Studies show that arthritis in cats is far more common than owners expect, with many elderly cats showing radiographic evidence of arthritis in the limb joints. Many of us don’t recognise the symptoms in our feline companions as we just simply think they slow down and get tired as they get older.
One of the very early signs is that the cat stops jumping up on benches, and sometimes not even onto beds anymore, and just ‘slows down’. Typically, as the disease progresses, the cat stops grooming along it’s back and base of the tail because it is uncomfortable to reach there. Eventually cats become very grumpy and immobile.
Other signs include:
- An inability to jump up and play as they once did
- Change of resting locations
- Difficulty going up or down stairs
- Difficulty using the litter tray
- Difficulty going in or out of the cat flap
- Becoming stiff after resting
- Difficulty grooming, poor coat condition
- Not accessing the food bowl as often, possibly weight loss
- Less exercise, not using scratching post, overgrown nails
- Less interaction with other pets or owners
- Aggressive behaviour when being approached, touched or moved (due to pain).
Management of arthritis in cats
Medications like the anti-inflammatory liquid meloxicam and a course of pentosan which is 4 weekly injections can be very effective at controlling the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. Never give human painkillers, such as aspirin, nurofen and paracetamol as these can be very lethal to cats. If you have any concerns about your cats mobility please make an appointment to see one of our friendly veterinarians and help your cat feel more comfortable. Keeping litter trays closer to your cat’s main living area is helpful along with ensuring the tray is easily accessible by not being too deep.