Written by Karan French

Updated: May 15, 2024

What are the Best Cat Foods for Joint Health?

Updated: May 15, 2024

Cats, just like humans, can experience joint issues such as arthritis as they age. Providing the right nutrients early on can help support joint health in cats. 

Look for foods that contain the following ingredients:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These can help reduce inflammation and support joint function. Sources include fish oil and certain types of algae.
  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin: These are commonly used supplements for joint health in both humans and animals. They can help maintain the structure and function of joints.
  • Antioxidants: Vitamins C and E, as well as other antioxidants, can help reduce oxidative stress in the joints.
  • Protein: High-quality protein is essential for maintaining muscle mass, which in turn supports the joints. Ensure your cat's diet includes a good source of protein.
  • Vitamin D: This vitamin is important for calcium absorption and bone health. Adequate levels of vitamin D can contribute to overall joint health.
  • Manganese: This mineral is involved in the formation of cartilage and bone. Ensure your cat's diet provides an appropriate amount of manganese.

It’s important to note that before making any changes to your cat’s diet or adding any supplements to their food, you should consult with your veterinarian because they can provide guidance based on your cat's specific health needs, age, and take into account any existing conditions. 

On this page we’ll share the Cat Food Advisor’s most recommended foods to support your cat’s joint health, as well as answer the most frequently asked questions we get about cats with arthritis.

  • Orijen Guardian Senior with Wild-Caught Salmon, Duck & Chicken

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    Highly Recommended

    Orijen Guardian Senior 7+ Years Grain-Free is a dry food which receives the Cat Food Advisor’s highest rating 5 stars.

    It is one of eight products in a range produced by Champion Petfoods, a Canadian company.  

    Orijen Guardian Senior 7+ Years Grain-Free food derives the bulk of its protein from salmon, an oily marine and freshwater fish not only high in protein but also omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every cat to sustain life.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a dry recipe containing 44.4% protein, 16.7% fat and 30.9% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 38%.

    Orijen dry cat food is highly recommended as the protein content comes mainly from high-quality meat sources. Each recipe in the range is tailored to meet the nutritional needs of cats at different stages of life and to support particular health conditions including joint & bone health.

    Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Orijen (Dry) range here
    Main Ingredients Salmon, duck, chicken, turkey, flounder
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-free
    Protein Percentage 53.3%
    AAFCO Standards Adult maintenance
    Best For Cats and senior cats

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    Sample buyer review...

    "I bought Orijen Dry Senior Cat Food, Grain Free, Premium, High Protein, Fresh & Raw Animal Ingredients, and Guardian Senior for my cat. It is a quality product and my cat enjoyed it very much. "

  • Tiki Cat Special: Mobility - Chicken & Tuna in Broth

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    Recommended

    Tiki Cat Special Mobility: Chicken & Tuna Recipe in Broth is a wet food which receives the Cat Food Advisor’s second highest rating 4.5 stars.

    It is one of five foods in this range by Tiki Cat, a company founded in 2005 by husband and wife, Christine and Robert Hackett. Christine had previously worked in research and development for PetCo.

    Tiki Cat Special Mobility: Chicken & Tuna Recipe in Broth derives the bulk of its protein from chicken, which is naturally rich in the 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life. 

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 55.6% protein, 27.8% fat and 8.7 carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 50%.

    Tiki Cat is known for its high-quality ingredients and this Special range is no different with non-GMO ingredients and high-protein content. Each mousse is formulated to help support healthy skin, coat, good digestion or maintain a healthy weight. 

    Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Tiki Cat Special (Wet) range here
    Main Ingredients Chicken broth, chicken, tuna, dried egg product, sunflower oil
    Texture Wet
    Type Mousse
    Protein Percentage 55.6%
    AAFCO Standards Adult maintenance
    Best For Cats and senior cats

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    Sample buyer review...

    "I feed a semi-feral older cat at my back door, who has trouble with crunchy food, and even sometimes pate, so searching for alternatives I came across Special function. I bought 4 packs and “Lucky” as my daughter has named him – has licked the dish spotless each time – he has never done that before. Amazing! So now I am also serving it to our indoor 15-year-old cat Mitsy. And yes, she likes it also. "

  • Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Senior Deboned Chicken & Chicken Meal

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    Recommended

    Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Senior Deboned Chicken & Chicken Meal is a dry food which receives the Cat Food Advisor’s rating 4 stars.

    It is one of six products in a range made by Wellness Pet Company which also consists of Wellness Natural Pet Food, Old Mother Hubbard by Wellness, WHIMZEES by Wellness, Sojos, Eagle Pack and Holistic Select.

    Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Senior Deboned Chicken & Chicken Meal recipe derives the bulk of its protein from chicken, which is naturally rich in all 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a dry recipe containing 43.3% protein, 12.2% fat and 36.4% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 28%.

    Wellness Complete Health Senior (grain-free) is a dry cat food made from natural ingredients and contains glucosamine for hip and joint support.

    Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free (Dry) range here
    Main Ingredients Deboned chicken, chicken meal, peas, herring meal, potatoes
    Texture Dry
    Type Kibble
    Protein Percentage 43.3%
    AAFCO Standards Adult maintenance
    Best For Cats & senior cats

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    Sample buyer review...

    "Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free dry food has worked well for my crew of 15 kitties. They enjoy the flavor of chicken and I like the bonus of the Wellflex system to help maintain healthy hips and joints. I love that this product is made in the USA too! "

  • Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d + j/d Chicken

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    Recommended

    Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d + j/d Chicken is a dry food which receives the Cat Food Advisor’s rating 4 stars.

    It is one of 22 foods in this product range by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, an international pet food brand, known for selling scientifically developed foods.

    Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d + j/d Chicken recipe derives the bulk of its protein from chicken, which is naturally rich in the 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life. 

    The dry matter label analysis reveals a dry recipe containing 29.1% protein, 21.8% fat and 43.1% carbohydrates, with a fat-to-protein ratio of 75%.

    This product is tailored to meet a cat’s individual needs, particularly if they have a health condition and need a specialized diet to support therapeutic care.

    Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Hill’s Prescription Diet (Dry) range here
    Main Ingredients Brewer’s rice, chicken, corn gluten meal, chicken fat, dried beet pulp
    Texture Dry
    Type Kibble
    Protein Percentage 29.1%
    AAFCO Standards Adult maintenance
    Best For Cats & senior cats

    Save up to 35%

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    Sample buyer review...

    "My cat absolutely loves this food and can't get enough. It seems to be doing wonders for her. She's been jumping onto higher things which she hasn't done for a long time. She really really enjoys it "

  • Go! Solutions Weight Management + Joint Care Grain-Free Chicken Recipe

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    Recommended with Reservations

    Go! Solutions Weight Management + Joint Care Grain-Free Chicken recipe is a dry food which receives the Cat Food Advisor’s rating 3 stars.

    It is one of 10 recipes in this product range made by Go! Solutions is owned by Petcurean, a family-owned Canadian company that was founded in 1999. 

    Go! Solutions Weight Management + Joint Care Grain-Free Chicken Recipe derives the bulk of its protein from chicken, which is naturally rich in the 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a dry recipe containing 33.3% protein, 11.1% fat and 47.6% carbohydrates, with a fat-to-protein ratio of 33%.

    Go! Solutions dry is overall an average cat food product range. It aims to provide cats with unique dietary needs and a choice of grain-free and grain-inclusive products. 

    Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Go! Solutions (Dry) range here
    Main Ingredients De-boned chicken, peas, chicken meal, potatoes, chickpeas
    Texture Dry
    Type Kibble
    Protein Percentage 33.3%
    AAFCO Standards Maintenance
    Best For Cats & senior cats

    Save up to 35%

    with Autoship
    See discount in cart

    Sample buyer review...

    "When our two cats hear the bag open they run to their food bowls. They appear healthier and slimmer after your food, what a difference this has made in our fur babies' lives. I would highly recommend this recipe. "

If your cat has arthritis, it’s important to help manage this condition to help keep them comfortable. Here are some of the FAQs we get about helping to support a cat with arthritis.

What are the signs of arthritis in cats?

Cats may show signs such as limping, difficulty jumping, stiffness, reluctance to play, changes in grooming habits, and behavioral changes.

How is arthritis diagnosed in cats?

The diagnosis typically involves a thorough physical examination by a veterinarian, X-rays to assess joint health, and a review of the cat’s medical history.

Can arthritis in cats be treated or managed?

Yes, various treatments and management strategies exist, including medication, weight management, dietary supplements, physical therapy, and environmental modifications.

What medications are available for arthritis in cats?

Common medications include pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and joint supplements. The specific treatment plan will depend on the cat’s condition and the veterinarian’s recommendations.

How can I help my arthritic cat manage pain at home?

Environmental modifications, such as providing ramps or steps for easy access to elevated areas, using heated beds, and ensuring a comfortable living environment, can help alleviate pain. Additionally, following the veterinarian’s advice on medications and supplements is crucial.

Can arthritis in cats be prevented?

While it may not be entirely preventable, maintaining a healthy weight, providing a balanced diet with joint-supportive nutrients, and regular veterinary check-ups can contribute to joint health.

Is there a specific diet for cats with arthritis?

Some specialized cat foods contain ingredients like omega-3 fatty acids and joint supplements that may benefit cats with arthritis. However, dietary changes should be discussed with a veterinarian.

What is the lifespan of a cat with arthritis?

Arthritis does not necessarily affect a cat’s lifespan, but managing the condition can improve their quality of life. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can make a significant difference in managing arthritis in cats.

Can arthritis affect any breed of cat?

Arthritis can affect cats of any breed, but it is more common in older cats. Certain breeds, such as those prone to joint issues, may be at a higher risk.

How often should an arthritic cat see the veterinarian?

Regular veterinary check-ups are essential for monitoring the cat’s condition and adjusting the treatment plan as needed. The frequency of visits will depend on the severity of the arthritis and the response to treatment.

Sources

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Article reviewed by
Laura Ward

Pet Nutritionist

Laura studied BSc (Hons) Animal Science with an accreditation in Nutrition at the University of Nottingham, before working for eight years in the pet food and nutrition industry.

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