Feline Osteoarthritis at Animal Clinic East in Chattanooga, TN

Feline osteoarthritis is a painful joint condition in cats, causing stiffness and reduced mobility. Early detection and management are crucial.

a cat sitting on the floor

Feline Osteoarthritis

Feline osteoarthritis, also known as cat arthritis, is a degenerative joint disease (DJD) that affects cats. Osteoarthritis is a common condition in older cats, but it can also affect younger cats, especially if they have joint abnormalities or a history of joint injuries.

Osteoarthritis (OA) occurs when the cartilage in the joints wears down over time, leading to pain, inflammation, and reduced joint mobility. Cartilage is a smooth, protective tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint, allowing them to move smoothly against each other. When this cartilage breaks down, it can result in friction between the bones, causing discomfort for the cat.

Common signs of feline osteoarthritis include:

  1. Limping or favoring one leg: Cats with arthritis may exhibit lameness or stiffness, particularly when they first get up or after a period of rest.
  2. Reduced activity: Cats with arthritis may become less active and spend more time resting. They may be less likely to engage in activities they once enjoyed.
  3. Difficulty jumping or climbing: Arthritic cats may find it challenging to jump onto elevated surfaces or navigate stairs.
  4. Changes in grooming habits: Cats may groom less, especially in areas that are painful or difficult to reach due to arthritis.
  5. Behavioral changes: Cats in pain may exhibit changes in behavior, such as increased irritability, aggression, or avoidance of human or animal companionship.
If you suspect your cat has osteoarthritis, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. The vet may perform a physical examination, review the cat’s medical history, and possibly conduct X-rays to assess the extent of joint damage. Treatment options may include pain management, anti-inflammatory medications, joint supplements, and lifestyle modifications to make the cat more comfortable.

It’s important to note that arthritis in cats is a chronic condition, and managing it involves ongoing care and monitoring of the cat’s well-being. Early detection and intervention can help improve the quality of life for cats with osteoarthritis.

The management of feline osteoarthritis involves a combination of medical treatments, lifestyle modifications, and supportive care to improve the cat’s comfort and mobility. Here are some common approaches:

  • Veterinary Consultation: Schedule regular check-ups with a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and monitoring of the cat’s condition.
  • Pain Management: Pain relief is a crucial aspect of managing feline osteoarthritis. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other pain relievers may be prescribed by a veterinarian to manage pain and inflammation. Contact us today to discuss pain management options.
  • Joint Supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids and glucosamine/chondroitin supplements may be recommended to support joint health and reduce inflammation. These supplements are often available over the counter or prescribed by a veterinarian.
  • Weight Management: Maintaining an ideal body weight is essential for cats with osteoarthritis. Excess weight puts additional stress on joints, worsening the condition. A controlled and balanced diet and portion control can help manage the cat’s weight.
  • Comfortable Environment: Create a comfortable living environment for the cat. Provide soft bedding and ensure easy access to essential areas like the litter box and food bowls. Consider ramps or steps to help the cat access elevated surfaces more easily.
  • Adaptations for Senior Cats: As cats age, their needs may change. Provide accommodations such as a litter box with lower sides for easier access, warm bedding, and easily accessible food and water bowls.
  • Regular Monitoring: Keep a close eye on your cat’s condition and report any changes to the veterinarian promptly. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to assess the progression of osteoarthritis and adjust the treatment plan accordingly.