What are the signs of arthritis in cats?

Arthritis in Cat
Arthritis in Cat

Cats are masters of hiding discomfort and pain, so often do not demonstrate obvious signs that you might expect.

They restrict their own activity to minimise the use of the sore joints and so tend not to show the same signs of arthritis as other animals. In particular, cats uncommonly show overt signs of limping or pain associated with arthritis.

Major signs of arthritis in cats associated with arthritis are:

  • Reduced mobility
    • Reluctance, hesitance or refusal to jump up or down
    • Jumping up to lower surfaces than previously
    • Jumping up or down less frequently
    • Difficulty going up or down stairs
    • Stiffness in the legs, especially after sleeping or resting for a while; occasionally there may be obvious lameness
    • Difficulty using the litter tray
    • Difficulty going through the cat flap
  • Reduced activity
    • Increased time spent resting or sleeping
    • Not hunting or exploring the outdoor environment as frequently
    • Sleeping in different, easier to access sites
    • Reduced interaction and playing less with people or other animals
  • Altered grooming
    • Reduced frequency of time spent grooming
    • Matted and scruffy coat
    • Sometimes overgrooming of painful joints
    • Overgrown claws due to lack of activity and reduced sharpening of claws
  • Temperament changes
    • More irritable or grumpy when handled or stroked
    • More irritable or grumpy on contact with other animals
    • Spending more time alone
    • Avoiding interaction with people and/or animals

International Cat Care and ISFM (the veterinary division of the charity) have produced a ‘mobility check list’ which owners can download from here and use to see if there have been any changes in their cat that may be indicative of arthritis or joint pain.

Disclaimer: Medrego AlloMT Cell is not a medicinal product* or a veterinary drug. Medrego AlloMT Cell contains unmodified sterile animal mesenchymal tissue cells only for transplantation in horses/dogs/cats. The product is made for a specific doctor’s order.
* Definition of a veterinary medicinal product in the European Union can be found in Article 2 of Directive 2004/28/EC, an amendment of Directive 2001/82/EC relating to veterinary medicinal products.