Pet insurance policies are underwritten by Markel American Insurance Company.
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

Hot Car Pet Safety Tips & What You Need To Know

You and your furry friend have been...

Prognosis Of Cats With Feline Leukemia Virus | Figo Pet Insurance

Q: A stray cat, whom we...

Q: For the past two...

June Is Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month | Figo Pet Insurance

Q: I’m ready to get a...

More From Figo Blog
Five California Sites To Visit With Your Dog | Figo Pet Insurance

From being the first state to...

10 pet safe cleaners

We all know that keeping a clean house isn’t...

June Is Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month | Figo Pet Insurance

Q: I’m ready to get a cat....

Dog Breed Profile: Getting To Know The Beagle | Figo Pet Insurance

Playful. Energetic. Family friendly. Ears as...

Tips for training your German Shepherd

Are there specific positive reinforcement...

Canny-Belle: A Dog Adoption Story

We’d had dogs for as long as we could remember...

Scared dog in crate waiting to be evacuated

Q: I have friends in...

HELP