Categories: Cat Health

How can I tell if my cat is in pain?

by Michael

There is acute pain brought on by trauma and chronic pain due to long term health issues. The word “chronic” in medical language means persistent and long lasting. It is fairly easy to assess acute pain suffered by a cat. In contrast, a cat in chronic pain is difficult to assess.

Acute Pain in Cats

We should make a presumption that a cat is in pain after suffering an injury.

Minor Trauma

Signs: flinching, vocalisations, trying to escape, aggression.

Severe Injury

Signs – acute response: hissing, spitting, aggressivity, strong desire to escape. Thereafter: withdrawn and immobile, tense posture, occasional low growls. Sometimes continuing to spit and hiss if approached. Rapid breathing (“respiratory rate”).

Pain Relief

This is a job for the veterinarian. Cat caretakers should not try and administer pain relief themselves as cats can be poisoned by pain killers.

Apparently the influx of female vets has increased the use of pain killers in treating cats in pain.

NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) have been avoided by veterinarians as they have been considered toxic to cats due to the cat’s unique metabolism.

Chronic Pain in Cats

This is considerably more difficult to spot in our feline friends as they tend to hide incapacities that harm survival. A cat will tend to mask her disability by altering behavior.

Signs: reduced activity, hiding, lack of interested in surroundings, weight loss as a result of loss of appetite. There would seem to be a general and subtle change in character accompanying typical long term and deteriorating health problems such as dental disease and arthritis. People have noticed a improvement in their cat’s behavior after veterinarian dental treatment. Periodontal disease is common.

The signs, as can be seen, are rather vague and many illnesses will produce similar symptoms.

Pain through arthritis, for example, can be assessed because of lameness. Sometimes, however, it can be difficult to locate the place of the pain using palpation (using hands to manipulate the interior of the cat from the exterior) because of a lack of response from the cat or the cat generally reacts when touched.

We should be alert to signs of chronic pain despite the difficulties. A general awareness of our cat’s behavior and habits assists in making layperson assessments. A close relationship aids in recognising even slight changes in behavior and appearance. Get close to your cat and enjoy the relationship.

Sources: myself and The Welfare of Cats, pages 222-223, ISBN 978-1-4020-6143-1 (this is an excellent book because it is based on many scientific studies).

Click here to post comments.

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Michael Broad

Hi, I am 70-years-of-age at 2019. For 14 years before I retired at 57, I worked as a solicitor in general law specialising in family law. Before that I worked in a number of different jobs including professional photography. I have a longstanding girlfriend, Michelle. We like to walk in Richmond Park which is near my home because I love nature and the landscape (as well as cats and all animals).

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts

One cat and three dogs feed in perfect synchronization

This must be all about patient training and it sort of proves that cats can…

3 hours ago

Difference between Bambino and Sphynx

The difference between the Bambino and the Sphynx is that the former has short legs…

4 hours ago

Is it OK to feed feral cats during the coronavirus crisis?

Yes, of course it is. However it is a question worth asking if for no…

9 hours ago

How do I stop my cat from waking me up at 4 am?

Don't stop her. Let her do it and learn to enjoy it but read on...The…

12 hours ago

How do I stop my cat attacking me?

When in play this is a common problem because it is normal cat behaviour. Not…

14 hours ago

Cartoon Animals Complete List

This is a complete list of cartoon animals. They are listed alphabetically. This is a…

14 hours ago