OSTEOARTHRITIS (OA), commonly known as degenerative arthritis, is a chronic disease and a frequent cause of pain in older cats. In fact, osteoarthritis (OA) has been reported to affect more than 90% of cats older than 10 years of age.
Pets have a limited ability to clearly communicate when they are experiencing pain, and often fail to exhibit obvious signs of pain such as limping or crying out. The recognition of feline arthritis can lead to life changing medical intervention which can help manage a cat’s chronic pain, but too often, the signs of chronic pain in cats are so subtle they can be missed. When early signs of pain are missed or dismissed as aging, then the inflammation associated with the arthritis continues to build, contributing to damage in the joint further increasing pain associated with arthritis.
With degenerative arthritis affecting so many older cats, tips to help owners identify if their cat is suffering from pain are key. These tips may help owners avoid overlooking or dismissing the less obvious signs of pain as merely signs of old age.
Clear signs, such as limping, are unlikely to be exhibited by cats with mild to moderate joint pain. It is more common to notice changes in:
- WHAT THE CATS DO or don’t do
- HOW THE CATS ACCOMPLISH their activities
- THE FREQUENCY that the cats carry out their routine activities
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING:
OBSERVE YOUR CAT’S BEHAVIOR
AND ACTIVITY LEVEL