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Joint Pain In Cats

Joint Pain In CatsHey everyone! Dr. Olson and her sweet old cat Cheetoh are here today to talk about joint pain. We adopted Cheetoh 12 years ago and, at the time, I thought he was about 6-7 years old. That would make him 18-19 today but that doesn’t seem quite right so now I think he was only 3 at adoption.  (At this rate, his age when we got him will be about  -2 in a few years). So Mr. Cheetoh is about 15 and I think about his back and joints every day. The thing about cats is that they generally don’t limp from arthritis. When comparing to dogs, signs of arthritis in cats is much more subtle. The big things to watch for in cats are changes in their jumping behaviors and play. A cat should easily jump up on structures with no hesitation, and there should be a nice graceful arc when they are jumping down. If your cat sits on the ground, looks up at the table, and wiggles their back legs under them 2-3 times before finally making the jump, then they are painful. If your cat is sitting on the counter and ‘crawls’ down the side of the counter with their front legs to help get their front half as close to the ground as possible before jumping down, then they are painful. All cats, even old ones, should be interested in toys and playing. By interest I mean looking up and following a toy around the room with their eyes or getting up and physically interacting with it. If they are not doing this, then they are painful. If you think you have a painful cat, there are lots of things you can do for him/her such as glucosamine joint supplements, low dose anti-inflammatory pain medications, therapeutic laser treatments, and modifications around the house to help your cat get around more easily. For Cheetoh, I’ve started Dasuquin joint supplementation and we pick him up and place him on the desk where he eats when it’s meal time (however he has no problem jumping on our counter when he wants to steal a slice of pizza). He is still playing and fetching, so these changes seem to be working and we hope he’s around for another 15 years.