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Arthritis in cats: Vet’s guide to causes and treatment

Arthritis in cats is an unpleasant condition, which advances with time. It’s amazingly typical, impacting around 90% of cats over the age of 12 years..

While it is more typical in senior cats, it can impact cats at any age. Sadly, arthritis can not be treated. However, it can generally be effectively handled, so that cats can delight in an excellent quality of life for several years.

In most cases, the earlier arthritis is spotted, the much better the result. This, paired with the reality that cats conceal indications of health problem and discomfort exceptionally well, suggests it is necessary for family pet moms and dads to be knowledgeable about the early indications of discomfort in cats to keep an eye out for.

What is arthritis in cats?

Arthritis is a degenerative illness of the joints. It is likewise called osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint illness (DJD). Arthritis in cats can impact one, or several, joints.

The bones in a healthy joint slide efficiently previous each other. This is helped with by a thin layer of smooth cartilage covering the bones, acting to cushion the joint, and lubricating joint fluid..

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In arthritis, the cartilage is harmed, indicating its surface area is no longer smooth. This produces friction when the bones move past each other, which triggers swelling and more damages the cartilage. Over time the joint ends up being a growing number of unpleasant and stiff, as brand-new bone types around the joint.

There are 2 kinds of arthritis incats Primary arthritis has no apparent cause and is believed to be because of use and tear of the joint as the cat ages. Secondary arthritis takes place as an outcome of a problem in the joint, such as hip dysplasia, or following an injury or injury.

Causes of arthritis in cats

The precise reason for arthritis in cats is not yet understood. However, there are some elements which increase the threat of arthritis establishing..

For example, some types are at higher threat of unusual joint advancement, indicating they are at higher threat of secondary arthritis. Maine Coons are a fine example given that they are vulnerable toHip Dysplasia An injury to the joint, such as a fracture or dislocation, will make secondary arthritis far more most likely..

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Lastly, being overweight puts additional pressure on the joints, which might incline to arthritis by speeding wear and tear of the joint; and can definitely make existing arthritis even worse.

Ginger cat curled up fast asleep on table

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Symptoms of arthritis in cats

The early signs of arthritis in cats can be extremely subtle and easy to miss out on. Remember, cats are a victim types in addition to being predators, so their natural impulse is to conceal indications of discomfort or health problem.

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The signs of arthritis in cats consist of:

  • Over or under-grooming
  • Matted fur
  • Saliva staining around the joints
  • Fur loss
  • Sleeping more than typical
  • Hiding
  • Behavioral modifications (avoiding touch, hesitation to play or uncommon grumpiness)
  • Inappropriate toileting beyond the litter box
  • Stiffness, particularly when increasing from rest
  • Muscle waste
  • Reluctance to leap or climb up stairs
  • Limping
  • Swollen joints

It’s crucial that you reserve a consultation with your veterinarian if you see any of these signs in your cat.

Can arthritis in cats be dealt with?

Arthritis can not be treated in cats, however it can be effectively handled with treatment. The objectives of treatment are to slow the development of the illness, to keep the cat mobile and to deal with discomfort.

Veterinary treatment for arthritis can consist of:

  • Pain relief medication – The most typically utilized discomfort relief is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This is due to the fact that they deal with discomfort, while likewise minimizing heat and swelling (swelling) in the joint. Other drugs which might be utilized along with, or rather of, NSAIDs consist of buprenorphine, gabapentin, tramadol and amantadine. These medications are all provided by mouth. There is likewise a month-to-month injection which has actually just recently appeared, of monoclonal antibody treatment. This operates in a various method from NSAIDs; working like your cat’s naturally made antibodies to minimize discomfort signals.
  • Surgery – Surgery might be suitable sometimes, such as in cats with underlying hip or elbow dysplasia.
  • Alternative treatments – Your veterinarian might suggest ‘alternative therapies’, to be utilized along with medical treatment. For example, physiotherapy might assist to preserve or enhance your cat’s variety of movement, while acupuncture (by a veterinarian) is often utilized for extra discomfort relief. Some veterinarian practices can likewise use laser treatment.

Each of these treatments has its own advantages and disadvantages, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ method. Every cat is special, with special requirements. Your veterinarian will customize a treatment strategy to fit your cat’s age, underlying medical conditions and kind of arthritis.

Can catnip or CBD oil assistance cats with arthritis?

There is no proof that catnip can assist with arthritis. In the UK, you can not provide CBD oil to your cat without a veterinary prescription, and at present, there is insufficient proof to support its usage in arthritis.

Sarah-Jane Molier BVM&S MRCVS

Dr Sarah-Jane Molier BVM&S MRCVS

Sarah-Jane Molier finished in 2009 and has actually been delighting in life as a veterinarian since. She presently works as Head Veterinarian in a little animal practice. Sarah-Jane specific delights in internal medication, along with her supervisory function.

Should you euthanize a cat with arthritis?

Arthritis can frequently be effectively handled, so a medical diagnosis of arthritis should not instantly be a cause to think about euthanasia. However, arthritis will undoubtedly advance and eventually, the discomfort might well end up being bad enough that euthanasia is the kindest alternative.

How long can a cat deal with arthritis?

This will depend upon the cat’s age and total health, for instance, if they have other underlying medical conditions. Arthritis can frequently be effectively handled for numerous years.

How to assist a cat with arthritis in your home

Cat having their head stroked

(Image credit: Getty Images)

You’ll be pleased to hear there are lots of things you can do to assist your arthritic cat in your home too:

Weight control

Keeping your cat at a healthy weight will ease the pressure on their joints. Your veterinarian or veterinarian nurse will have the ability to assist you with a weight management strategy if you’re having a hard time.


The finest food for cats with arthritis will depend upon their age, total health and if they have any other medical conditions. You can buy diet plans customized for arthritis, which have actually included nutrients to benefit the joint. Have a chat with your veterinarian or veterinarian nurse about the very best diet plan for your cat.

Dietary supplements

Joint supplements intend to increase your cat’s consumption of the nutrients that are essential for joint health. Glucosamine, chondroitin and omega-3 are the most typical active ingredients..

These items are presently uncontrolled, indicating they differ considerably in quality, structure and palatability. Your veterinarian will have the ability to encourage you on ideal choices for yourcat

Home adjustments

Simple modifications, such as non-slip mats on difficult floorings and utilizing ramps, can make a huge distinction. Offer lots of warm, comfortable beds and a low-sided, easy-access litter tray.

Remember, none of these home steps will suffice to deal with arthritis by themselves and they need to be utilized along with veterinary treatment.


While arthritis in cats can not be treated and will undoubtedly advance, it can generally be effectively handled, offering your cat an excellent quality of life for several years..

Remember, the quicker treatment is begun the much better, so make certain to reserve a consultation with your veterinarian if you have any issues about yourcat

Daniel Husband
Daniel Husbandhttps://petnews2day.com
I'm the editor for Pet News 2Day. I also a dog groomer for almost 5 years plus work along side my wife with her dog walking business too so I really understand the pet industry.

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