Feline Arthritis: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

If you suspect arthritis in your once spry and playful cat, you likely have a number of questions and concerns. While not comprehensive, below is an outline of common causes of feline arthritis, symptoms you may see, and how arthritis in cats is treated and managed to get you started on better understanding the disease.  

What Causes Feline Arthritis?

While there are a number of causes of arthritis in cats, just as there are in humans, the main causes include aging, injury, and infection.

Arthritis is caused by a break down of cartilage which is the cushioning that separates bones at the joint. This can occur naturally in aging cats, but it can also be caused by an injury or an infection. Injuries that traumatize the joints, such as sudden impacts or jarring injuries, and bacterial infections can also lead to the break down of cartilage. Arthritis is progressive, meaning no matter the cause, it will worsen over time.

What are the Symptoms of Feline Arthritis?

Whether the cause of arthritis is aging, injury, or infection, the symptoms displayed will be the same.

As your cat's arthritis progresses, she will begin to avoid activities that she once enjoyed. Arthritis causes stiffness and loss of range of motion, so jumping and playing will become more difficult. Your cat may spend less time grooming herself, as it can be difficult and painful to contort herself as she used to. If your cat is in pain, she may be agitated or become aggressive when handled. You'll likely notice your cat is sleeping more, and may even be eating less.

How is Feline Arthritis Treated?

Once the breakdown of cartilage has begun, nothing can be done to reverse it. There are treatment options, however, that can ease your cat's pain and slow further progression of the disease.

When it comes to arthritis treatment, it's all about pain reduction and management. If your cat is overweight, your vet may put them on a diet to ease the weight put on their joints. This can help with pain as well as slow the progression. There are medications available to help with the pain and inflammation and you may even notice that with their use, your cat's behaviors begin to return to normal.

To learn more about feline arthritis and its progression, consult with a veterinary clinic like Phoenixville Animal Hospital - R B Wolstenholme DVM. While arthritis cannot be cured, the treatment can help to provide your cat with a long, healthy, and happy life.