Mobility problems in cats are more common than you think with 80% of cats over 12 years of age suffering from arthritis.
One of the reasons joint problems occur is when cartilage wears away faster than it can be replaced. When it wears away, joints become swollen and painful thus creating difficulties with mobility.
If your cat has joint problems, the first thing you’ll notice are lifestyle and behavioural changes such as a reduced ability or willingness to jump up or down from heights, increased sleep, less interaction between you and your cat, difficulty going up or down stairs, problems negotiating the litter box, poor grooming and less purring.
Although young cats can suffer with joint problems, it’s much more common in older cats, because there are changes in the cartilage that occur with age.
Some breeds of cats may be more likely to develop joint problems through imperfect joints. For example Persian, Siamese and Himalayan cats may develop hip dysplasia.
Overweight and obese cats may have more severe problems because of the increased stress on affected joints.
Cats are very agile pets that enjoy climbing and jumping. Over time, the stress that is put on their joints may contribute to deterioration in cartilage. Additional stress can be caused by the trauma from accidents.
Other factors can contribute to joint problems in cats such as inflammation and infection in the joints and bony fractures affecting the joints.
Treatment is available to help ensure your cat is more comfortable in the form of medication and also special prescription diets. If you are concerned about your cat, talk to your vet about possible treatment options.