Just like with humans, aging is a natural part of life for cats. In fact, our furry friends also experience a lot of the same age-related health conditions as we do, including arthritis. Pay attention to the signs that indicate whether or not your fluff ball has joint inflammation.
If you notice that your former bundle of energy simply isn't that active anymore, arthritis may just be the culprit. Observe your cat's daily routine. Sudden sedentary behavior can point to arthritis, especially if your pet has a history of active behavior, from chasing around toy balls all day to jumping from level to level on a cat tree. Also take note of any changes in sleeping patterns. Sleeping excessively also is a sign of the condition.
When a cat is suffering from arthritis, his body will give off an overall discomfort. If your sweet cat all of a sudden seems stiff and like he's lost the spring in his step, consider the possibility of arthritis. Arthritic cats come across as exhausted in general, without their natural former vigor and energy. If you're fondly recalling the days when your cat used to turn into a little pancake hiding under the refrigerator, understand that arthritis causes most flexibility and coordination to go out the window.
Although the myth goes that felines are "scaredy-cats," a lot of their classic behavior points more toward the word "daredevil." Cats will jump up anywhere, with practically no regard to the height. When a cat is behaving unusually cautiously about climbing, running and jumping around, it can be because his body is stiff, sore and telling him that it just isn't a wise idea. For example, if your cat used to leap up onto a high perch to look out the window at the birds, and suddenly refuses to do so, you may just have your answer.
Litter Box Problems
If you notice that your previously meticulous kitty is suddenly having bathroom accidents, don't get upset at him. The poor thing may be relieving himself on the floors of your home simply because maneuvering his body in and out of the box is too painful and uncomfortable. In these situations, a lower pan may do the trick.
Arthritic cats may also exhibit some changes in temperament. If your formerly cheerful feline is suddenly acting withdrawn and easily annoyed, it may be because the taxing physical aspects of the condition are taking a toll on his body -- and mood. Also look out for restless behavior -- think pacing all around the home with no apparent destination.
If you're worried that your beloved pet has arthritis, waste no time in scheduling him a veterinary appointment. The sooner you investigate the situation and figure out what is going on, the easier it will be for you to manage it. With a physical examination and possible X-rays, the doctor will be able to diagnose the situation and assist your kitty in finding suitable medication options, if necessary. Anti-inflammatory medicines are common for managing the discomfort, swelling and pain associated with feline arthritis.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.