Cerebellar Hypoplasia Cats & Joint Pain: The Basics
A while back, Lauren asked an excellent question on the CH Cats and Kittens Facebook page. Essentially she wondered, “Does anyone know if CH cats are more prone to joint problems as they age?”
It’s something I’ve been wondering about on and off for a while, too, and I’m glad she really made me sit down and think about it. Like her Mimosa, my kitties aren’t exactly the most graceful and can fall pretty hard – even if, especially if, they land on all fours.
So are our CH cats more likely to get joint pain like arthritis? I decided to look into it.
First off, what are we talking about?
What exactly is arthritis / joint pain?
Throughout life a cat’s normally smooth cartilage surfaces of the bones begin to erode. The cartilage is important because it acts as a buffer or cushion between bone surfaces. When it becomes damaged, the body tries to repair it, but the new surface may be irregular or incomplete, which can cause pain by itself let alone the additional inflammation that can occur when the bones touch.
This condition is known by many names, including degenerative joint disease (DJD), arthritis and osteoarthritis.
What causes joint pain?
OK, so this is the big question, right? Many things can contribute to and cause joint pain, including:
Age: Arthritis is more common in middle-aged and older cats, as joints naturally degenerate throughout life.
Injury: Joints that have been injured in the past are more prone to becoming arthritic later on. Plus, joint dislocation or an infection at the joint can also increase its chances of having arthritis.
This is likely the one CH cat parents should be most concerned with, and some vets say rightly so. Even trama early in life like falling off a sofa, falling down stairs and the like may lead to issues later in life. If possible, try to CH cat-proof your home to keep your cat safe.
Obesity: Weight can also play a major role in joint pain. Overweight cats can be especially prone to joint pain since the excessive weight places greater strain on the joints.
Similarly, poor nutrition, like high calorie carbohydrate-based diets, can contribute to cartilage defects.
Birth defects: Some congenital abnormalities, like hip dysplasia, can increase a cat’s chances of having arthritis.
Which joints are impacted most often?
Large joints in the body, like the shoulder, elbow, hip and ankle are most frequently affected. That said, all joints can be affected, such as the spine.
How many cats get arthritis?
Now this is the answer that really shocked me. Studies have actually been done on this, and researchers found out that at least 30% of all felines 8-years-old and older suffer from some degree of joint pain. And quite honestly, it could be more than that.
Some believed that cats were less likely to suffer from arthritis than other species, but as we know, cats are pretty good at hiding their pains and health issues. Keep checking back over the next few days to learn the signs of arthritis in a cat.