or they way they carry themselves. This is important for detecting any cat health problem early. The earlier you can catch a feline health problem the better your chances of treatment.

Signs Of Arthritis In Cats

Degenerative joint disease is one of the main causes of arthritis in cats. This disease occurs when there is a loss of cartilage between the joints. This cartilage protects the bones, it’s a sort of cushion between the joints. When this cushion has deteriorated and the two bones in the joint touch each other it causes inflammation and pain. It can cause severe pain as the condition worsens.

Symptoms of Arthritis in Cats:

  • Limping and stiffness
  • Hesitance or problems jumping onto things that were at one time easy for them (furniture, bed, cat trees, etc)
  • Discomfort when brushed or touched in certain areas
  • Decrease in overall activity
  • Problems getting in and out of the litter box
  • Change in behavior including nervousness, hiding or aggression
  • Difficulty getting up and lying down

Feline Arthritis Treatment

Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose your cats arthritis and can discuss some of these feline arthritis treatment options with you.

  • Modifications at Home: It’s important to make things easily accessible for your arthritic cat. Make sure the food, water and litter are easy to access. You may need to buy a litter box with a shorter side so it’s easier to get in and out of it. Build stairs, add a sturdy sort of step stool or a ramp to your cat’s favorite places like the window or the bed. Also provide a soft, warm place for your cat to sleep. Warmth is important for cats with arthritis, as symptoms get worse in cool, damp weather. But soft places to lay are very important also, to comfort their sore joints.
  • Medication and Supplements: Talk to your vet about any specific medications that may help relieve pain, but never give your cat over the counter human medications like aspirin. They can be toxic and fatal to cats. Two supplements that many vets recommend are glucosamine and chondroitin. Together they are thought to help build cartilage and inhibit the breakdown of existing cartilage. By using these you can slow the progression and in turn relieve or reduce some of your kitty’s pain. They are available in the supplement Cosequin for cats. I’ve found the best price for this on Amazon.
  • Feline Weight Control: Overweight cats have a higher chance of developing arthritis, and feline obesity will exacerbate an arthritic condition in cats. It’s good to work with your vet to help your cat loose weight gradually. Loosing weight too quickly can cause other serious cat health problems.
  • Feline Diet & Exercise: Omega-3 Fatty Acids are thought to help arthritis in cats because of the anti-inflammatory properties. As far as food, you can find specialized foods that contain glucosamine. Gentle feline exercise is also important to help arthritis in cats.
  • Alternative Therapies for your Cat: Gentle massage can be good for arthritic cats, but be careful and very gentle because your cat may be very sensitive in places. You may also consider acupuncture or physical therapy for your cat to help with pain.

Even though cats may be good at hiding pain and discomfort remember feline arthritis can be pretty uncomfortable for your kitty.