Authored by: Dr. Lindsey, DVM
Cats are so good at masking pain, therefore, joint discomfort in cats can be difficult for owners to notice. The signs can very subtle. According to an article from VCA, “about 90% of cats over the age of 10 years experience joint discomfort in at least one joint.”
Some joint discomfort signs an owner might notice in their cat- difficulty getting up and down, problems with jumping, difficulty going up or down stairs, walking stiffly, difficulty getting in and out of the litter box, not grooming, or aggression when being touched in certain areas of their body. Veterinarians can spot joint discomfort by the history, physical exam findings, and likely x-rays. Painfreecats.org has a questionnaire that can help owners identify if their cat may be in discomfort.
Joint discomfort can’t be cured but there are several things we can do to manage it. Supplements, diet, prescription medications, acupuncture, laser therapy, and massage are a few things veterinarians may recommend to help with the pain associated with joint discomfort. A few things I have done at home for my own aging cats are: raised up their food and water dishes, made sure they have plenty of soft, comfy beds, got a litter box that is low on one side, and a step stool for getting on and off higher areas like window sills and beds.
Pet Honesty recently came out with Wild Alaskan Salmon oil for cats which contains EPA and DHA Omega-3. It can help support joint health as well as immune and heart health. It maintains a healthy and glossy coat too! Ask your veterinarian if the Pet Honesty products are right for your pet.
Dr. Lindsey graduated from Colorado State University in 2009 and works in general practice, shelter medicine, and more recently as a civilian contractor veterinarian for the Army. She is also certified in acupuncture and resides in Palm Springs, CA.