How to know if your cat is in pain Signs that tell you

Cats are very stoic animals, it is very easy for their pain or discomfort to go unnoticed.

It is usually difficult to tell if your cat is in pain . Sure, sometimes it is very obvious, imagine that he has pain when he suffers a noticeable limp, has had a large cut or an accident. But other times, your cat’s signs of pain can be much more subtle . It is in this situation when we need guidance to know if our cat is in pain.

You may be interested in reading the article: How to relieve pain for your cat. Medicines and natural remedies.

Signs That Could Indicate Pain in Cats

As a general rule, cats are “masters” at hiding their complaints. Fortunately, there are many signs that will indicate possible pain in your cat.

First, I indicate five very general tips that you should keep in mind:

  1. Telltale signs of pain are usually almost unnoticeable, cats often hide their pain, so telltale signs are often subtle.
  2. Cats in pain have a tendency to bite, so use caution!
  3. Behavior, breathing, heart rate, and even appearance can change.
  4. In very continuous pain, it is best to go to the vet.
  5. Medications, only those prescribed by the vet.

When examining your cat for pain, be very careful not to get bitten or scratched.

No one, better than us, is in a better position to identify subtle changes in our cats’ behavior that may indicate pain.

When a cat experiences pain, one of the following changes occurs:

  • Abnormal Aggression:A cat in pain, who has previously been affectionate, may begin to act out of the ordinary. It may growl or whistle when people or other pets in the house approach it. It may attack you if you try to touch it and be upset when brushing.
  • Changes in breathing:Cats in pain may breathe faster and shallower than normal. They can also pant. You can even notice changes in the movement of your abdominal and chest muscles.
  • Changes in the heart and pulse:sometimes there is an increase in heart rate or pulse, especially when you touch or move the area with pain.
  • Excessive purr:If your cat shows excess purr, this may be related to the appearance of pain.
  • State of restlessness or nervousness in the cat:the cat in pain may not find a comfortable place to lie down and may move too many times, trying to find a comfortable position.
  • Decreased daily activity:You may notice that he has less energy or stamina to participate in activities that were previously enjoyable , such as chasing toys or hunting. Its hind legs may shake when standing or resting. You may notice that it no longer jumps on furniture, cat trees, or window sills.
  • He wants to be left alone. If the cat suddenly prefers to be alone, starts avoiding other pets in the home, or appears grumpy and grumpy, something is probably wrong.
  • Changes in your eyes: The eyes are good indicators of pain in cats . Pain in other parts of the body is often reflected in larger (dilated) pupils, while pain in the eyes can manifest itself in larger or smaller pupils depending on the underlying injury or disease process.
  • Changes in food and water consumption:Cats in pain often eat and drink less.
  • Changes in grooming: Youmay notice a decrease in your cat’s grooming. However, a cat with a wound may excessively lick the affected area.
  • Changes in energy level:Most cats in pain show a general decrease in their activity level. The cat sleeps more, runs and jumps less than normal. Some hide, when in pain, under beds, sofas, or in closets.
  • Mobility Changes –Cats experiencing pain often move less.
  • Potty Problems –Cats with back pain, for whatever reason, may have difficulty with the posture necessary to defecate. Sometimes they can even become constipated. However, the pain itself can also lead to slow motility of the intestines and thus lead to constipation. Cats with joint or bone pain may also have a difficult time getting into their litter boxes, so they may begin to urinate and defecate out of them.



Postures of a sick cat if it feels pain

  • Pain in the head or ears can cause a cat to tilt its head to the affected side .
  • Generalized pain in the chest and abdomen can cause a cat to appear crouched or hunched over.
  • If the pain is chest, a cat may extend its head, neck, and body.
  • A cat with abdominal or back pain might stand or lie on its side with an arched back, or stride.


Causes of pain in cats

So what causes pain in cats? We know for a fact that cats experience pain and, in fact, their response is very similar to that of humans. Like us humans, the causes of pain can be divided into two groups, acute pain and chronic pain.

Sharp pain

It is a sudden onset pain, it may be due to:

  • An injury (hit by a car, fall, broken bone, bite wound)
  • An infection (tooth abscess, urinary tract infection, skin abscess)
  • Medical conditions (urinary tract obstructions, heart blood clots, acute inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Surgery (including “minor” procedures, like castrations and tooth extractions).

Chronic pain

Chronic pain is much more difficult to recognize and diagnose. This pain tends to come on slowly and over time, but it can be just as paralyzing. Due to the slow and steady onset, cats have time to adjust to their discomfort and the signals progress slowly. Often times, owners tend to consider these symptoms “normal.”

Chronic pain includes conditions, such as arthritis, some types of cancer, long-term inflammatory problems, such as pancreatitis or interstitial cystitis (a specific type of bladder disease), or some types of trauma that have long-lasting effects.

Chronic pain is more subtle, but just as real as acute pain.


Treatment of pain in cats

Once your cat’s pain has been localized, the vet can begin appropriate treatment to resolve your pet’s discomfort.

Underlying conditions

Treatment options will vary depending on the nature and source of a cat’s pain. Procedures and therapy can be administered to treat underlying conditions, which can consist of medications, dietary changes, to a dental cleaning or surgery. Treatment and resolution of the primary condition or injury should help alleviate the cat’s discomfort.


Your vet may recommend the use of various pain medications to ease your cat’s suffering. Some of these include opioids (for example, morphine) that are most commonly prescribed in extreme distress. They will usually be administered after a surgical procedure or in the management of a cat dealing with chronic pain to give them a better quality of life.

In the event that inflammation is to blame for the pain, anti-inflammatory medicine will work better. For example, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can help with mild to moderate pain levels.

Corticosteroids are generally used to treat arthritis or allergies, but they have long-term side effects. Since cats are very susceptible to the side effects of pain and anti-inflammatory medications, you should always check with your vet before starting any medication.



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