Follow Us
Striped, senior cat sleeping on floor

Identifying arthritis in cats

Q: How do I know if my cat has arthritis? She’s getting old and slowing down, but she doesn’t limp.

A: Osteoarthritis is exceedingly common, particularly in older cats, so you are right to be concerned. Unfortunately, though, the condition is hard to identify.

Cats with arthritis don’t limp, because feline arthritis typically affects multiple joints on both sides of the body. Instead, their behavior changes.

Arthritic cats become less active and less playful, and they sleep more. They may be moody and less tolerant of other pets or human handling. They are reluctant to jump, and they jump shorter distances. Their posture may become more crouched.

The twisting and stretching required to groom themselves is painful, so some arthritic cats look unkempt, and their coats may mat. Conversely, they may over-groom painful joints. Claws sometimes grow long when cats don’t scratch or move enough.

Litter box habits may change, particularly if the cat must use stairs to access the box or climb into a box with high sides.

If you see any of these behaviors in your cat, make an appointment with your veterinarian. I also offer these tips for helping your cat with arthritis.


Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine in Pennsylvania. Contact her at askdrlee@insurefigo.com

More From Figo Blog
Getting To Know The Great Dane | Figo Pet Insurance

Looking for a faithful and loving dog with an...

Pet Professionals: Interview With Larry Kay Of Positively Woof | Figo Pet Insurance

Author, dog trick trainer, movie maker,...

Arthritis In Dogs: Signs, Symptoms, And Treatment Options | Figo Pet Insurance

We all strive to be responsible dog owners who...

Pet Food Trends | Figo Pet Insurance

If you thought that pet food is just about...

Pug and terrier on road trip looking out of a car window

Summer is vacation season, and many of us will...

Introducing dogs for successful dog-to-dog interaction

Many of us want our dogs to be friendly with...

Man and dog hiking in the mountains

Dog ownership should be a joy for both you and...

Dog waiting to be adopted in animal shelter

Pets are awesome! Ever feel like you want to...

HELP