Approaches to Treating Arthritis in Cats

Image Credit:Celeste Goulding

Cats can develop a variety of joint-related disorders, such as feline arthritis, just like people. Inflammation and joint pain are two of the signs of this illness. Cats are quite good at masking discomfort, so it might be challenging for you to understand that your cat is in pain if you don’t know that they have arthritis.

Before we talk about the best ways to relieve your pet’s pain and cure their arthritis, it is crucial to understand how to spot the early signs of the condition in cats. If your cat is aging or you think it might have arthritis,

Cat arthritis: what is it?

A persistent inflammatory condition, feline osteoarthritis is also known as feline arthritis. Even though many people believe that arthritis mainly affects older cats, it can affect cats of any age. A different name for it is degenerative joint disease. The term “degenerative” denotes a progressive worsening of the illness. The cat’s joints’ protecting cartilage tissue deteriorates due to arthritis. The bones rub against one another due to this gradual loss of cartilage. Among other symptoms, this causes swelling, joint pain, stiffness, and some loss of movement.

Although arthritis cannot be cured, it can be delayed and its symptoms managed. This is why it’s critical to be able to spot the first signs of cat arthritis as soon as possible. 

causes of cat arthritis

Cats typically develop feline arthritis as they age, which results in the natural degeneration of cartilage (much like human arthritis). However, several illnesses can lead to the development of arthritis in cats of any age. 

If you suspect arthritis in your young cat but don’t know for sure, here are some potential causes to watch out for:


When a cat sustains an injury, such as a blow to the joint or dislocation, arthritis may develop as a post-traumatic condition. Arthritis can result from such injuries to the cartilage around the joints.


On occasion, infections can harm joints and cause cartilage to deteriorate. This might be the result of bites or wounds at the joints.known as “septic arthritis.”


The onset of feline arthritis is linked to specific hereditary joint deformities in cats, such as hip dysplasia[1]. Some cat breeds, like the Maine Coon or Persian cat, can be particularly susceptible to this.


Although not all overweight cats may get arthritis, the additional weight puts stress on the cartilage and joints. This may ultimately cause arthritis or aggravate current arthritic symptoms.

Immune dysfunction: 

Polyarthritis, a type of arthritis not to be confused with feline osteoarthritis, is caused by immunological problems. In these circumstances, the synovial membrane, which aids in lubricating the joints, is attacked by the cat’s own immune system. Symptoms of this include swelling and excruciating discomfort. Immunological illnesses like the feline leukemia virus can cause it.


Image Credit:bluecross

Arthritic symptoms in cats

As we’ve mentioned, it might be challenging to identify cat arthritis. Changes in behaviour that may not immediately indicate disease are among the main indicators of arthritis in cats. Unlike dogs with arthritis, cats may hide their pain quite well and may not show any signs of lameness. In fact, cat arthritis can be challenging to diagnose, even for experienced veterinarians, as the condition can occasionally be difficult to detect even in radiographs.

Even so, if you have any cause to suspect your cat is at risk for developing arthritis, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for certain signs. If any of the factors mentioned in the section before apply to your cat, you can make a determination on this.

Mobility changes, such as altered gait or a reluctance to leap or climb stairs. One of the earliest symptoms of feline arthritis that owners can identify, according to studies, is loss of mobility[3]. Alterations in posture and trouble rising may also be seen.

Behavioural modifications: these include mood swings and symptoms including listlessness, appetite loss, anxiety, poor grooming, or urinating outside of the little box. Additionally, they could protest your touching or handling them by backing away or making noises. This may be a symptom of pain for the cat.

Grating noise: cats rarely exhibit this arthritic symptom. However, if the cartilage loss is severe, you can hear a grinding sound the next time the cat moves because the bones in the joint are rubbing against one another.

Visible inflammation is another symptom that could not show up or is only noticeable when the disease has advanced significantly. You might notice swelling in the damaged joint more quickly if your cat has been hurt. According to studies, cats’ elbows and hips (in the front legs) are most commonly afflicted by arthritis. If you suspect arthritis in your cat, keep a watch on these joints.

How to deal with feline arthritis

Since feline arthritis is a chronic and degenerative condition, there is no cure. The goal of treatment is to lessen the cat’s clinical symptoms and stop or decrease the course of the cat’s arthritis. Treatment options for feline arthritis range from anti-inflammatory medicines to environmental modification and physical therapy to accomplish this. To choose the best course of treatment for your cat, always see a veterinarian. The following are some of the most typical therapies for arthritic cats

Prescription drugs like NSAIDs are the most common medical treatment for feline arthritis, helping relieve pain and minimize joint inflammation. However, it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian before administering NSAIDs to cats. Supplements like chondrotitin and glucosamine may help relieve arthritis pain, but they are not as clinically effective as NSAIDs. Physical therapy, such as massages, is also a possible treatment option, but it should be carried out by a trained veterinary specialist. Diet and exercise are essential for reducing the cat’s chances of developing arthritis. Consult a veterinarian to determine the best diet and exercise regime for your cat. Surgery is the last option if the cat’s arthritis is highly developed or caused by an underlying condition.

At-home care for feline arthritis treatment

You can provide an arthritic cat with additional particular care in addition to the therapy choices mentioned above, such as frequent exercise and a healthy diet.


Image Credit:vcahospitals

First and foremost, your cat wants to feel as at home as possible. By doing this, the environment would need to be changed to prevent the cat from exerting itself beyond what is necessary. You can accomplish this in a straightforward manner by adding soft blankets or towels to the cat’s bed or other favourite places for rest. Hard, flat surfaces are harder on arthritic joints than soft, cushioned ones. 

To help reduce swelling and pain in the damaged joints, you can either use warm compresses or put a hot water bottle in the cat’s bed. Keep in mind that cats’ arthritis discomfort is exacerbated by cold and humidity, so make sure your home is always warm, dry, and free from sudden temperature changes.

Keeping fewer obstructions in the cat’s path will prevent it from having to jump or do other painful and challenging motions.

Consider installing a ramp or building a lower-sided litterbox for your cat to climb stairs or climb favorite spots. Ensure food and water bowls are easily accessible and avoid stressors that cause discomfort. Treat your cat with love, affection, and patience to create a calm, comfortable environment. AnimalWised is not responsible for veterinary treatment or diagnoses, so consult a veterinarian if your cat is experiencing any issues.