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“My Cat Has Arthritis, and I Didn’t Even Know It”

March 7th, 2018 by Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

Simone, a ginger cat, cuddles under blankets. She hasn't been as active jumping on her favorite spots lately -- a sign of cat arthritis.

We often see surprised looks when people learn their cats have feline arthritis.

Take heart, cats are masters at hiding pain and discomfort.

Sometimes, they don’t show clear signs they have arthritis — a degenerative joint disease.

Cat arthritis doesn’t get as much attention as arthritis in dogs, but it’s actually quite common.

It’s estimated that as many as nine out of 10 cats who are 12 years or older have some form of cat arthritis.

While we tend to think of arthritis in senior cats, younger cats can get it too.

If you want to be proactive in preventing cat arthritis or you’ve learned your cat has it, here are key things to know about the disease.

Mocha, the kitty, gets her head scratched.

First things first, what is cat arthritis?

Cat arthritis is the breakdown of the joint cartilage and the “cushiony” joint fluid between your cat’s bones.

As there’s more wear and tear on your cat’s joints, the joints become inflamed, causing disintegration in the joint cartilage and fluids. In addition, the bones around the joints can form little bone spurs within the joints, causing further irritation.

This cycle can be painful, and it can affect how mobile and active your cat is.

Cat arthritis is more common in cats that…

  • Are overweight — the extra weight puts more stress on those joints
  • Are highly active — sometimes taking activity to the extremes
  • Have had an injury at some point — such as a hyper-extended paw, a joint fracture or a trauma from over-exercising
  • Have an anatomical issue — such as a kneecap that pops in and out

It may seem strange that being overweight and being highly active are both on this list.

After all, it’s typically a good thing to have an active cat. It helps keep your kitty’s weight down and ensures a normal range of motion.

With that said, if your cat would qualify for the X Games with his or her extreme athletic prowess, your cat may be at risk for inflammation in the joints.

Ideally, you want to find the right balance between no activity and high activity.

Felix, the tabby cat, is known for his acrobatics, like hanging from trees. But he's also at higher risk for cat arthritis.

Signs of cat arthritis: What to watch for!

You may notice your cat:

  • Hesitates before jumping up on objects
  • No longer jumps up on his or her climbing tower or favorite hangout spots
  • Cries out while jumping down from objects
  • Is gaining weight because he or she just isn’t as active anymore
  • Is limping — though, this isn’t as common in cats as it is in dogs

Keep in mind, cats hide their pain and discomfort really well. It’s possible you may not notice any outward signs of cat arthritis.

Can your cat recover? And how can you help make your cat more comfortable?

Check out our next article for these answers!

 Keep your cat happy and pain-free

Call us at 303-688-3757 to book a checkup or:

Book a visit 

Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of cats and dogs, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.

This article is intended to provide general guidance on cat arthritis. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian. (If you live in or around Castle Rock, we welcome your call.)

© 2018, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

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