Though arthritis can occur at any age, it’s most often seen in cats when they’re older. Still, cats are less prone to develop arthritis than dogs and humans. Arthritis is a progressive disease involving inflammation of the joint. Traumatic arthritis and osteoarthritis are the most common types of arthritis seen in cats. Traumatic arthritis occurs as a result of sudden injury to a joint. This can happen if a cat is hit by a car, takes a fall, or is in a cat fight. Osteoarthritis is a chronic, degenerative disease of aging that often occurs in the elbow and shoulder. Years of wear and tear on a joint can destroy the cartilage that protects the joint.
Symptoms of feline arthritis can include stiffness, limping, lameness, reluctance to move or be handled, and irritability. These symptoms can appear worse or more pronounced in damp or cold weather or after a cat has been resting for a period of time. Though there’s no way to prevent arthritis from occurring, early treatment can help. Treatment can include weight maintenance, joint massage, and warm compresses. If you suspect that your cat may have arthritis, have her seen by your veterinarian.