Treating Your Cat’s Arthritis Pain

Has your cat been moving a little stiffer or more slowly lately? If this is something you’ve noticed, she could be suffering from arthritis. This guide will help you learn more about arthritis in cats, how it is diagnosed and treated, and what you can do to help manage your pet’s pain.

Understanding Cat Arthritis

What Is Arthritis in Cats?

Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes inflammation and pain in the affected joint. It forms when the cartilage, the cushion between the bones at a joint, starts to deteriorate. Although arthritis is most associated with aging, it can also be facilitated by an injury, a dislocation, or an infection in the joint.

Arthritis is more commonly found in dogs than cats, but the disease can affect some cats, most commonly older animals. It can also be found more commonly in obese cats as the extra body weight increases the strain and wear on the animal’s joints.

When a cat does develop arthritis, the elbow joint tends to be the one most affected although in truth, the disease can develop anywhere a joint is found.

Identifying the Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis in a Cat

Just like arthritis in dogs or humans, the disease causes a cat to move slower than usual because of the pain and stiffness attributed to the condition. The cat’s joints may even appear swollen in severe cases. Additional signs to watch for include:

  • Lethargy
  • Reduced activity
  • Altered gait
  • Vocalizations when being held in an uncomfortable way
  • Inability to climb the stairs, jump, and run
  • Eliminating outside of the litter box

How Do Veterinarians Diagnose Arthritis in Cats?

When you take your cat to the veterinarian, you should provide the vet with a detailed account of your cat’s symptoms and when they began. The vet will perform a thorough physical examination as well as a number of diagnostic tests. Radiographs may also be taken to look for signs of cartilage deterioration in the joints.

Treatment Options for Arthritis in Cats

Once a cat develops arthritis, the condition cannot be cured. So, treatment consists of reducing the cat’s pain and discomfort. The veterinarian will usually start by changing the cat’s diet to one that is healthier for her, prescribing pain medications, and helping you come up with ways to help your cat lose excess weight.

In some cases, a veterinarian may also prescribe certain nutritional supplements that have shown the potential to replenish cartilage.  

At-Home Ways to Help Make Your Cat More Comfortable

If your cat has been diagnosed with arthritis, there are some things you can do to help make her more comfortable in your home. You should replace her litter box with one that has a lower point of entry so your cat doesn’t have to lift her legs or jump to enter or exit the box. You should provide her with plenty of comfortable bedding and blankets. When she is relaxing by you, give her a gentle massage and/or groom the parts of her body that might be hard for her to reach.  

You should also make sure you administer her medications on schedule. If you happen to miss a dose, give it to her immediately; if it’s almost time for her next dose, then restart the regimen with the next dose. Pain medication can be dangerous when given too close together so never double up your cat’s dose in an attempt to “catch up” with the schedule.

If your veterinarian prescribes any medications or supplements for your pet as part of a treatment program for arthritis, you can receive a free quote for the medications from Diamondback Drugs. We can help you save money on all of your cat’s medications.


Author: Giano Panzarella