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How To Know If Your Cat Has Arthritis

Identify If Your Cat Is Living With Arthritis

Top 10 Symptoms of Arthritis in Cats Signs of Pain

Our feline friends are known to be quite active and agile but as they age it is inevitable that they will start to slow down. Many cats can remain very healthy and vibrant during their senior years, but there are times when chronic disease and arthritis can affect their quality of life.

Arthritis is a chronic, painful, degenerative condition that can develop gradually over time, affecting one or more joints . Its causes inflammation and pain of the joints. Arthritis can affect any pet at any age, negatively impacting a pets quality of life and preventing them from enjoying simple, daily activities such as walking, running or playing.

Most cats are classified as a senior feline once they are over seven years of age and this is when they can develop age-related conditions such as arthritis. Its not always easy to recognise if your cat is in pain or suffering from arthritis. Many cats hide their discomfort so it can be hard to tell when they are uncomfortable. Cats do experience real pain with arthritis, comparable to the pain experienced by humans with this disease. The good news is that there many things we can do to help. The first step is to recognise when something isnt quite right with your pet.

There are some changes in their behaviour that can help you identify if your cat is living with arthritis.

What Are The Signs Of Arthritis In Cats

Cats are masters of hiding discomfort and pain, so often do not demonstrate obvious signs that you might expect. They restrict their own activity to minimise the use of the sore joints and so tend not to show the same signs of arthritis as other animals. In particular, cats uncommonly show overt signs of limping or pain associated with arthritis.

Major signs of arthritis in cats associated with arthritis are:

  • Reduced mobility
  • Reluctance, hesitance or refusal to jump up or down
  • Jumping up to lower surfaces than previously
  • Jumping up or down less frequently
  • Difficulty going up or down stairs
  • Stiffness in the legs, especially after sleeping or resting for a while occasionally there may be obvious lameness
  • Difficulty using the litter tray
  • Difficulty going through the cat flap
  • Reduced activity
  • Increased time spent resting or sleeping
  • Not hunting or exploring the outdoor environment as frequently
  • Sleeping in different, easier to access sites
  • Reduced interaction and playing less with people or other animals
  • Altered grooming
  • Reduced frequency of time spent grooming
  • Matted and scruffy coat
  • Sometimes overgrooming of painful joints
  • Overgrown claws due to lack of activity and reduced sharpening of claws
  • Temperament changes
  • More irritable or grumpy when handled or stroked
  • More irritable or grumpy on contact with other animals
  • Spending more time alone
  • Avoiding interaction with people and/or animals
  • Risk Factors For Feline Arthritis

    There are a number of factors that make arthritis more likely for your cat:

    • Feline arthritis is more common in middle-aged and older cats.
    • Cats that are obese are more likely to be affected by the signs of arthritis than a cat that is lean.
    • Joints that have been injured in the past are also more prone to becoming arthritic later in life.
    • Congenital abnormalities that result in abnormalities within a particular joint can make your cat more likely to suffer the effects of arthritis. Hip dysplasia is an example of a congenital abnormality that can lead to arthritis.

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    What Is The Prognosis For A Cat With Arthritis

    Ultimately, the disease will continue to progress over time but all of the above therapies will help to slow the progression and also relieve the severity of the symptoms during this time. Often cats will have a good quality of life for many years after the first diagnosis. In general, the sooner the disease is recognised the more successful the treatments are likely to be.

    Arthritis In Cats: 8 Questions To Ask Yourself

    How Can You Tell If Your Cat Has Arthritis

    Because you live with your cat, its often hard to spot those telltale changes that indicate sore joints. Most cases of arthritis in cats are picked up by the veterinarian during vaccine checks.

    Sit down and think about these questions:

  • Is your aging cat less active lately?
  • Do they have difficulty jumping up onto a favorite perch or window ledge?
  • Are they grumpier than they used to be?
  • Is your cat having regular accidents outside the litter box?
  • Has their coat care gone downhill the coat is dull or matted?
  • Do they look stiff and sore when they wake?
  • Is the cat a Maine Coon or Burmese?
  • Does the cat crouch awkwardly, as if their joints are stiff?
  • If you answered yes to any of these 8 questions, then arthritis is a possibility. Please discuss this with your vet.

    Also, keep in mind that other conditions that can decrease your cats energy or affect their hydration status can certainly make arthritis worse, such as kidney disease, diabetes or a heart problem.

    If your cat had a broken bone or a dislocated hip earlier in life, that joint has a higher risk of becoming arthritic as the cat ages.

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    What Is Arthritis In Cats

    In simple terms, arthritis is inflammation of the joints. The condition is characterized by tenderness at the joints sometimes accompanied by swelling. Arthritis is a chronic disease and very rarely can a cat recover from it completely.

    The pain in the joints can be caused by different factors the most common of which being joint cartilage degeneration. In a healthy joint, the bone is surrounded by cartilage to minimize friction as the body makes movements around the joints.

    In old age, if you pair this cartilage degeneration with the reduction in synovial fluid, you get a result of very painful joints. Synovial fluid is a liquid that lubricates joints.

    You can imagine how painful it would be to experience friction in your joints every time you move. To make matters worse, arthritis usually affects more than one joint. Forty-eight percent of arthritic cats have arthritis in more than one joint.

    Signs Of Arthritis In A Cat

    A cat that is arthritic may show many different symptoms. Essentially, arthritis causes pain. The symptoms that result from arthritis are a result of that pain.

    Any change in your cat’s behavior may be a result of pain. Each cat reacts to pain in a different manner. These are some examples:

    • 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 haircoat.
    • 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.

    The symptoms of arthritis in cats can be gradual and insidious in onset. Knowing the behaviors that are normal for your cat and monitoring for changes in those behaviors will provide a good base for determining whether your cat is painful.

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    What Is Feline Osteoarthritis

    Feline osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, is caused by the wearing away of joint cartilage . Without this cushion, adjacent bones are able to rub against each other, resulting in debilitating pain.

    The disease most commonly affects the hip, knee, ankle, and elbow joints in cats. And while the root cause of osteoarthritis in cats isnt always known, the American College of Veterinary Surgeons says that injuries, abnormally shaped joints, and normal, everyday wear-and-tear can be to blame. Sadly, the condition is incredibly common. In a 2011 study, 61% of cats ages six years and older had X-ray evidence of osteoarthritis in at least one joint, and 48% were affected in more than one joint. The study also found that disease prevalence increases with age. In other words, the older your cat gets, the more likely it is that she will have at least one arthritic joint. However, even young cats can be affected.

    How Common Is Arthritis In Cats

    Signs That Your Cat Is Suffering From Arthritis

    Believe it or not, 90 percent of cats over 12 years of age have some form of arthritis. This means that almost all senior cats develop arthritis, and it can be in one joint or multiple joints, Dr. Catherine Lenox, a veterinarian and regulatory veterinary manager at Royal Canin, told The Dodo.

    Younger cats can also develop arthritis due to genetics. This would include stature and genetic problems, like hip dysplasia, that may cause cats to develop arthritis earlier in life, Dr. Lenox said.

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    Osteoarthritis In Older Cats

    This is a chronic condition resulting in the degeneration of the joint which causes erosion of the cartilage. New bone forms around the edges of the joint the joint swells and becomes painful, the normal cartilage that cushions and protects the joints has degenerated.

    Did you know?

    A cats skeleton has about 10% more bones than a human body. The skeleton of a feline needs to be strong and flexible but also light.

    How Is Arthritis In Pets Treated

    Unfortunately, arthritis is a degenerative disease that will gradually become worse over time. However, treating your pets arthritis will help to slow its progression and alleviate the symptoms so your pet can live a happier, more comfortable life. Treatments include:

    • Physical therapy designed to maintain and increase joint strength, muscle tone and range of motion
    • Maintaining your pets lean, healthy weight to prevent or alleviate more symptoms
    • Daily exercise to prevent musculoskeletal weakness
    • Anti-inflammatory and pain medications

    If you think your pet might have arthritis, its important to speak to your vet as soon as possible so they can come up with a treatment plan designed specifically for your pets needs.

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    Risk Factors Of Arthritis

    • Old age. Older cats are at a much higher risk of getting arthritis. However, younger cats can also acquire the disease.
    • Breed of the cat. Purebred kitties are more likely to suffer from arthritis than their mixed bred counterparts.
    • Overweight or obesity. Kitties whose body weight is higher than the recommended weight are very prone to joint disease. The extra weight put on the joints increases the wear and tear applied to them resulting in an increased risk of arthritis.
    • Overmedication. A lot of medications that are prescribed especially in chronic diseases can trigger inflammation in the body.
    • Previous joint injury. A tear in joint cartilage can cause faster degeneration at that particular joint.
    • Physical trauma. The cat being in an accident would be an example for physical trauma.
    • Genetics. Cats whose parents had arthritis are at a higher risk of developing the disease.
    • Poor diet. A bad diet tends to be high in pro-inflammatory substances which can cause chronic diseases like arthritis.

    What To Do To Make Your Cat More Comfortable

    How To Tell If Your Cat Has Arthritis
    • Regardless of whether your cat suffers from arthritis, you can make your cat more comfortable with a few simple measures
    • Keeping active. Provide places for your cat to climb and hide. For example, you can prepare two cardboard boxes with a door cut out and put a comfortable bed and dry food in them. You should observe in which places the cat stays most willingly unused boxes can be removed.
    • PGentle play with your cat can also help keep him alert and active.
    • Providing easy access to food. Food should be placed in an area that the cat can easily access without jumping around too much. The food bowl should stand in a place where the cat feels safe, away from the cat door or litter box
    • Relocating the water bowl. Cats often prefer their drinking water to be away from their food, so you can place a second water bowl in another room.
    • Moving the litter box. The litter box should stand in a place where the cat feels safe . Litter boxes with lower sides may be more appropriate for cats who have stiff or teat joints
    • Weight control. Being overweight can put additional stress on your cats joints, so keeping his body weight down is beneficial. If your cat is overweight, you should consult your doctor about choosing an appropriate diet
    • Helping your cat groom its coat. Observe what type of grooming your cat likes best. It is best to avoid painful areas. Gentle grooming can keep your cat interested in life

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    Home Adjustments For Cats With Arthritis

    There are also several simple adjustments you can make to your cats home environment to increase her comfort if she has osteoarthritis pain. Login suggests providing:

    • Warm, supportive bedding
    • Easy access to litter boxes and food and water bowls
    • Ramps or stairs to help your cat access the bed or other furniture and surfaces she enjoys
    • Raised food and water bowls so your cat doesnt have to bend down
    • Litter boxes with at least one lowered side so your cat doesnt have to lift her legs as high to get in

    Managing Arthritis In Cats

    Many options should be considered when managing a cat with arthritis, and it is not just about finding the right tablet to control the disease!

    Environmental enrichment for arthritic cats

    Modifying the environment in many ways can greatly help to maintain quality of life for an arthritic cat. Things to consider include:

    • Use of soft, comfortable beds placed in easily accessible, quiet, draft-free locations use of igloo beds can make an older cat feel warm and secure
    • Provision of a series of steps or a ramp to allow cats to access favoured higher sites
    • Make sure the cat flap is very easy to open, and if necessary tie it open so the cat doesnt need to push through
    • Always have a litter tray inside and one that has at least one low side for easy access
    • Make sure food and water are easily accessible, at floor level or with steps up to higher levels
    • Make sure the cat doesnt have to go up or down stairs to access food, water, or litter trays
    • Spend time grooming and cleaning an arthritic cat as this may be difficult for them
    • Overgrown claws need regular cutting

    Diet and dietary supplements

    Obesity or being overweight will exacerbate arthritis and so should be avoided. Careful weight management is therefore very important for older cats. If your cat is overweight, they will benefit from carefully controlled weight loss, supervised by your vet. Your vet may also recommend a special diet to help achieve this safely and effectively.

    Medical treatment

    Additional treatments

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    How To Tell If Your Dog Or Cat Has Arthritis

    Like humans, our pets can develop arthritis, otherwise it can have a significant impact on quality of life. Well managed. It is inevitable that pets will slow down as they get older, but some of the signs that we usually associate with getting older are: actually, Due to arthritis. Also known as osteoarthritis. Arthritis develops when the cartilage in the joints is eroded,this is Rubbing bones Painful condition of bones.

    Getting older is inevitable dThe progression of arthritis is not. Some of our pets develop arthritis, Treatment helps manage their condition. So bBefore dismissing some of those symptoms as a normal part Aging process, Because they pay attention to their actions You can provide them with the help they need.

    Do These Signs Sound Familiar In Your Senior Cat

    How Can You Tell If Your Cat Has Arthritis – Signs Of Arthritis In Cats : General Cat Health
    • Our cat has always slept on our bed but lately, we notice that she prefers to sleep on the throw rug in our bedroom.
    • I noticed my 12-year-old cat is having stool accidents just outside the litterbox.
    • Our older cat limps sometimes after shes been sleeping but then seems to improve with a little time.
    • Sometimes when were petting our 14-year-old cat near his tail he hisses and growls.

    We often mistakenly assume that its normal for cats as they age, to sleep more and become less active. While they may not have the full-on energy of a kitten, geriatric or senior cats should remain active and engage in play with cat toys, climb cat trees and follow feather toys well into their senior years.

    Like us, our cats age and will develop osteoarthritis in their joints. OA is usually irreversible and slowly progressive. It can develop in joints located anywhere in the body. With cats, we see it typically at the base of their spine just before their tail. Cats also develop arthritis in their elbows, knees, and hips as well as other joint spaces.

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    How To Spot Arthritis In Cats

    Arthritis is one of the most common ailments seen in middle-aged to older pets. Even younger cats, under the right circumstances, can suffer from arthritic changes. Arthritis causes changes within the affected joints that are painful for the affected pet. This pain is responsible for many of the signs associated with arthritis in cats. Here are seven of those common signs.


    What Causes Arthritis In Cats

    Like humans, cats have cartilage between the bones in their joints, which helps cushion the impact as they move around. This cartilage can deteriorate as cats get older causing inflammation and pain.

    In addition to aging, there are other influences on arthritis in cats:

    • Cats who have had an infection or injury, such as a fracture or dislocation, may be more likely to develop arthritis where the damage occurred.
    • Cats with congenital abnormalities, like hip dysplasia, may develop arthritis in the affected area.
    • Overweight and obese cats are prone to arthritis due to the added pressure those extra pounds can put on their joints.

    Arthritis and joint pain arent the only issues linked to obesity, which is a growing problem for both cats and dogs. It can also result in heart disease, kidney and liver issues, joint pain, and illnesses, like diabetes. It is very important to help your cat maintain a healthy weight through appropriate diet and exercise.

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