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Mon-Fri: 8am -7.30pm | Sat: 8.30am - 4pm | Sun: 9.30am - 4pm
Our Clinic | North Road Veterinary Centre

Arthritis in Cats

As high as 90% of cats over 12 years of age have some form of arthritis.


Arthritis is the irreversible and progressive deterioration of joints that causes pain and a reduction in joint motion. It affects cats of all ages but predominantly pets >10 years of age. Winter months worsen the symptoms of arthritis.

It is often hard to tell if your cat is in pain. Common signs of arthritis to look for:

  • Stiffness
  • Hesitation to jump from heights
  • Poor landing from jumping
  • Sleeping more
  • Rough fur from poor grooming
  • Long nails from less movement
  • Change in behavior e.g. irritable


Arthritis management is based on:

  • Joint stabilisation
  • A controlled exercise that decreases joint strain and builds muscles to support joints such as walking on flat surfaces
  • Weight control
  • Diet control such as foods rich in Omega fatty acids such as veterinary prescription diets
  • Veterinary medicines for pain control, nutraceuticals and joint protective drugs such as injectable polysulfated glycosaminoglycans (PSGAG)


Tips to help manage pets with arthritis:

  • A warm environment, as colder weather can worsen symptoms
  • Placement of your cats bed away from cold draughts
  • Soft but firm bedding
  • Ramps onto the couch or bed so that it does not have to jump
  • Avoid stairs
  • Avoid slippery surfaces such as tiles
  • Regular grooming
  • Maintain parasite control
  • Cut its nails regularly
  • Weight loss to take excessive pressure off the joints - this should be gradual and managed by the clinic to avoid sudden weight loss
  • Avoid rough play
  • Litter tray with a lowered wall for easy access

If you are concerned your cat may be in pain, make an appointment to see one of our vets for an arthritis check and to discuss diagnosis and possible management options to help improve your cat's quality of life.

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