These 6 Signs Might Mean Your Cat Has Arthritis

Do you know what to look for? 🤔

Do you think your cat might have arthritis?

Since cats are really good at hiding signs of pain, it can sometimes be hard to realize that yours is having issues.

Because of this, it’s good to know what to look out for so that if your cat is developing arthritis, you’ll be able to get her checked out by her vet as soon as possible.

Stiffness

If you’ve started to notice that your cat isn’t moving around as easily as she used to, it could mean that her joints are becoming stiff, which is a common sign of arthritis.

Limping

If your cat is starting to limp around the house (rather than zooming around in her usual sprint), this could be a sign of arthritis. It could also mean she’s hurt herself from all her usual 4 a.m. mischief, so it’s a good idea to take her to the vet regardless.

Difficulty jumping

If your cat is having a tough time jumping onto the couch, up to her favorite sun spot or anywhere else she usually loves to leap to, this could be a sign that she’s started to develop arthritis in her back legs.

Trouble going up stairs

Have you noticed your cat is struggling to get up the stairs? This could be another sign that she’s developing arthritis.

Reluctance to get up

Is your usually-hyper cat staying in bed longer? While this can sometimes just mean she’s having a lazy day, if she starts to make a habit out of it (and if it’s out of character for her), it could be a sign of arthritis.

Loss of appetite

If your cat doesn’t feel like eating or drinking anymore, or if she’s become withdrawn in other ways, it could mean that she’s in pain.

How common is arthritis in cats?

Believe it or not, 90 percent of cats over 12 years of age have some form of arthritis. “This means that almost all senior cats develop arthritis, and it can be in one joint or multiple joints,” Dr. Catherine Lenox, a veterinarian and regulatory veterinary manager at Royal Canin, told The Dodo.

Younger cats can also develop arthritis due to genetics. “This would include stature (e.g., larger cats like Maine coons and ragdolls may be more prone to developing joint problems) and genetic problems, like hip dysplasia, that may cause cats to develop arthritis earlier in life,” Dr. Lenox said.

How to treat arthritis in cats

When it comes to treating your cat for arthritis, there are a variety of things your veterinarian may suggest to help her feel better.

Medications

According to Dr. Lenox, there are some medications that can be used to help your cat feel more comfortable if she’s been diagnosed with arthritis — but you can only get them with a prescription from your vet.

Diet

If your cat’s overweight, this could be a big reason as to why her arthritis is flaring up. Getting her weight under control and adding in food that’s made for a cat with arthritis is going to help her feel better.

To figure out which food you should feed your cat, ask your veterinarian about what diet would be best.

Supplements

Dr. Lenox suggests that omega-3 fatty acids or other joint supplements might be beneficial for your cat, especially if she’s already on a specific diet and can’t go on a diet designed to support joint health.

You can try Zesty Paws' Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil for Dogs & Cats from Amazon for $35.97

Or Nutramax Laboratories' Cosequin from Amazon for $16.60

“Ask your veterinarian about what might be helpful for your cat, and your vet may be able to recommend a specialist in sports medicine and rehabilitation or a certified veterinary acupuncturist if those services aren’t offered with your usual veterinary hospital,” Dr. Lenox said.

If you’re worried about your cat developing arthritis, knowing what to look out for will help you get her what she needs to feel more comfortable as quickly as possible.

We independently pick all the products we recommend because we love them and think you will too. If you buy a product from a link on our site, we may earn a commission.