Cats are natural athletes and highly active but over the years this can take its toll. As a consequence, older cats may suffer from wear and tear on their joints. Many older cats suffer with arthritis and with cats living longer this is a growing problem.
As in humans, arthritis causes joints to degenerate over time, resulting in reduced mobility and pain.
Cats are known and loved for their independent nature and athleticism, and it is these qualities that can make it difficult for owners to identify when they are in discomfort. Furthermore, cats have evolved to instinctively hide signs that they are in pain.
As cats are relatively small and very agile they can hide mobility difficulties caused by arthritis. For instance, unlike dogs, cats with arthritis don’t generally limp. Instead, cats are more likely to show subtle changes in their behaviour.
Answer these 4 simple questions. If you answer yes to any of them it could indicate that your cat is in pain.
Reduced mobility: Have you noticed your cat hesitating or being more reluctant to jump up or down eg. into your lap/the furniture/through a cat flap?
Reduced activity: Have you noticed your cat slowing down eg sleeping more – especially in one place?
Changes in grooming habits: Have you noticed a deterioration in your cat’s appearance eg matted or scruffy coat?
Changes in temperament: Have you noticed any changes in your cat’s attitude or daily routine eg less tolerant around people or more withdrawn?
If you suspect that your cat may be exhibiting one or more of these symptoms please speak to your vet.