Cats are incredibly good at hiding their pain, even if it means missing out on much-needed medication or lying completely still for hours on end. If you have a cat, you have probably noticed that they are masters at being stoic. Most of the time, our cats are just fine, but then there are those other times that they are sick or in pain. Sometimes it can be hard to mix up subtle signs of pain with other symptoms like age-related ailments, arthritis, stress, or depression. The below guide will help you better recognize the signs of pain in your cat so you can make sure they get the treatment they need!
Your cat’s daily habits
As your cat’s owner, you know your cat better than anyone, and you will be the first person to realize they are not acting like themselves. Factors to consider include:
- Appetite — Cats in pain typically will stop eating or have a decreased appetite. They also may drink less.
- Social interaction — Your cat may withdraw and avoid social interactions, or they may seek comfort and affection. A previously friendly cat may start to exhibit aggression.
- Litter box habits — Your cat may stop using their litter box, or you may notice that their feces are hard and dry, indicating constipation.
- Grooming — Your cat may stop grooming, resulting in an unkempt appearance. They also may excessively groom an area that is injured, causing hair loss or skin damage.
Your cat’s activity level
Pain can affect your cat’s ability to maintain its usual activity level. The changes may be subtle, but things you can look for include:
- Mobility — Your cat may move slower than usual, be reluctant to move, or limp when they do move. You also may notice they have difficulty getting up from a reclining position.
- Jumping — Your cat may avoid jumping on surfaces they used to access easily, or they may attempt to jump and fall.
Your cat’s postures and facial expressions
Your cat communicates using their body language and facial expressions, so knowing how to read their cues is key to determining if they are in pain.
- Posture — They may arch their back or tuck in their abdomen.
- Expression — They may have enlarged pupils, flattened ears, and a furrowed brow.
If you believe your cat is struck by pain, do not attempt to medicate them without consulting a veterinary professional, as many common pain relievers are hazardous to cats. Contact us so we can help relieve your cat’s suffering.