How To Tell If Your Cat Has Arthritis
Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes pain and inflammation in a cat’s joints. It is mostly seen in older cats, however can appear earlier due to obesity, trauma or a genetic predisposition. Cats are known for being introverts so it can be difficult to tell whether there is something wrong with your cat; however, there are several noticeable signs that you should not ignore.
Signs and symptoms of cat arthritis:
1. Lack of movement
Due to the pain in their joints, cats which were previously active may refrain from playing or being active. They may be less likely to jump up or will hesitate before jumping down. Depending on where their arthritis might be, your cat might begin to favour certain legs and will have stiff movements after laying down.
2. Their personality changes
Cats with arthritis might be more aggressive and irritable due to pain especially when touched. They might appear less playful and spend more time sleeping throughout the day. Once social cats might become reclusive.
3. Muscle Atrophy
You might see their legs becoming slimmer and start to feel protruding bones around the thigh area. This is due to muscle atrophy, which is when the muscles waste away. Muscle atrophy is caused by a lack of physical activity which can be a result of being in pain due to arthritis.
4. They lick, chew or bite certain body parts
You might see a new aggressive licking, chewing or biting behaviour in your cat. They do this on the parts or joints which are painful. The behaviour is so severe that it causes inflammation and hair loss on those painful areas.
5. Misuse of the litterbox
A cat with painful arthritis may begin to have “accidents” outside of their litterbox even if they have been well trained. This could be due to the litterbox being in an unreachable place or the sides of the litterbox being too high.
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should book an appointment with a vet as they can be very painful for your cat. The vet will perform a series of tests which might include x-rays to diagnose the condition. Treatment can include dietary supplements, pain relief or even surgery if the arthritis is linked to another medical condition like hip dysplasia or dislocated knee.