Arthritis in Cats
Arthritis, otherwise known as Osteoarthritis (OA) or degenerative joint disease (DJD) is a painful disease. It appears to be much more common in cats than we previously thought. It is a major cause of pain and discomfort in senior cats, especially over the age of ten. Unlike in dogs, limping is not a common sign in cats. They are small and naturally agile, so they can often cope with severe arthritic disease.
Here are some signs of arthritis (OA or DJD) in senior cats:
- Unkempt appearance/decreased grooming
- Reluctance to jump (even onto a cozy spot)
- Urinating or deficating outside of the litter box
- Sleeping more
- Sleeping less
- Change in behavior/avoiding human contact
- Dislike of being petted, especially on the back
Commonly owners and veterinarians do not realize how affected a cat is until we x-ray their spine or until after the owner sees dramatic improvement after treatment with a once a day medication for a week or two.
Remember, aspirin and Tylenol can kill your cat, so never give them any medications without consulting your veterinarian.