Veterinarians Discuss Arthritis in Cats

Our South Bay Vet’s Tips for Managing Arthritis in Cats -

What Causes Arthritis In Cats?

veterinarians in south beachOsteoarthritis (also called degenerative joint disease) is commonly seen by our veterinarians in dogs as they get older. . .  but arthritis is much less common it cats.

It is unclear why cats suffer less arthritis than dogs, even though they typically have a longer life expectancy. It may be because of the higher amount of beneficial fish oil in most feline diets – or because cats’ lighter weight and somewhat more sedentary lifestyle puts less strain on joints.

Injury or infection can give rise to arthritis in cats, but in most cases feline arthritis is simply due to aging. As your kitty gets older, Osteoarthritis erodes away the cartilage that cushions Kitty’s joints, and decreases the fluids that lubricate the cat’s joints.

Symptoms of Arthritis In Cats

Symptoms of Arthritis in cats can be hard to detect. The joints generally will not be swollen, and because the pain is more of a dull ache than a sharp pain, your kitty likely will not vocalize or cry out in pain.

A stiff or uneven gait or limp can be a sign of arthritis. But other medical conditions – such as a spinal tumor or a pinched or damaged nerve can also affect walking. So you should not “assume” that your cat’s limp or difficulty walking is “just arthritis”.

Cats with arthritis may also engage in less activity – and may move slower than they used to. They may also start opting to climb stairs less, or no longer get up on a beds, furniture or window sills like they used to.

In more advanced cases of arthritis, difficulty in getting into the litter box may result in “accidents” where the cat eliminates outside the litter box. If the arthritis becomes painful, a cat who previously loved to be picked up may no longer want to be held.

How Veterinarians Treat Arthritis in Cats

Our veterinarians have eased the pain and improved the quality of life of many feline patients with arthritis. There are a number of things you and your veterinarian can do to help your pet stay active into his or her senior years – and often, a combination of therapies is the most effective.

Reducing inflammation and management of the pain are the goals when treating an arthritic cat. While there are many arthritis medications that can safely be administered to dogs, there are few anti-inflammatory drugs that can be given to cats.

For this reason it is important to consult with our veterinarians if you suspect your cat may have arthritis. Never treat your cat with over-the-counter or online arthritis medications, as they could be dangerous for your kitty.

Since only limited medication is available to treat arthritis in cats, our veterinarians often turn to supplements to help control the inflammation. “Nutraceutical” supplements containing glucosamine, certain fish oils or other natural anti-inflammatory may be recommended by our veterinarians.

But these treatments should ONLY be administered to your cat after consulting with a veterinarian. And supplements intended for dogs or humans should never be given to cats.

There are also many things you can do around your home to make life more comfortable for an arthritic kitty. “Cat ramps” going up to Kitty’s favorite bed or chair can enable them to enjoy their favorite places without needing to climb or jump.

Moving their litter box closer to where they usually hangout (for example in a main floor bathroom rather than in the basement) can help reduce accidents – as can switching to a litter box with lower sides. Disposable aluminum baking pans or cookie sheets (available in the grocery store’s baking department) are an ideal and inexpensive solution!

Elevating their food bowl on a small box can make it easier for them to eat –without having to “crouch”. And providing a soft and warm sleeping surface – such as a plush, memory foam, padded or “Sherpa” pad – can provide comfort & warmth to their aching joints.

Our South Bay Veterinarians Can Treat Cat Arthritis

If your cat is getting older and shows signs of slowing down or changes in their walking and jumping, it may be osteoarthritis. Don’t let your beloved cat suffer, or give up the activities that he or she loves! Schedule a consultation with our veterinarians to discuss the right treatments and medications that can alleviate your cat’s arthritis pain and put some pep back in their step . . . so you both can enjoy their “senior years” for years to come. Call us today at 310-536-9654.


Our South Bay veterinarians treat dogs and cats from the entire Los Angeles area, including:
Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Torrance, Hawthorne, El Segundo, Marina del Ray, Palos Verdes, Gardena, Carson and the surrounding areas.

CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment with one of our caring and experienced vets.



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