Cats are notorious for hiding pain, but if you’re observant, you may be able to detect if they need help with aging bones and joints. If you’re seeing these signs, it may be time to talk with a veterinarian to see if your cat may be suffering from feline arthritis.
Signs of Arthritis in Cats
Since cats tend to hide pain to varying degrees, signs of arthritis can be subtle at first. Things you may notice with your cat are:
- stiffness when getting up
- walking rigidly or limping
- hesitant or unable to jump up or down from heights
- difficulty going up and down stairs
- trouble getting in and out of the litter box
- decline in activity
Your kitty may also be more irritable or not want to be touched. Any of these signs, and especially if more than one of them is present, should warrant some concern, as it indicates your cat is uncomfortable. A veterinarian can help determine if arthritis is the cause of the symptoms you’re seeing, and recommend treatment.
Feline Arthritis Treatment
Treatment is aimed at reducing pain and inflammation, increasing joint function, and trying to slow down the disease progression. If your cat is overweight, a weight loss plan should be started right away. This can relieve pressure on the joints. Cats need to lose weight slowly, so ask your vet for a safe weight loss program.
Dietary supplements can possibly help treat feline arthritis. Supplements include Omega-3 fatty acids, which act as anti-inflammatories, and glucosamine/chondroitin, which is a chondroprotectant (meaning it’s said to reduce damage to the cartilage of the joints). Prescription mobility diets generally contain these substances.
As for pain management, several options are available. NSAIDS such as meloxicam and onsior, if properly dosed and used carefully, can be helpful for pain and inflammation. Gabapentin is an anti-seizure medication which is also used to treat chronic pain, such as arthritis pain. Opiates and synthetic opiate pain medications include Tramadol and Buprenorphine.
Alternative Treatments & Environment Adjustments
Alternative treatments like acupuncture and physical therapy are definitely worth considering. Environmental adjustments can make life with arthritis easier for your kitty. Ramps, low-sided litterboxes, heated beds, and elevated food and water bowls are all beneficial.
Arthritis is a fairly common condition in senior cats, so be alert for any signs your cat may have joint pain. Treatments are available to help manage the disease and make your kitty happier and less painful. If you think your pet may have arthritis, Hello Ralphie vets are online to give advice and help put your cat on a path to greater comfort.