Stiffness is usually the result of pain in the joints. Sometimes it can be caused by an actual restriction of the joint, but more often than not it is because of pain. Certain conditions of the bones can also cause stiffness, as can some nervous conditions. By far the most common reason for stiffness is arthritis.

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joint. This can be caused by many different conditions. There are congenital conditions in which the joint is not formed properly. Developmental conditions can also lead to arthritis. Sometimes we see infectious arthritis, when bacteria have entered a joint. This can be the result of penetrating trauma, such as bite wounds, or surgery, or sometimes of an infection spreading through the blood.

The most common form of arthritis is the ‘wear and tear’ type of arthritis. Although there is often an initial cause for the arthritis to begin, by the time the cat is diagnosed as arthritic this original cause can not be established. Arthritis will lead to stiffness, reluctance to exercise, sometimes aggression, inappetance or a cracking sensation or sound as well.

Most cases of lameness can cause ‘stiffness’, especially if two or more legs are involved in the condition.

Some cases of stiffness are caused by conditions affecting the nervous system. In these cases there may also be weakness or an exaggerated tenseness of the muscles.

Stiffness can also be caused by abdominal pain and back pain.


This pet health article is for reference only.

If your pet is showing any symptoms or distress, and you suspect your pet is ill CONTACT YOUR VET IMMEDIATELY.