Cats are born agile ... in fact, 'extremely agile'. They are listed among the animals who have an athletic lifestyle. However, cats―as agile they are―are also prone to develop several ailments of the joints, ligaments, and bones. These may result from accidental damage or wear and tear of everyday life.
Arthritis in Cats
In cats, arthritis can either be caused in response to an injury to a joint as a result of a fight with another cat, an awkward fall, or an accident, or as the eventual result of a joint failure―in which case it is known as osteoarthritis.
A case of arthritis caused due to an injury is not considered a serious problem, as the symptoms begin to subside as the injury heals over time. However, if some serious accident is behind the development of the condition―wherein there are chances of fractures to the bones within the joint―then surgery may be required to fix the problem.
As far as the condition of osteoarthritis is concerned, it is a far more serious issue as compared to injury. However, it does depend on the underlying cause of the condition and its severity. An important point to take a note of, is that obese cats are more vulnerable to suffer from severe symptoms, than those who aren't.
As I said, cats are born agile, and when your cat stops displaying its agility, that means something is bothering it. Reduced motion is one of the most important indications of feline arthritis. You may notice that your pet starts avoiding the stairs and take short hops, or moves unusually slowly. To put it differently, your pet may stop doing all its jumping, climbing, running, scratching stuffs, when it is affected by arthritis.
Another pronounced symptoms of the condition is limping. You are more likely to ignore it initially, as it is not so prominent. However, with time, the limping will worsen and become obvious. Try to notice your cat's walk after it has rested, especially in the morning. It may limp more during these times. However, after it has moved about for a few minutes or so, the limping would wear off, as activity reduces the stiffness in the limbs. During colder months, this limping only gets worse.
It may sound strange, but arthritis can also manifest itself into certain psychological changes in your cat's behavior. Your pet may avoid getting petted, touched, stroked, or brushed, and may exhibit an irritable behavior. Mood changes such as these, are common indications of cats showing that they are not feeling well.
Sleeping more than usual and being lethargic all the time are some more symptoms to watch out for. Poor feeding, decreased activity, and lack of interest in their favorite toy also hint at the likelihood of arthritis in felines.
Treatment of this condition involves anti-inflammatory medication, some healthy changes in the diet, and attention to exercise. When all these conservative treatment plans fail, surgery might be the only way out―especially in the case of osteoarthritis.
Disclaimer: This CatAppy article is for informative purposes only and does not serve as a replacement for an expert's advice.