It’s a misconception that cats get out of all sorts of scrapes just fine.
Think about how athletic even the laziest of lap cats is, leaping fences and walls, running round the house at 90 miles an hour, springing onto and off of furniture. There’s no telling what kind of mischief cats get up to while their owners aren’t looking.
I have 2 cats, both aged 10 now, and tend to treat them as and when they need it, which works out to be about 3 or 4 times a year.
You should get your cat checked over by a vet if they become withdrawn, unusually aggressive or have some dramatic personality change, as this can be an indicator of pain or disease.
However there are times when we look at how our cats move or sit and think about whether they could benefit from a treatment.
Cats should hold their tails up when they walk, I see lots of cats walking with lowered tails before treatment, who then revert to carrying their tails high again after treatment. This can be a sign of tight hind quarter muscles. Of course if your cat is dragging their tail or it seems limp with no reaction when handled then it’s best to get a vet to check this over first.
Repeatedly sitting lop-sided can also be a sign of musculoskeletal issues, as can sitting slouched with the weight over the front legs and head lowered.
So, what does it matter if you see these signs in your cat?
Musculoskeletal injuries cause the cat the place more weight on an unaffected limb, even when the original injury (whether that be a scrape, bruise, strained muscle, tendon or ligament) is healed the cat will continue to move in this way. This sets up a pattern of compensation within the body. Over time the compensating limb will tire or the cat may begin to get an overuse injury such as a muscle strain in the compensating limb, so the cat compensates again, by placing more weight onto a different limb, but because the brain thinks the first limb still hurts, it puts even more strain on the new compansating limb. Over time this pattern can develop in the body and cause lameness, or even lead to arthritis in the overloaded limb.