Many cats with arthritis are not limping. For our feline friends lameness is only one of the signs of pain that are often subtle and difficult to notice. Before they can offer the proper arthritis treatment and relief to their cats, the owners should learn to recognize the clinical manifestations of osteoarthritis sometimes also called degenerative joint disease:
Change in temperament is common, the older cat may become depressed, anorectic or aggressive when handled or simply act cranky;
Loss of weight because of anorexia but also because the older cat cannot access an elevated feeding site on a regular basis;
Accidents outside the litter box because the older cat with arthritis cannot climb into the box;
Reluctance to move, especially up and down the stairs;
Overgrowth of the claws as the cats cannot use the scratching post;
The fur may become dull and matted because the older cat can no longer groom him or herself;
Difficulty to jump on a chair or the back of the couch;
Lameness and reaction if the affected area is manipulated or simply touched.
A veterinarian can confirm the diagnostic with a radiographic examination.