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Feline Arthritis

The experts at North Shore Animal League America care about you and your pet’s well-being and would like to offer you some insight into a common but complex condition. Arthritis in cats is very similar to human arthritis. It is a degenerative disease that causes stiffness, discomfort and pain in the muscles and joints.

What are the symptoms of feline arthritis?
Excessive sleeping, fever, lameness, lethargy, limping, muscle loss, pain in the legs, a reluctance to jump or go up stairs and weight loss are all signs that your pet may be suffering from arthritis. However, only a veterinarian can properly diagnose your cat’s symptoms. If your cat is experiencing any of these symptoms, you should consult your veterinarian immediately.

What causes arthritis in cats?
For most cats, arthritis is congenital. However, injuries, accidents and wear and tear on the muscles and joints can also cause feline arthritis. Certain diseases or infections can also lead to arthritis.

While arthritis is more common in older cats from muscle and joint deterioration, a cat at any age that suffers some type of trauma to the joints and muscles can get arthritis.

How do I treat feline arthritis?
Once your cat is diagnosed with arthritis, you and your veterinarian will discuss the different remedies and treatments and decide on what is best for your cat. Possible remedies will include, medications – alone or in combination, herbal supplements and in severe cases, surgery.

Can I prevent my cat from getting arthritis?
You can greatly reduce the risk of your cat getting arthritis by keeping it active and watching its weight. Arthritis is more prevalent in obese cats because of the strain on their muscles and joints. Diet and exercise can be very helpful in warding off arthritis as well as other health issues. Joint supplements can also help in maintaining joint function. Taken daily for optimal joint health, supplements assist in cartilage production, which can help in preventing feline arthritis.

How can I help my cat who already has already been diagnosed with arthritis?
You can do simple things to help ease your cat’s discomfort.

  • Make sure your pet’s sleeping area is cushioned and comfortable to ease the strain on his or her joints and muscles
  • Lower your cat’s food bowl so that it is easy to reach without straining
  • Help your cat with steps or stairs to help ease pain
  • Watch your cat’s weight to avoid putting unnecessary strain on the joints and muscles
  • Keep your cat warm and dry in inclement weather and make sure there is always a comfortable retreat

North Shore Animal League America’s Pet Health Advice is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s health. Never disregard professional veterinary advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read online.


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