Cat Tips

5 Things You Need To Know About Arthritis In Cats

Arthritis in Cats

You may think your cat has stopped jumping on and off the counter because they’re slowing down, but arthritis could be behind their reluctance.

Like humans, cats can develop arthritis, a painful condition where the cartilage between joints wears down. This can cause inflammation and stiffness when the joint is in use. The most common joints affected in cats are the hips, ankles, knees, and elbows.

What are some common symptoms of arthritis in cats?

  • Hesitation to jump on or off a chair

  • Difficulty using the stairs

  • Limping

  • Unwillingness to be touched in certain areas

  • Difficulty standing up

  • Walking stiffly

Arthritis in Cats is Shockingly Common

For years, arthritis in cats has been underdiagnosed. Recent numbers from VCA Canada estimate that about 90% of cats over the age of 12 will experience arthritis in at least one joint during their lifetime.1

With how common cat arthritis is, it’s important that cat owners keep a watchful eye on their cat for any slight changes in their cat’s mobility and comfort.

Cold Weather Can Worsen Arthritis

Cold and damp weather is not fun, especially if your cat is struggling with the symptoms of arthritis. If your cat has arthritis, try to ease their pain by keeping them warm.

Try providing extra blankets and padding your cat’s bed for extra warmth. You may also consider moving your cat and their bed into a warmer part of your home to keep them more comfortable and less stiff.

Older cats may have a harder time maintaining their body heat, since they are less active than kittens, and may need additional help with this.

Age Isn’t the Only Factor

While arthritis is often associated with old age, there are many reasons why a cat could have arthritis.

Weight is a major contributing factor with over 41% of arthritic cats being overweight.2 One of the best things you can do for your cat is to help them maintain a healthy weight.

Other potential, contributing factors include injury to a joint, other bone and joint disorders, genetic weaknesses, and the build of the cat.

Treatment Options for Cat Arthritis

You may be wondering what treatment options are available for cats with arthritis.

There are many treatment options available. Once diagnosed with arthritis, a veterinarian may recommend a number of treatment options ranging from acupuncture to medication to lifestyle changes to physical therapy and even stem cell therapy.

Cats with Arthritis can Live Long, Happy Lives

When treated by a veterinary professional, many cats can go on to have long, happy lives with minimal pain or discomfort from their arthritis.

Cats with arthritis do not typically see a decrease in their life span and, with treatment from a medical professional and some lifestyle changes (encouraging weight loss, changing the height of their food and water bowls, and providing an extra cushioned bed), they can live comfortably.

  1. “Arthritis and Nutrition for Cats,” VCA Canada,, accessed Jan. 22, 2024.

  2. “Osteoarthritis,” Banfield Pet Hospital,, 2019.

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