Wild cats are masterful in hiding their pain. This instinctual technique is one of their strongest survival tactics. And because our domestic kitties are so closely related to their wild cousins, they too have adopted exactly the same tactic to avoid being attacked. But since frequently keep pain to themselves, this amazing strategy often can make it extremely difficult for their guardians to know when their cat is hurting.
This said, cat guardians who are deeply attuned to their kitties’ behavior are generally able to quickly recognize any unusual changes in their feline’s demeanor, which often indicates that their cat is suffering.
Cats that are experiencing pain may act unusually quiet, appear withdrawn (see picture above), behave oddly, become anxious, refuse to eat, have difficulty lying down or unable to sleep, pant or breathe rapidly. Their heart rates may escalate; they may bite or hiss, avoid being touched on different parts of their body, or seem lame.
The majority of cats who are in pain won’t generally show outward signs of their discomfort. In fact, very few cats will vocalize excessively. But when a generally quiet cat suddenly starts crying or howling, this is generally a sure sign that the cat has something untoward going on and needs prompt professional attention.
Many of the more common causes of feline pain range from a trauma, an injury, urinary tract conditions, such as kidney stones or bladder infections, constipation, dental or oral infections, spinal or back conditions, gastric disturbances, indigestion, poison ingestion. Major medical conditions such as pancreatitis, kidney disease or cancer can also cause cats significant pain.
Since external injuries are generally visible, most kitty guardians recognize that their cat has been hurt. Cats recovering from illness or surgery or are being treated for gum disease, eye or ear problems may obviously show their discomfort. However, arthritis, internal injuries, an underlying urinary tract problem or a bad tummy ache are conditions which may not be readily apparent on the surface.
Additionally as cats age they often may develop painful conditions such as disc disease, degeneration of the joints and osteoarthritis. Cats who are reluctant to climb, or who have become less playful and are no longer energetically leaping high up in the air to catch that favorite toy, may indeed be suffering with one of these conditions. Therefore, it’s extremely prudent for cat guardians who suspect that their kitties may be suffering from one of these conditions to make an appointment for a thorough wellness examination with their veterinarian.
For more information about cats in pain, take a moment to watch the video created by Steve Dale, renowned author and feline behaviorist.
When you are checking to determine if your cat is in pain, what signs do you look for when you are evaluating if your kitty is in pain? Share these signs with a comment.
P.S. the comments are helpful: 2 good signs of pain are (a) unexplained change in behavior and (b) being picked up causes a cry and/or reluctance.