As your cat grows and ages, over time he or she may become a little less agile than before. With older cats you might see a drop off in physical activity, and an increase in sleeping. While your pet may be in overall great shape for its age it is important to look out for any signs of joint conditions. Arthritis can affect cats and can be very uncomfortable, so keep on the lookout for the signs below, and use the tips to ensure the best joint care for cats.
Cats that suffer from joint conditions such as cat arthritis (also known as degenerative joint disease – or DJD) can exhibit symptoms of lameness, and may have difficulty in climbing or jumping onto furniture, grooming themselves or even accessing the litter tray. The following four categories summarize what you might see :
- • Your cat may be more hesitant in its movements, and less likely to jump onto furniture that is out of reach.
- • There may even be difficulty in climbing or descending stairs.
- • Stiffness in the legs. Watch your cat after sleeping, there may be signs of stiffness or lameness after a long period of inactivity.
- • Your cat will probably rest and sleep much more. He or she might also lie down in different areas that are easier to access.
- • Your cat may also be less inclined to play or explore.
A change of grooming habits
- • Your cat may groom less.
- • This can result in a dirty or unkempt coat that might appear matted.
- • Your cat may focus on grooming areas that are in pain- for example excessively grooming over a particular joint and even leading to hair loss over that joint.
- • If your cat exhibits irritation at being handled where previously he or she enjoyed close contact then this could be one sign of arthritis.
- • Your cat may seek to spend more time alone, avoiding meeting people or other animals.
Cat Joint Care
If your cat suffers from any of the above signs them take him or her to your vet as soon as you can. Your vet will be able to diagnose the exact problem and will be able to give your cat appropriate treatment (such as anti-inflammatory medications, or a change of diet including supplements designed to help manage inflammation and support optimal cartilage health).
If your cat has been diagnosed with joint problems there are a few things you can do to make his or her life a little easier:
- • Make sure everything that is needed is easily accessible. Buying a cat litter tray with a door, or buying a soft bed with no hard edges will make them much easier to use.
- • Increase your time grooming your cat, and focus on areas that are hard to reach.
- • Give him or her space, but when they’re at ease you may be able to gently stroke your cat.