Arthritis in Cats – How to Recognize the Different Signs of Arthritis in Your Cat

Sleepy Cat

Sleepy cat? —gintacat (Flickr.com)

Cats can get arthritis too – cat owners get more and more aware about this fact and let their vet examine their pet, if they see weird behaviour or symptoms that are clearly making them suspicious that something is not right.

Still, diagnosing arthritis in felines is not always as straight forward as it is in other pets, such as in horses or dogs for example. These species show more explicit signs of pain and lameness than felines do.

How Can You Recognize Arthritic Pain in Your Cat?

Mostly you’ll see changes in your cat’s behavior, activity level, appetite and social interaction with you and other members of your household.

  • Some cats become less active and may sleep more than normal.
  • Other cats may become anxious and restless.
  • Some cats have difficulty finding a comfortable place to rest or a comfortable position in which to sleep.
  • Some cats become irritable and begin to avoid contact with family members.
  • Other cats become more social, seeking out more interaction with family members.
  • Cats with arthritis may be painful when handled.
  • Arthritic cats may have difficulty accessing the litter box and may urinate or defecate outside of the litter box.
  • Some cats with arthritis will stop grooming themselves, resulting in an unkempt hair coat.
  • The pain resulting from arthritis may cause a decreased appetite for some cats. This in turn may result in weight loss.
  • Lameness may be present but is often difficult or even impossible to notice. Some cats become quite good at hiding the symptoms of their pain.

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Arthritic cat, Inside Bolli

Arthritic cat, Inside Bolli—Annie Mole (Flickr.com)

What Can you Do Beside The Usual Treatment options for Your Arthritic Cat?

Among the things you can do at home is to keep the weight of your cat in a normal, lean range. This is especially important for cats kept strictly indoors and neutered individuals, as they may become less active and prone to put on weight.

Medical pain killers for felines are available, but before giving a cat a pain killing drug be sure to let your vet check her out and prescribe the correct drug and dosage.

Cats should never get an OTC painkiller used for humans or children, because their metabolism works very differently compared to other species and giving them medication that is fine for us or small dogs can be harmful and in some cases fatal for them.

Complementary therapies, like acupuncture for cats, homeopathy, physiotherapy, acupressure and even hydrotherapy can help to slow the degenerative process of arthritic joint disease down considerably and to give them a new and improved quality of life.

Cat acupuncture, Pinhead

Cat acupuncture—xueexueg (Flickr.com)

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