Arthritis in Cats: Symptoms and Pain Relief
also known as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease, causes pain and
inflammation in a cat’s joints. Although fairly uncommon in felines, arthritis
tends to affect the elbow joint when it does strike-but many joints can be
What Are the Symptoms of Arthritis in Cats?
Felines suffering from arthritis may show overall stiffness, swelling of the
joints, lethargy, lameness, decreased flexibility and discomfort when you pet
or handle them in certain positions. You may also notice subtle behavioral
- Decreased activity
- Lapsed litterbox habits (due to pain caused by getting in and out of the
- Hesitancy to run, jump or climb stairs
What Causes in Arthritis in Cats
Joints naturally degenerate as part of the aging process. Cartilage forms a
cushion between the bones at a joint. As cats get older, the cartilage
deteriorates and becomes less flexible.
Arthritis can develop due to injury, dislocation or infection in the joint.
Extra weight can also put extra strain on a cat’s joints.
How is Arthritis Diagnosed?
A veterinarian may conduct a physical exam, take radiographs and perform
other diagnostic tests to help determine the cause of the pain and inflammation
in your cat’s joints.
Which Cats are Prone to Arthritis?
Arthritis most often affects older cats, as their joints degenerate
naturally as part of the aging process-but can occur as result of trauma or
infection in cats of all ages.
How Can Arthritis Be Treated?
Once symptoms of arthritis set in, there is no cure-but you can
work with your veterinarian to minimize your cat’s pain while keeping her
healthy. Some general treatment options include:
- Anti-inflammatory/pain medications
- Possible use of nutritional supplements to help replenish
- Weight loss if necessary, which has been shown to benefit
overweight cats with arthritis.
Are Cats With Arthritis Able to Exercise?
Talk to your vet about an exercise program for your pet. Short,
gentle play can be helpful in some cases, but you’ll need to introduce these
sessions slowly and gradually. Vigorous play involving leaping, jumping and
turning is to be avoided.
How Can I Make My Arthritic Cat More Comfortable?
If your cat has arthritis, here are a few things you can do to
make her feel better:
- Give her a cozy blanket or cat bed.
- When she’s relaxed and at ease, give her a gentle
- Groom the areas of her body that may be hard for her to
- Make sure she has easy, direct access to her litterbox and
food and water bowls.