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Your caring local Vet and friendly team
Hampton park doggie wash for all pets
Serving the community for over 20 years
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Open Mon - Fri: 8am to 8pm Sat: 9am to 3pm | Hospital Address: Cnr Somerville Rd & Outlook Dr Hampton Park 3976

Jun 19, 2019

What if They’re Not 'Just Getting Older?'

Is your cat getting a bit older, and you’ve noticed that they seem to be starting to slow down? Perhaps their annoying habit of jumping up on the bench when you’re cooking dinner seems to be disappearing? Or they’re spending less time with you and more time sleeping?

The sad thing is that our pets cat get a raw deal. Whilst we are average at best at recognising  signs of arthritis in dogs, our cats are often ignored as the signs are subtle.

80% of pets over the age of 6 years have x-ray evidence of arthritis.

Regularly mistaken for ‘just getting older,’ these are often the first signs of disease starting to develop.

Inflammation and swelling of the joints (arthritis)  is common in our older pets, and the pain it causes when they move often means our pets start to move more slowly.

There’s plenty we can do to help control the pain, but the first step is to spot the signs and bring your cat to the vet for a health check. I’m going to help you spot the early warning signs!

Signs are subtle. Don’t expect your pet to be crying in pain.


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Meet Mr Biggs! He owns Neda, one of our Customer Care Team. Mr Biggs comes from the UK. We saw him for a sore back a few weeks ago. 

Are They Slowing Down?

Are they slow to stand up, or reluctant to stand up at all?

First thing in the morning and after a nap are often where the signs are noticed first, as it takes time for the joints to ‘warm up.’

Winter is often worse than warm summer weather for pets with arthritis.  

Are they Sleeping More and Playing Less?

Cats who are sore with arthritis will often sleep more than they used to, as moving hurts too much.

They are often less interested in playing with you, or coming over for pats.

Sleeping a lot also means they are likely to put on extra weight, which makes it harder on their joints and more painful to move.

This becomes a vicious cycle, as the less they exercise the more weight they put on, the more painful it is to exercise, and so on.  

Have They Changed The Way They Walk?

Watch your pet as they walk around.

Do they walk with a limp? This can be as subtle as keeping one foot on the ground a split second longer than the other, or as obvious as holding the sore leg off the ground.

Also look for the length of the step they take with each foot. Is one step shorter than the others?

This can also be quite difficult to see. You may also notice that they lean further forward or backwards when they walk or stand, which means they’re trying to keep as much weight as possible off their front or back legs.

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Are They Starting to Get Lazy?

Do they ask to be lifted up onto the couch when they used to just jump up themselves?

Maybe they’re now avoiding higher surfaces completely? Maybe they’re demanding their water from the tap instead of drinking it from a bowl?

While it can seem like they’re just being lazy or annoying, they are often just trying to avoid actions that now cause them pain.

Do Their Bones Rattle and Click When They Move?

Do you sometimes hear clunking and clicking when they walk, as if a clanking skeleton has walked into the room when they move? Arthritis means that the surface inside the joint isn’t as smooth as it should be and the lubrication inside the joint isn’t enough to stop the two bones from grinding together. This sometimes makes a noise that you can hear.

How Can You Help Them?

Now that you know how to spot signs of arthritis, the first step is to get them booked in with your vet. There’s lots we can do to help your cat and control arthritic pain.

The golden rule of arthritis management is to act early. Early detection means successful long term treatment.

If we wait until our pets are ricketty and have lost severe amounts of muscle, whilst we can help, the results are not as favourable as treating early.

From weight control, to exercise, to diet and medical treatment, we will be able to put together a personalised plan for your pet. Don’t let them suffer  - ask us for help today.


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