Arthritis or joint pain can result from a number of causes. If your cat has had an injury or sudden infection it is often obvious that they are unwell and in pain.
Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease occurs where the normal cartilage that cushions the joint degenerates and is worn away resulting in inflammation, discomfort, on-going damage and secondary changes in and around the joint. This can lead to chronic pain.
Cats are particularly good at disguising chronic pain and it is not that easy to tell if your cat is affected. There are a few things to look out for that might indicate to you that your cat needs help.
Reluctance to jump, difficulty in going up or down stairs, reluctance to climb into the litter tray, stiffness and difficulty in going through the cat flap.
More time resting or sleeping, less willing to interact or play.
Matted scruffy coat, sometimes overgrooming painful joints.
More irritable or grumpy when stroked, spending more time alone, avoiding interaction with people or other animals.
Whilst some of these signs can be due to other causes of ill health, it is important not to ignore any changes in your cat’s behaviour. We often ascribe these signs as, “just old age”. Remember your cat might be requiring help for pain- there are many safe forms available from your vet.