A study showed that 61% of cats over 6 years old had at least one cat osteoarthritis. By the age of 14, this number had become 82%. This is a disease that will plague almost all cats and will deteriorate with age. This is cat osteoarthritis (OA). But osteoarthritis is so common, why is the diagnosis rate extremely low?

What is Cat Osteoarthritis?

In fact, in life we all hear more or less of “Osteoarthritis”, but what exactly causes Osteoarthritis and what is the mechanism? In a normal joint, a certain gap is maintained between the two bones, and the synovial fluid and cartilage layer provide lubrication and cushioning. The bones must move smoothly and freely, relying on this smooth “mat”. However, with age or some trauma factors, the articular cartilage is gradually lost, and the lubricating effect of synovial fluid is gradually reduced, and you will begin to feel pain and inconvenience.

Causation of Cat Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a complex joint inflammation. The main reason is to buffer the normal cartilage of the joints from degeneration and wear, which eventually leads to inflammation, which makes the cat feel uncomfortable, persistent pain and secondary lesions of surrounding tissues. Osteoarthritis may be primary (there is no obvious cause of the disease, and inflammation may be caused by mechanically “wear”) or secondary to joint damage or abnormality. Rheumatoid arthritis is more common, which is a Osteoarthritis caused by an autoimmune disease.

Symptoms of Cat Osteoarthritis

Cats are very insignificant about their pain. In addition, after suffering from arthritis, cats will limit their activities to minimize joint pain, which makes it more difficult for us to find cat arthritis. But by observing some of the subtle changes in their daily lives, we can still find some “clues”.

Discomfort: reluctant, hesitant or refuse to jump; the height of the jump is lower than the original; the movement up and down the stairs is slow and difficult; the stiff legs especially after just waking up or resting for a period of time, occasionally obvious lameness occurs ; It is very difficult to use a litter box.

Decreased activity: The time to sleep or rest has increased significantly; infrequent play or walking in the room; the position of rest or sleep has changed and these positions are easier to reach than the original position; reduced interaction and play with the owner or other animals.

Change the habit of combing hair: reduce the frequency of combing hair; messy hair (because of lack of combing); lack of activity and grinding claws lead to long and irregular nails.

Character changes: more irritable when the owner is touching or getting along; obviously irritable when contacting other animals; staying alone for long time.

Treatment of Cat Osteoarthritis

Unfortunately, once osteoarthritis is present in a joint, there is no way to cure the disease. However, there are some options to make your cat more comfortable and maintain a good quality of life.


Medication can be very effective in controlling the pain and inflammation associated with Osteoarthritis, but can only be used under the direct supervision of a veterinarian, because any drug has side effects. The most commonly used class of drugs used to treat arthritis pain are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Many different NSAIDs are licensed for different breeds of cats, but the safety of these drugs varies, and special attention is required when choosing long-term treatment drugs. In order to minimize the risk of side effects, drugs should be carefully selected and used carefully (use the lowest effective dose for individual cats).

Improve Environment:

The core of environmental improvement is to change the environment in a variety of ways to help the sick cat maintain the quality of life after the disease. Things to consider include: use a soft and comfortable cat litter and place it in a quiet, easy to reach, and warm location. The closed cat litter can make old cats feel warm and safe. Place some steps or passages where the cat needs to jump to reach, so that the cat can reach those positions more easily; add at least one litter box in the room, so that the cat can reach the litter box more conveniently at any position in the room, And the height of at least one side of these litter boxes is relatively low, which is convenient for cats to enter; help cats to comb their hair and trim their nails.

Diet Change

Obesity or overweight can exacerbate arthritis, and weight control is very important for older cats. So try to avoid feeding cats high-calorie, high-protein foods. Several dietary supplements and diets containing essential fatty acids (EFAs) and glycosaminoglycans (such as glucosamine and chondroitin) designed to reduce inflammation can be used in cats with arthritis. These ingredients are the basic building blocks of articular cartilage Part”, aimed at improving cartilage quality. These diets and dietary supplements are usually very safe to use (but should only be used when recommended by a veterinarian), and their effects are relatively mild, making them ideal for cats with early arthritis and prevention.

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