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Treating Cat Back Pain

Just like their canine counterparts, cats are also susceptible to back pain and injury.  It can be difficult to tell if your cat is in pain, unless you know the signs. Their signs and display of discomfort are very similar to that of dogs. It is important to look out for changes in energy level, posture as well as temperament in your cat, as well as looking out for any changes in how they are moving. Changes in these different areas could all be signs of back pain.

Causes of Your Cat’s Sore Back

There are many reasons that a cat can be experiencing back pain, from injury to old age. 

Feline infectious peritonitis is a feline specific infection that can inflame the spinal cord and cause impairment to tissue and nervous system. Here are a few of the most common causes for feline spinal pain:

Common Feline Back Problems and Spinal Conditions


Intervertebral Disk Disease is a degenerative disc condition that causes a cat’s spinal disks to rupture. Cats with IVDD experience sudden and severe back pain and hind leg paralysis. Paralyzed cats may require a feline mobility aid such as a cat wheelchair.

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Spinal Fracture and Trauma

Spinal fracture in cats is most often caused by a traumatic event such as being hit by a car. A damaged spinal cord can leave a cat unable to use their hind legs and may lead to permanent paralysis. Other signs of a feline spinal fracture can include curvature of the spine and severe back pain. Surgery is often necessary to prevent further damage to the spinal cord.


Spondylosis is a progressive spinal disease that causes bony spurs to form on a cat’s spine. These bone spurs can grow large enough to bridge across the intervertebral discs, causing instability, inflexibility, and back pain. 

Feline Lymphoma

Lymphoma is the most common form of cancer in cats. Because the lymphoid tissue runs throughout the body, feline lymphoma can occur in many different body parts including the GI tract, neck, and organs. 


Discospondylitis is an infection that occurs between the vertebrae of the spine. Although less common in cats than dogs, discospondylitis can cause back pain that worsens over time. 

Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Spinal Muscular Atrophy symptoms can show in Maine coon cats as young as three months. Cats with SMA experience muscle tremors, unusual posture, and struggle to control their motor skills resulting in an unusual gait. Although not necessarily painful, the spinal condition does impact a cat’s mobility and is a progressive condition. 

Osteoarthritis in Cats

paralyzed cat walks in cat wheelchair

Osteoarthritis impacts 90% of senior cats with chronic pain. Cats with spinal arthritis find it uncomfortable to twist and move their back which makes grooming themselves a difficult task. If your cat is resistant to grooming their hind end (lower back and hips) they are likely experiencing lower back pain. 

Chronic pain in cats often goes unnoticed and is a challenge to diagnose. Cat’s are masters at hiding their pain and most often the only indication that a cat is in pain is a change in behavior. Behavior changes such as a reluctance to get up on furniture, jump up on the counter, and decreased grooming habits are often the first signs of feline back pain. 

Cat Back Pain Solutions

Finding the right solution for your cat’s back pain depends entirely on their diagnosis. Although surgical repair may be recommended for the most severe back issues, other conditions may require crate rest and rehabilitation. Here are a few non-surgical solutions to help a cat with a bad back.

Cat Wheelchair

A cat wheelchair is necessary for many feline back problems. Conditions that impact the spinal column and nerves often lead cats to struggle to stand and walk on their own without assistance. A cat wheelchair gives cats the support they need to walk, stand up, and play. Cats can walk on all four paws while in a wheelchair, which makes it an important part of your cat’s rehabilitation.

Cat wheelchair for handicapped cat
Walkin’ Wheels Cat Wheelchair
drag bag for paralyzed cat
Walkin’ Drag Bag

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