Back

Get started

Customized by You

Design your pet’s plan in less than 60 seconds.

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

You may have heard the phrase, “Cats can’t...

Man holding sick cat while chatting with veterinarian on mobile phone

Technology has made getting quick access to...

If you have extra time these days, perhaps...

Pet Professionals: Interview With Kristen Levine Pet Blogger | Figo Pet Insurance

We recently had the opportunity to interview...

Puppy crate training in progress

There are many tools I utilize when training...

Looking to add a new, furry family member to...

Labrador Retriever retrieving a blue frisbee from the yard

One of the best things about owning a dog is...

In 1961 Congress designated the third week...