Signs of a cat in pain can be caused by a variety of diseases, conditions, injury or trauma, or following surgery or medical treatment. It can be very difficult to tell if a cat is in pain, where the pain is coming from and what’s causing it. Cats are particularly good at masking signs of pain and sometimes the signs are subtle and easy to miss. This is especially true of chronic pain, which is often, mistakenly, put down to old age.
In some cases, cats only show more obvious symptoms after being ill for an extended period of time or if they are very ill. By the time you actually notice something is wrong with your cat, it might have been going on for longer than you think. Although no one likes to think about their pets living with pain, it is important to be able to notice telltale signs of pain in cats, so that you can take the necessary steps to provide comfort and prevent medical issues from worsening.
What Should You Do
Please do not use any human drugs such as ibuprofen or paracetamol as these are highly TOXIC to cats. Please get pet medications from your vet. Vet can use to provide pain relief to your cat, although underlying conditions will always need to be treated and in some cases, may require surgery (for example a broken bone).
If your cat is recuperating from an illness or from surgery try to limit their movement and physical activity until they’re fitter. Soft, padded bedding and a quiet comfortable environment will help speed up your cat’s recovery.
Changes in Temperament and Behavior
When cats are dealing with pain, similar to humans, it can affect their behavior. In fact, cats often show behavioral changes prior to physical symptoms.
It is important for you to know your cat’s normal temperament and behavior. This includes:
- Energy level
- Sleep Pattern
- Physical Appearance
- Behavior Patterns
Just the slightest change could be a sign that your cat is sick or in pain. Since your cat cannot tell you it’s in pain, your veterinarian relies on you to determine if there are any abnormal behavior patterns that may be pain-related.
Signs of Your Cat is Sick
1. Your Cat Rarely Groom
You may notice that your cat is not grooming itself or if it does groom itself, it only focuses on its face and the front of its body. Cats are meticulous cleaners, so be aware of your cat’s grooming habits have changed or you notice that its coat is unkempt.
2. Your Cat Start To Hide
Your cat may be more withdrawn and even start hiding. Cats are animals that love to bond with us and like to be engaged and present where we are. When your cat is suddenly not greeting you at the door, not sleeping with you, and other engaging behaviors that are normal, this may be a sign that something’s wrong.
3. Low on Energy
You may notice that your cat has less energy or decreased stamina to engage in previously enjoyable activities, such as playing with toys or chasing that red dot. Your cat may be reluctant to jump, walk up and down stairs, have difficulty getting up from laying down, exhibit restlessness, and have difficulty finding a comfortable place to rest. You may also notice changes in sleeping patterns. Cat may sleep more or less and may sleep in unusual positions and places.
4. Difficult for litter
Cats commonly will miss the litter boxes due to the pain associated with going in and out of the litter box, as well as difficulty squatting. Holding the squatting position can be very difficult for a cat with sore hips or knees. Other medical issues can cause cats to not use the litter box due to pain and urgency associated with them.
5. Easy To Irritate
Cats in pain can also uncharacteristically have episodes of aggression. It may begin to growl or hiss when people or other pets in the household approach it, may not be comfortable with being held and may resent being brushed or combed. Also, cat may bite or scratch, too, especially when a person touches or moves the painful area or if the cat anticipates you doing it.
6. Changes in Appetite and Water Intake
Cats who are experiencing pain may lose interest in eating and drinking. If you notice any changes in your cat’s eating and drinking habits, be sure to alert your veterinarian. This can be a sign of pain and various other serious medical issues.
7. Improper Posture
A cat in a lot of pain will appear as if it’s trying to curl up into a ball or will sit hunched over in a guarded, crouched position with its back curved higher than normal, its head lowered, and front paws often folded under it. You may notice that once it lays down, the cat keeps its legs tucked up underneath itself instead of stretching out on its side. It may avoid or have difficulty engaging in scratching behaviors.
Treatment for cats in pain
Different types of pain require different types of treatment. Always ensure your cat receives the correct dose of any medications prescribed by your vet. Each cat will react differently to the type and dosage level of pain medication. Monitor your cat’s response to the medication and if you have any concerns contact your vet or, out of hours, your nearest Vets Now pet emergency service.
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