Keeping your cat's joints feline great at all ages
How to support your senior cat’s joints
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Secret signs of feline joint stiffness

Cats are best known for their grace and poise – often jumping around the house with almost unbelievable ease.

But what happens when these nimble creatures start to experience joint stiffness?


Joint Care PLUS for Cats

Joint Care PLUS for Cats

  • Designed to support older and stiffer cats
  • Helps keep your cat active and mobile
  • Sprinkle over food or feed by hand

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Joint stiffness in cats is more common than you might imagine. In fact, 60% of cats face changes to their joint health by age 6, and this rises to 90% by age 12.

However, because joint stiffness can be hard to spot in cats, it means they don’t always get the level of support they deserve.

We recently caught up with cat behaviourist Lucy Hoile and TV vet Dr Scott Miller to chat about the secret signs of feline joint stiffness and what cat owners can do to help.

Why would feline joint stiffness be ‘secret’?

Unfortunately, feline joint stiffness is often difficult to detect precisely because cats are evolutionarily adapted to playing it cool and being aloof. As solitary creatures by comparison to pack animals like dogs, cats have a lot to lose in the wild by showing that they’re in any way slow, troubled, or uncomfortable.

Of course, this only explains the ancestral background of our favourite feline friends and why they hide things like joint stiffness. It certainly doesn’t imply that they don’t want your company.

“The biggest misconception is that cats are solitary animals and don’t want to spend much time around us because – actually – most cat owners realise quite quickly that that’s not the case,” says Lucy.

The different lifestyles of cats and dogs can also make feline joint stiffness harder to spot

As well as cats being naturally less prone to complaining than dogs, Dr Scott reveals why feline joint stiffness is more likely to be overlooked compared to canine joint stiffness.

“A cat is different to a dog in that you force a dog to go on a walk with you. In a lot of ways, they’re tied to you,” he says. “So, you’ll take your dog up the same hill you always have, and you’ll notice that maybe they get a little slower, but they’ll still come because they want to stick with you.”

Cats, by contrast, are more independent and manage their physical exercise routines more autonomously. Still, you should look out for changes in how much exercise they’re getting.

“When your cat decides to self-regulate their exercise, that will suggest that there’s something afoot – to pardon the pun,” says Dr Scott.

Dr Scott and Lucy Hoile holding a pack of YuMOVE Joint Care PLUS for Cats

What to look out for

Cats are masters of subtlety; they can disguise their discomfort with remarkable skill. However, close observation can reveal the secret signals of joint stiffness. Recognising these signs early will allow you to act swiftly in following up with your vet and helping to provide your cat with the support they need.


Joint Care PLUS for Cats

Joint Care PLUS for Cats

  • Designed to support older and stiffer cats
  • Helps keep your cat active and mobile
  • Sprinkle over food or feed by hand

See product


Here are some of the key warning signs to keep an eye out for.

Any changes to your feline friend’s usual behaviour

This might seem like a very broad or open-ended point, but it is key, nonetheless. Ultimately, cats are unique and characteristic creatures. Some are naturally aloof and independent, while others love playing with their humans.

But while every cat is different, you can be sure that any sudden change to your cat’s normal baseline behaviour is worth investigating. Subtle behavioural changes are often the only signs that your cat may be dealing with joint stiffness.

“It’s not about knowing a specific personality or a specific behavioural trait that would suggest discomfort – but that if there’s any change in your cat’s normal demeanour, then that could indicate that something isn’t quite right,” says Dr Scott.

“Just knowing your cat well and trusting yourself that you do is key. As a vet, I trust my clients implicitly that they spend 24 hours a day with their pets – or certainly a lot more than I do – so what they say matters.”

Always sleeping curled up in a ball

Cats often sleep curled up in a ball, but this could still be a warning sign, says Lucy.

“It’s quite normal for cats to sleep curled up in a little ball, but if that’s the only way they ever sleep, that might indicate that they’re sort of ‘uncomfortably resting’,” says Lucy. “Whereas with your happy, relaxed, and comfortable cats, you’ll often see them stretching, splayed out on the windowsill and so on.”

Toileting outside the litter tray, aggression, and struggling to reach favourite areas

It’s never pleasant if your cat starts toileting outside of the litter tray, but according to Lucy, it can be one of several signs that something’s wrong:

“Toileting outside of the tray is a massive sign that something’s wrong. Sudden aggression, too. And not accessing the high places – people will often say, “Oh, she used to love sitting on top of the kitchen cabinet or the fridge, but she doesn’t do it anymore.” She probably still wants to, but she can’t!”

Changes in grooming habits, becoming more unkempt

Cats are known for their meticulous grooming habits. If you notice your cat is grooming less frequently or with less vigour, it can be a sign that joint stiffness may be getting in the way of their usual beauty routine.

Changes in appetite and weight

If your cat is carrying extra weight, this inevitably puts more pressure on their joints. And if they’re experiencing joint stiffness, they may become less active and gain weight as a result. This can then make for a vicious circle and isn’t uncommon.

“We see a lot of cats that are dealing with obesity – and obesity can exacerbate changes to joints,’” says Dr Scott.

Being more reluctant or thoughtful before jumping up

If a cat who was previously an impulsive pouncer begins to ‘consider’ whether to jump up or not, you might take that as a sign of newfound emotional maturity. But it could also be a sign of greater physical maturity and stiffer joints, with the cat trying to weigh up whether it’s worth the effort or not.

Dr Scott Miller holding a cat

What to do about feline joint stiffness?

Here’s what you should do when you notice some of the telltale signs that your cat might be experiencing joint stiffness.

Consult with your vet immediately

Whenever you suspect your cat may be experiencing joint stiffness, your first step should always be to consult your vet. They’ll be able to give your cat a thorough physical examination, offer treatment if necessary, and recommend appropriate lifestyle modifications to help keep your cat leading the best and most active life possible.

If your cat is one of the many who kicks up a fuss about visiting the vet, Dr Scott has a tip to make transporting them easier.

“When you are getting your cat ready to go to a vet appointment, the most important thing is getting them acclimatised to whatever carrier they’ll be going in,” he says. “So, have the cat carrier in the room so they can investigate it before you try and get them into it. Maybe put some food and treats into it so they explore it.

‘But the top tip for me is that if you’re trying to get your cat into a basket and they’re unwilling just to walk in, then pick them up, turn the cage so it’s facing upwards, and lower them in rear-legs first.”

Lifestyle modifications, including steps for accessibility

Both Lucy and Dr Scott recommend modifying your cat’s home environment to make their favourite spots more accessible. These include:

  • Raising food and water bowls
  • Adding ramps, steps or shelves to give access to higher places
  • Ensuring your senior cat has comfortable, easily accessible sleeping areas

Give them YuMOVE Joint Care PLUS for Cats

A high-quality supplement, such as YuMOVE Joint Care PLUS for Cats, designed to support older and stiffer cats, can help keep your feline friend living their most active life.

Dr Scott notes that cats are more likely to be susceptible to joint stiffness from age six onwards. “Using supplements around that age – or even younger – will just mean they’re continuing to be as agile as possible,” he says.


Proactive care for feline joint health

Every cat deserves support in leading their most active life, for life. As a cat owner, that means you need to watch for changes in their behaviour so that you can take appropriate steps. Explore our feline joint care supplements today and get 50% off the first two months and 30% off after that.**

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