Arthritis in Cats
You may think your cat has stopped jumping on and off the counter because they’re slowing down, but arthritis could be behind their reluctance.
Like humans, cats can develop arthritis, a painful condition where the cartilage between joints wears down. This can cause inflammation and stiffness when the joint is in use. The most common joints affected in cats are the hips, ankles, knees, and elbows.
What are some common symptoms of arthritis in cats?
- Hesitation to jump on or off a chair
- Difficulty using the stairs
- Unwillingness to be touched in certain areas
- Difficulty standing up
- Walking stiffly
Arthritis in Cats is Shockingly Common
For years, arthritis in cats has been underdiagnosed. Recent numbers from the Veterinary Centers of America estimate that about 90% of cats over the age of 10 will experience arthritis in at least one joint during their lifetime (1).
With how common cat arthritis is, it’s important that cat owners keep a watchful eye on their cat for any slight changes in their cat’s mobility and comfort.
Cold Weather Can Worsen Arthritis
Cold and damp weather is not fun, especially if your cat is struggling with the symptoms of arthritis. If your cat has arthritis, try to ease their pain by keeping them warm.
Try providing extra blankets and padding your cat’s bed for extra warmth. You may also consider moving your cat and their bed into a warmer part of your home to keep them more comfortable and less stiff.
Older cats may have a harder time maintaining their body heat, since they are less active than kittens, and may need additional help with this.
Age Isn't the Only Factor
While arthritis is often associated with old age, there are many reasons why a cat could have arthritis.
Weight is a major contributing factor with over 37% of arthritic cats being overweight (2). One of the best things you can do for your cat is to help them maintain a healthy weight.
Other potential, contributing factors include injury to a joint, other bone and joint disorders, genetic weaknesses, and the build of the cat.
Treatment Options For Cat Arthritis
You may be wondering what treatment options are available for cats with arthritis.
The good news?
There are many treatment options available. Once diagnosed with arthritis, a veterinarian may recommend a number of treatment options ranging from acupuncture to medication to lifestyle changes to physical therapy and even stem cell therapy.
Not all pet insurance companies cover alternative therapies like acupuncture. With SPOT Pet Insurance, you can submit a claim for alternative therapies* performed by licensed medical professionals to help give your cat the best, holistic care!
Cats with Arthritis can Live Long, Happy Lives
When treated by a veterinary professional, many cats can go on to have long, happy lives with minimal pain or discomfort from their arthritis.
Cats with arthritis do not typically see a decrease in their life span and, with treatment from a medical professional and some lifestyle changes (encouraging weight loss, changing the height of their food and water bowls, and providing an extra cushioned bed), they can live comfortably.
SPOT hopes to help you provide your pet with the best treatment for eligible medical expenses. Get customized coverage for your pet’s specific needs and a personalized quote in under 30 seconds.
*Alternative therapies must be recommended by a licensed vet as a treatment for a covered condition.
Referenced Sources: (1) Veterinary Centers of America, (2) American Veterinary Medical Association
Additional Sources: PDSA, American College of Veterinary Surgeons