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Cruciate ligament injury changes the behaviour of cats

Last changed: 24 January 2017

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common cause of chronic pain and dysfunction in older cats. The majority of cats with OA do not show signs of overt lameness, yet cats with orthopaedic disease are known to redistribute their body weight from the affected limb. OA can cause changes in the cat's behaviour, which is often misinterpreted as signs of aging.

The aim of the present study was to investigate if cats with a previous cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) injury perform differently on the pressure mat and exhibit different behaviour compared to sound cats according to the owner´s subjective assessment. Ten cats with a previous CCL injury were assessed with a pressure mat system and their owners were asked to complete an assessment questionnaire. The results were compared to those of 15 sound cats, matched to have the same weight and body condition score.


The front/hind limb index for peak vertical force (PVF) was significantly higher for CCL cats, and there was a decreased PVF and vertical impulse (VI) on the affected hindlimb compared to the unaffected one. The results indicate that cats with a previous CCL injury put less weight, on the affected hindlimb but for a longer time. There was a significantly higher owner assessment questionnaire score for the group of cats with CCL injury compared to sound cats.


Cats with a previous CCL injury have a different gait pattern compared to sound cats and a different behaviour according to owner subjective assessment. It is of great importance that further studies are performed to investigate the long term effects of CCL injury as a cause of pain and physical dysfunction, and its role in the development of OA in cats. Improved assessment tools for chronic pain caused by OA in cats are needed, both to facilitate diagnosis and to evaluate pain-relieving treatment.

Link to the publication


Sarah Stadig, B. Duncan X. Lascelles and Anna Bergh. Do cats with a cranial cruciate ligament injury and osteoarthritis demonstrate a different gait pattern and behaviour compared to sound cats? Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 2016, 58 (Suppl 1):70. DOI: 10.1186/s13028-016-0248-x.


Sarah Stadig
PhD Student at the Department of Clinical Sciences; Division of Veterinary Nursing                                                        

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