Reader Question: What could the issue be if my cat is having trouble jumping up onto furniture?

Question: My female cat, Sadie is 8.5 years old and weighs about 14 pounds.  Lately, she has been having trouble jumping up on to furniture; she has actually missed a couple of times.  I have been concerned about her joints, about a year ago and took her to the vet about it, and she didn’t couldn’t find anything after checking her joints.  I do give her “Hip and Joint” cat chews, two a day.  What could this problem stem from: bad joints, or maybe a weight problem?  I can tell this is affecting her confidence in jumping on to things.  What do you suggest?

Thank you,
Ms. Laurel B.

Dear Laurel,

It would be unusual, but not unheard of, for a cat this young to have signs of arthritis.  Most cats with arthritis are over ten years of age.  As for her weight, it’s not possible for me to say whether 14 lbs. is too heavy or not without examining her.  I suspect if this was a weight problem, your vet would have mentioned it at the time she was examined.   You said that Sadie was examined a year ago.  A lot can change in a year, so you should consider having her joints re-assessed.  The hip-and-joint chews probably contain glucosamine and chondroitin, two supplements that have been shown to be beneficial in some cats with arthritic joints, but again, I suspect this isn’t arthritis.  If your vet says that your cat is an appropriate weight, then it may be difficult to determine why your cat has missed a few of her jumps.  While most cats age very gracefully, a few cats will become noticeably less agile as they age.  My own cat, Crispy, lost her ability to consistently jump up on the couch and the bed when she hit middle age, and she was perfectly healthy.  I may be that your cat is simply getting less spry as she ages.