Cats like to explore. Whether their jumping, climbing, or laying in a windowsill your furry friend may be constantly on the move. As they navigate around your home, the mobility of your cat is an important part of their well-being. But as they get older at one point should you be concerned about your cat’s joints? For this reason, we sat down with Trupanion veterinarian Dr. Sarah Nold to learn more about arthritis in cats and treatment options to help your furry friend.
Arthritis in cats: a cat owner
What is arthritis?
All pets may get aches and pains, but when is it something more? Nold breaks down what arthritis in cats is and what it can mean for your furry friend.
“Arthritis is also known as osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease (DJD), a progressive deterioration of the joints due to a wide range of causes. Primary arthritis is associated with normal wear and tear of the joint, which can be rare. Also, causes of secondary arthritis in cats can include an injury, patellar luxation, or hip dysplasia.”
Arthritis can affect a cat of any age. For this reason, it’s important to take your pet to its yearly wellness exam and talk with your veterinarian if you have any concerns.
How do cats get arthritis?
Depending on your cat’s breed or your kitten’s age, your furry friend may be quite active. While it’s no surprise to see your cat stretching or jumping from high places in your home, they may also enjoy a quality cat nap. So how do you know if your furry friend has arthritis?
Cats may not always let you know they’re feeling sick. In fact, cats may try to hide that they’re in pain. Because of this, you may not always know that they’re unwell.
Nold weighs in on common signs of arthritis you may see and what to watch for in your feline.
Signs of arthritis
- Less active
- Difficulty jumping or getting out of the litter box
- Less grooming
If you notice anything unusual or you have any concerns, you should seek the medical care of your veterinarian. Their expertise can help determine the next best steps for your furry friend.
Your cat’s treatment options may be dependent on the severity of their condition. Arthritis has several treatment plans as a way to help manage your pet’s pain. Nold points out some options to consider for your best friend.
“Joint supplements can help slow the progression of arthritis. Also, Omega-3 fatty acids like fish oil have been shown to decrease inflammation in the joints. In some cases, if your cat isn’t responding to medical treatment, surgery may be an option. It’s important to remember you aren’t going to reverse arthritis already present, so these steps are important to take earlier than later. Your cat may also benefit from regular pain medication to help make them more comfortable, especially once their arthritis has become more progressed. In addition, there are alternative therapies, which are still being studied like acupuncture, stem cell therapy, rehabilitation therapy, and green-lipped mussel supplements.”
If your best friend becomes diagnosed with arthritis, just remember every cat is different. Every pet’s treatment plan may be different. Not every cat will need alternative therapy, surgery, or medication.
But with the guidance and expertise of your veterinarian and the advancements in veterinary medicine, your cat may get the best medical care possible.
To learn more about cat medical conditions, read A Pet Owner’s Guide to Feline Panleukopenia