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Poor Achy Kitty - Arthritis in Cats

Did you know arthritis is very common in cats? About 60% of cats over 6 years old are affected, and by the time they are over 12 years old 90% are affected. (Ouch!) Those aren't good odds. Arthritis is a very painful and common chronic condition.

The good news is we can help!

What are signs or arthritis is cats?

First, please remember that cats are masters at hiding signs of illness. They will not limp or cry out in pain. You need to look for more subtle signs like:

Hesitating when climbing up and down stairs - taking 1 stair at a time when they used to just fly up and down.

Not jumping up or down on things

Not as playful as before


Decreased socializing with you

Urinating or defecating out of the litter pan

Not grooming well - unable to reach certain spots

Flinching when being petted

Stiffness when rising


Licking or chewing a certain joint

How do you diagnose arthritis in cats?

During a physical exam the Veterinarian will palpate the joints for pain, crepitance (bone grinding on bone) and check the range of motion in the joint. The Veterinarian may also feel thickening or swelling of the joint.


What causes arthritis in cats?

Many different things are associated with arthritis in cats:


Abnormal joint development

Previous injury

Previous surgery (declawing or other orthopedic surgery)

What can be used to treat arthritis in cats?

Since arthritis is a chronic condition there is no cure. The goal of treatment is to control the pain and maintain a good quality of life. Unfortunately, kitty cannot get a joint replacement yet. Arthritis treatment is multimodal, meaning we usually need to combine more than 1 type of treatment unless it is a mild case that can be managed with Nutraceuticals alone.

Weight loss - if needed


I always begin treatment with nutraceuticals like Glucosamine Supplements:

Cosequin for cats - sprinkle the powder in canned food

Dasuquin for cats - sprinkle powder in canned food

Antinol (Green lipped muscle)


Duralactin for cats - sprinkle powder in canned food

Glycoflex III soft chews

Medications - Please don't reach into your medicine cabinet and give your kitty any human pain products like Tylenol, Aspirin, Ibuprofen or other Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. These are toxic to cats and will kill them

We are somewhat limited to medications that can safely be used in cats chronically for pain. Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs like Meloxicam and Onsior are not safe to give cats chronically. They can cause kidney failure.

Gabapentin - can be mixed into a flavored liquid that is easy to administer.

Steroids (Prednisone or Prednisolone) - not safe for chronic use either.

Tramadol - can be mixed into a flavored liquid that is easy to administer.

Holistic Treatments

I have great success using a combination of Nutraceuticals and Holistic treatments. Holistic treatments have no side effects! Types of Holistic treatments include:


Laser Therapy (Photobiomodulation)

Chinese Herbs


Therapeutic Massage

Assisi Loop or Loop Lounge - Non-pharmaceutical Anti-Inflammatory Device

Belle having Laser therapy with Dr Judy

Annie having an Assisi Loop treatment

Captain Jack having Acupuncture with Dr Judy

Things you can do to help at home

Soft padded bedding

Non-skid floor surfaces - throw rugs with non-skid backing, yoga matts

Low sided litter pans - kitten or ferret litter pans

Have a litter pan on each floor of the home

Ramps, stairs or stools to make it easier to jump on high furniture


Good! Kitty can live a comfortable, happy life!

For more information on Acupuncture, Laser and Assisi Loop please check out our website -

Judy L. McBeth DVM, CVA

Certified in Veterinary Acupuncture

Fox Ridge Veterinary Clinic

130 Fifth Street

Oswego, IL 60543

(630) 859-0471


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