arthritis in cats

What is Arthritis in Cats?

What is it?

Arthritis in cats refers to a degenerative joint disease that causes inflammation and pain in the joints. This can occur due to various reasons such as aging, injury or obesity. Arthritis can affect cats of any age or breed and can result in stiffness, limping and difficulty in jumping or running.

How is it Treated?

The treatment of arthritis in cats depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the condition. In many cases, pain medication, weight management, and physical therapy may be recommended to manage symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Additional treatments such as joint supplements, acupuncture, or surgery may be necessary in cases where the arthritis has caused significant damage to the joints or affected the cat’s mobility or quality of life.

Breed Predispositions

There is no specific breed predisposition to arthritis in cats. However, factors such as age, obesity, and certain medical conditions such as hip dysplasia or luxating patella may increase the risk of developing arthritis in cats.


Lucy, a once-agile Bengal cat, had recently become less active and struggled with her usual jumps and strolls around the house. Her owner, Maria, grew concerned as she observed Lucy’s reluctance to climb the stairs and her stiff movements. Seeking answers, Maria took Lucy to the veterinarian for a thorough assessment. After a comprehensive examination, the vet diagnosed Lucy with arthritis, a condition affecting the joints in cats.

Arthritis is an inflammation of joints. This condition affects cats’ hips, elbows, shoulders, knees, and ankles. It usually occurs in senior cats, although younger ones may develop arthritis too.

Cats are notorious for arthritis because they don’t have bones like dogs. Instead, they have cartilage. This makes their joints more flexible and allows them to move quickly. As in cats, this condition affects most older cats. It usually occurs when they’re over years old. However, this means that they are more susceptible to arthritis.

There are two types of arthritis in cats: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis affects older cats, especially those over ten years old. Studies show up to 90 percent of older cats show signs of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation of the joints. Both conditions cause pain and stiffness in the affected joint.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is evidence of degenerative joint disease characterized by loss of articular cartilage in cats and changes in the subchondral bone. It affects all joints in cats, including hips, knees, ankles, elbows, wrists, paws, and spinal vertebrae. Approximately 90 percent of cats suffer from osteoarthritis (OA) in at least one joint by the time they reach ten years old. The most common symptoms include pain associated with arthritis, stiffness, swelling, and decreased range of motion.

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of joints. It affects the joint capsule’s synovial membrane and destroys cartilage and bone erosion. There are many types of RA, including classic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), adult-onset Still’s disease, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Sjögren’s syndrome, polymyositis/dermatomyositis, and undifferentiated connective tissue diseases.
  • Septic arthritis is an inflammation of the joints caused by bacteria. It usually occurs after trauma, such as when a kitten falls from its mother’s teat or if there is a fracture of the bones around the joint. Cats most commonly affected sites are the elbow, knee, shoulder, hip, and stifle (the hock). In kittens, the chronic disease often affects the tarsal joints at the base of the toes.

Causes of Feline Arthritis

The most common cause of arthritis is obesity. Obesity causes arthritis in cats, which puts stress on the joints. If a cat is already overweight, cats tend to be inactive, leading to decreased muscle mass and strength and the progression of arthritis, leading to joint loss of flexibility and stability.

Obese cats also suffer from joint inflammation because fat cells produce chemicals called cytokines that trigger inflammation. This inflammation damages cartilage and bone tissue, causing joint pain and stiffness.

Another major factor contributing to feline arthritis is genetics. Some breeds of cats are predisposed to develop arthritis, especially those with long legs and large paws. Arthritic conditions may run in families, so it’s essential to keep track of family history when diagnosing arthritis.

Causes of Feline Arthritis

If your cat is overweight, try reducing caloric intake through diet modification. Also, exercise regularly to maintain muscle tone and strengthen muscles. Finally, make sure they get plenty of fresh water daily.

Finally, if your cat exhibits signs of arthritis, consult your veterinarian. They may recommend medications or surgery to help alleviate symptoms.

Signs of Arthritis in Cats

Most cats diagnosed with arthritis don’t cause symptoms until the cat ages. However, some cats suffer from arthritis for years without showing obvious signs of pain and discomfort. Many cats with arthritis often become stiff and sore after exercise. Your cat strolls and may rub against objects and walls, causing scratches.

They may stroll, and most cats with arthritis refuse to jump onto beds or couches. However, some cats with arthritis generally may have difficulty walking. Others may limp or drag one leg or, for most cats, hides signs of pain.

One of the common signs of osteoarthritis in cats is lameness. Lameness means that the cat has trouble moving its legs. This problem can occur due to bone damage or muscle weakness. If the cat cannot stand up straight, it may fall over easily. Other issues include poor vision and hearing.

These conditions can affect the ability of the cat to see and hear. For example, a cat with arthritis may appear listless and depressed. He may sleep longer than usual and eat less. He may also show signs of depression, such as excessive grooming, pacing, and hiding under furniture.

Diagnosing Arthritis in Cats

When diagnosing arthritis in cats, there are several ways to determine whether the cat has arthritis. One method is to examine physically. Another method is to take X-rays of the affected joint(s). Yet another method is to perform a blood test called a CBC (complete blood count) to detect inflammation and infection. 

Here are some other ways to diagnose whether your cat has arthritis:

  • A physical exam for arthritis in cats is performed to determine if there is any painful joint inflammation or pain. In addition, it is done to rule out other causes of lameness, such as injury, infection, cancer, heart disease, kidney problems, liver disease, neurological diseases, orthopedic conditions, skin disorders, thyroid gland problems, urinary tract infections, etc.
  • X-ray imaging is used in cats to detect joint breaks and bone deterioration. In addition, Bloodwork can provide insight into the pet health of your pet’s immune system and liver function. Finally, a physical exam can indicate your pet is experiencing discomfort-related pain. The CBC measures red blood cell counts, white blood cell counts, platelet counts, hemoglobin levels, hematocrit values, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, reticulocyte counts, and total protein levels. The results help to detect inflammation and infection.

How to Treat Arthritis in Cats?

How to treat arthritis in cats?

Cats are compassionate creatures, and arthritis is excruciating and affects them just like humans. Fortunately, treatments are available for managing arthritis in cats, including medications and physical therapy. Also, it is essential to note that treatment has many options that vary depending on the type of cat arthritis present. Some medicines can help ease symptoms and prevent further damage.

Other treatments focus on pain and inflammation and improving mobility.

For example, glucosamine supplements are commonly used to treat osteoarthritis. These supplements contain natural ingredients that support joint health and are pain relief. Glucosamine is believed to provide relief by increasing the production of glycosaminoglycans, which lubricate and cushion the joints.

Other standard treatment options include NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), typically prescribed to control pain and swelling associated with arthritis. Anti-inflammatories are usually effective in arthritis pain management options and swelling but can cause stomach upset and other side effects.

Physical therapy is another option for treating arthritis in cats. Physical therapists evaluate each patient individually to develop a customized exercise program based on the cat’s specific needs. Exercise programs can range from gentle stretching exercises to weight training.

In addition to medication and physical therapy, surgery may be necessary if arthritis causes severe discomfort or prevents normal movement. Surgery involves replacing damaged tissue with healthy material. For example, knee replacement surgery replaces worn-out knee parts with artificial materials.

Prevention of Cat Arthritis

Cats are born with a genetic predisposition to arthritis, making prevention an absolute necessity. Cats who suffer from arthritis usually experience stiffness and joint pain. Common symptoms in cats include limping, difficulty walking and losing appetite.

Pet owners can do several things to prevent arthritis in their cats.

  1. They should feed their cat with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are found in fish oil supplements and flaxseed oil. These oils contain anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve arthritis symptoms.
  2. Pet owners should provide plenty of exercise for their cats. Exercise keeps muscles strong and healthy and can help alleviate arthritis symptoms. Make sure that your cat gets enough playtime every day.
  3. Pet owners should monitor their cat’s weight closely. Obesity increases the risk of arthritis development, so watching your cat’s weight is essential. Also, overweight cats are more likely to become obese adults, which puts them at greater risk of developing arthritis later in life.
  4. Cat owners should pay attention to their cat’s environment. Environmental factors, including cold temperatures, drafts, and humidity, can trigger arthritis. Keep your home clean and free of allergens to avoid triggering inflammation.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are many natural remedies that you can use to help your pet get rid of this condition. Here are some of them:

  1. Use essential oils. Essential oils are very effective when applied topically. They contain compounds called terpenes which act like anti-inflammatory agents. Some essential oils for treating cats’ arthritis are lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint, tea tree, etc. You should dilute these oils before applying them to your cat’s skin. For example, mix the two to use one drop of lavender oil per 10 ml carrier oil. Then, apply the mixture to your arthritic cat joint twice daily.
  2. Homeopathic treatment. Homeopathy is another alternative treatment method that uses small substances that stimulate the body’s immune system to fight diseases. To make a homeopathic remedy, divide one part of the substance that causes the problem into 100 pieces. Then add water until the solution becomes cloudy. This is how much substance you need to give to your cat. Give your cat two drops of the homeopathic remedy three times a day.
  3. Try acupuncture. Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique used to relieve pain. It involves inserting needles at specific points on the body. Your veterinarian can show you where these points are located. Once you find the right place, insert the needle slowly and carefully. Do not pull out the hand immediately after insertion. Instead, leave it there for 30 minutes. After that, remove the needle and massage the area around it. Repeat this process once every week.
  4. Feed your cat a healthy diet. A balanced diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits is recommended. Avoid giving your cat too much protein. If your cat overeats meat, it might develop kidney problems. Also, avoid feeding your cat foods containing artificial ingredients.
  5. Exercise regularly. Regular exercise helps keep your cat fit and robust. For example, walking is a great way to burn calories and strengthen muscles.
  6. Keep your cat warm. Cold weather makes your cat feel uncomfortable and weak. Therefore, try keeping them indoors during cold days. Provide your cat with blankets, heat pads, and heating lamps.

Many people know how to massage their cats but don’t know how to massage them with arthritis. The problem is that many people think it will get better if you massage your cat. Unfortunately, this isn’t true at all! Massaging your cat with arthritis doesn’t work because the pain of arthritis is caused by inflammation, which means that massaging won’t help. Instead, you should give your cat some medicine so that they feel better.

The first thing you should do when your elderly cat shows clinical signs of discomfort is to check its mouth and teeth. If there is no infection or bleeding, you should look for signs. Next, gently touch the area around the eye to see if they feel warm or cold. If your cat’s eyes are red, swollen, or irritated, they suffer from conjunctivitis (an inflammation of the mucous membrane lining inside the eyelids). This condition usually occurs because of an upper respiratory tract infection.

Yes! Omega 3 fatty acids are essential nutrients found in fish oil. They help maintain healthy skin, hair, bones, joints, eyes, heart, brain, immune system, and reproductive organs. It is recommended that cats should get at least one gram per day of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

You can buy omega-3 supplements from pet stores, health food stores, online retailers, and veterinary clinics. Talk to your vet first to know how much omega 3 to feed your cat. Likewise, you can find out what diet your cat eats by asking your veterinarian.

You can make your elderly cat’s life easier by providing her with a comfortable and safe environment, thus alleviating her stress. You can also provide her with appropriate food and water bowls if she seems to be having difficulty moving around. Additionally, you could give her arthritis medication if recommended by a veterinarian.

There is not much marketed explicitly to cats for managing arthritis pain relief. Still, some general recommendations include fatty foods and supplements (e.g., fish oil), NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), and acupuncture.

There is no definitive answer to this question, as the best pain medications for cats vary depending on the kitty’s medical history and current health condition. However, some general recommendations include providing your senior cat with heat therapy (such as a warm water bottle or heating pad) and physical rehabilitation exercises.

A cat with arthritis may live as long as a regular cat, but its quality of life may be poorer because of the pain and difficulty they experience moving around. Some cats live pretty comfortably with arthritis, although it is essential to keep them hydrated and give them medication for pain if needed.

Most commonly, arthritis causes swelling in cats due to the inflammation and discomfort it creates. Swelling can be localized or generalized, depending on where the inflammation occurs. Additionally, affected joints may also become stiffer and more difficult to move.

There is limited research on the efficacy of gabapentin in cats with arthritis. However, evidence suggests it may benefit some people and cats with this condition. It is possible that gabapentin could help to reduce inflammation and pain in cats with arthritis, although more studies are needed to confirm these findings.

There is no one answer to this question, as arthritis can occur in different ways in cats, and the best way to treat it will vary depending on the individual cat’s symptoms. However, some natural treatments that have been successful for cats with arthritis include diet changes (such as increasing intake of fresh or wet foods), weight loss if overweight, regular exercise, supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids or glucosamine sulfate, and topical treatments such as topical analgesics made from peppermint oil or ginger.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best diet for arthritis in cats will depend on the specific needs of that individual cat. However, some good options include low-fat or meatless kibble, a high-quality wet food supplemented with omega fatty acids and probiotics, or human-grade over-the-counter supplements such as fish oil capsules or glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate.

Arthritis can come and go in cats, as with many other diseases. Some cats may suffer from arthritis for some time. In contrast, others will experience flare-ups from time to time but never appear to have any permanent disability or health problem associated with the condition. Nevertheless, it is essential to monitor your cat’s symptoms and consult a veterinarian if you notice anything unusual or concerning about its health.

This question is difficult without more information about the cat’s medical history and health. For example, if your cat has arthritis, it may be harder for her to move around, which could cause her to have less energy and difficulty defecating. This, in turn, could lead to constipation.

Limited evidence suggests that massage may help cats with arthritis, as few stony investigate this topic. Some early research suggests combining heat therapy (e.g., hot water baths) and massage may improve pain and function in cats with arthritis. However, more recent studies are still determining the effectiveness of massage for cats with arthritis.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this veterinary website is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a licensed veterinarian for any concerns or questions regarding the health and well-being of your pet. This website does not claim to cover every possible situation or provide exhaustive knowledge on the subjects presented. The owners and contributors of this website are not responsible for any harm or loss that may result from the use or misuse of the information provided herein.

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