How Can You Tell If a Cat Has Arthritis?

Like humans and other animals, cats can develop osteoarthritis, which will cause them considerable discomfort and can make life difficult. Luckily for arthritic felines, recent advances in stem cell therapy have meant that a treatment is now available that can bring relief to them, helping them live a more comfortable life. It works by using stem cells to repair damaged joints, and the treatment itself is quick and simple.

But spotting if your cat might have arthritis isn't always easy in the first place, particularly when their activity levels may have dropped significantly with age anyway. Combined with the fact that cats have a tendency to try and hide weakness, it can be a challenge to notice the signs. Here are some key things to look out for.

Reluctance to move

A sleepy cat will normally want to stay in one place and rest, but when there's a real reluctance to do very much, it could suggest arthritis. Keep an eye on cats who no longer respond to things like shaking a box of food, or who stay in a single place for most of the day.

Difficulty reaching heights

Cats enjoy the vantage point provided by high-up places, and they'll often sleep at heights if they can. Arthritis makes jumping and climbing difficult and painful for cats, so they may begin to favour the ground level, sleeping on the floor instead.

Poor toilet habits

There are a lot of conditions that can cause a cat's litter tray to slip, so taken on its own, this symptom isn't necessarily pointing to arthritis. However, look out especially for cats going to the toilet close to the litter tray; it could be that they find it painful to step into it, but they're doing the best they can.

Restless sleeping

This one is often a dead giveaway since cats usually sleep soundly with just a little whisker and ear twitching. A cat that's shifting around frequently during sleep, unable to settle in one position, might be doing so because they're uncomfortable, and arthritis is a likely source of this discomfort.

Lapsed grooming

Cats are normally thorough, regular groomers, but there are several reasons this might change. With arthritis, a combination of difficulty twisting and reaching their whole bodies with an overall feeling of discomfort will often stop a cat from cleaning properly. Cats should have a good grooming session after they eat, so pay particular attention at mealtimes.