Osteoarthritis in Cats and How to Recognize the Signs
As our feline friends age many suffer from arthritis that often goes undiagnosed. With cats, it can be tricky for owners to identify pain because cats are masters at hiding signs of weakness and pain. This is why many cats have undiagnosed pain and or arthritis. If you don’t pay attention to the little clues that indicate your pet is hurting, you may miss when your pet needs your help.
What puts my cat at risk?
- Excess Weight
- Previous Injury or Orthopedic Surgery
- Developmental issues
Cats over 8 are more likely to suffer from arthritis simply because of their age. Overweight animals are becoming an epidemic, and we are seeing many animals suffering from arthritis at an early age because of the excess stress placed on the joints. Any cat that has had a previous injury or an orthopedic surgery has a site that is prone to arthritis due to the bony changes that accompany healing of such an injury. Cats who may have not had access to proper kitten food and adequate calcium during their formative months can have bony changes that make them susceptible to arthritis in various joints.
What does the hidden pain in our cats look like?
- Decreased use of the litter box
- Behavior changes
- Not jumping up on counters, beds, couches, or cat furniture (when they used to do that)
- Not interacting with their family/avoiding affection
- Decreased grooming or wanting to be groomed
- Negative reactions to touch, such as biting.
- Cats are good at hiding their pain. So, if you notice your cat acting grouchy, flattening his ears back, really crouching up his body position, or—especially—hiding, it may be a good indication that your pet is experiencing pain
If you are concerned that your cat may have arthritis, consult one of our veterinarians. There are many options for managing our cats’ comfort as they age. For example, we are now encouraging and offering laser therapy and chiropractic adjustments.