5 Signs of Joint Problems in Cats

Are you wondering if your cat has joint problems?

Cats can suffer from a number of joint problems as they grow older. In most cases, they develop osteoarthritis or feline arthritis. Many joint problems can be difficult to spot, but timely diagnosis can help your cat get the treatment it needs to live pain-free. Read on as we discuss some of the most common joint problems in cats along with signs of arthritis in cats and what you can do about it.

6 Types of Joint Problems In Cats 

Cats can suffer from a number of joint disorders. These include:

  1. Osteoarthritis- Osteoarthritis or feline arthritis is a degenerative disease that affects the joints. It causes the cartilage between the joints to wear out or degenerate with time. This can lead to pain and inflammation in their joints.

  2. Patellar Luxation– This is a hereditary disorder. It causes abnormalities in the kneecap and causes it to become displaced.

  3. Hip Dysplasia– If a cat’s hip joints develop abnormally this is known as Hip Dysplasia. It is most common in purebred cats.

  4. Septic Arthritis– This is a type of arthritis that occurs when bacteria spread through a cat’s bloodstream. It can enter the body due to a wound or as a result of surgery.

  5. Immune-mediated Arthritis– When a cat’s immune system causes inflammation in its joints, then this is known as immune-mediated arthritis.

  6. Cancerous Arthritis –Caused by a tumor, this type of arthritis affects the joints and can result in joint swelling and lameness.

Among the aforementioned joint problems in cats, Osteoarthritis is the most common problem that affects older cats.  

Let’s take a look at some of the signs of arthritis in cats.

5 Signs of Arthritis in Cats 

Most cats do not exhibit that they are suffering from pain or discomfort. This can be remedied by keeping a close eye on your cat’s health and behavior as it gets older.  In the case of joint problems in cats, there are a number of signs that indicate your cat may be suffering from osteoarthritis. These include:

1. Exhibiting Lethargic Behavior

If your cat shows a general reluctance against moving or exercising, there is a chance it is suffering from feline arthritis. Unlike dogs that exhibit a typical lameness, cats may prefer to stay in the same spot for prolonged periods. They may also stop jumping up or down or show hesitation before making any jumps.

These behavioral changes could indicate that your cat finds it difficult to move without experiencing pain.

2. Not Using the Litter Box

Cats are meticulous creatures. If your cat doesn’t seem to be using its litter box as often, then you should consider it as a possible sign of osteoarthritis and take it to the vet to get a complete checkup. In most cases, cats suffering from arthritis find it difficult to get in and out of their litter box. As a result, they may avoid using them altogether to forgo the pain associated with the task.

3. Feeling Restless During the Night

Are you noticing any changes in your cat’s sleep pattern? For instance, was your cat a heavy sleeper before but suddenly can’t stay still during the night? A cat feeling inflammation and pain in its joints is likely to feel more restless during the night. The increased discomfort can prevent your cat from falling asleep properly.

 For all you know, the poor thing is just trying to get comfortable and find a spot that elevates the ache in its joints. If this happens, its best you get your vet to take a look at your pet and make sure everything is okay.

4. Lack of Grooming or Overgrooming

As a cat owner, you are probably aware of how fastidious cats can be about grooming. So, if your cat appears to be unconcerned about its physical appearance, then something is clearly wrong. If your cat’s fur appears to be matted and unkempt, then it hasn’t been grooming itself as regularly. This can be because any movements increase the cat’s discomfort.

In some cases, your cat may also end up overgrooming the area surrounding its joints. This is an instinctive reaction from your pet to elevate some of the pain it is going through due to the inflammation in its joints.

In both cases, it’s important you seek a medical opinion and get your cat the help it needs to cope with its joint problems.

5. Increased Irritability and Aggression

Cats tend to keep to themselves, which can cause some pet owners to miss out on some of the subtler signs of arthritis. In this case, if your cat appears to be acting more irritable than normal then it could be because its health is deteriorating.

If your cat gets agitated too quickly for no reason or shows a general reluctance to play, then it could be because of arthritic pain. Some cats also express their discomfort through increased levels of aggression. For instance, if you are trying to hold your cat and it ends up biting or scratching you, then this could be a sign of arthritis in cats. It’s possible that you are holding your cat at an angle that aggravates the pain in its joints causing it to lash out.

Get your cat an arthritis checkup if this happens.

Wrapping It Up

Cats may have prickly personalities but some behavioral changes indicate more than your cat being ‘in a mood’. If your cat appears to be moving too slowly or not at all and has stopped taking care of itself, then pay a visit to the vet and make sure they are not dealing with something like osteoarthritis.

Middle-aged and older cats are more vulnerable to arthritis than others so you’ll want to keep a regular check for any signs of arthritis in them. If your cat is obese, then this can also aggravate their condition.

The good news is that most joint problems in cats are treatable. You can discuss a treatment plan with your vet or a local cat specialist and ask them to prescribe any pain medication or health supplements that can help.

Good luck!
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