Ways to Tell if Your Cat is in Pain

Need ways to tell if your cat is in pain? Although people try to humanize their pets, felines don’t express themselves as we do. They may be suffering in silence, but you can look for clues. Whether kitty has arthritis or an unknown injury, it is possible to learn how to tell if a cat is hurting. When in doubt, take him to the vet for a thorough exam. Felines are good at hiding injuries and ailments, and you may or may not notice some of these signs of pain in cats.

Why Animals Don’t Show Pain

You may be wondering why cats don’t show pain. After all, they suffer many of the same ills as people, but you won’t usually see them crying, whining, or complaining. Most won’t call out in distress, even when giving birth. A very long time ago I experienced the miracle of life when my cat Ginger had babies. I could see the pain in her eyes and expressions as she labored heavily between the birth of each kitten, but she never made a sound.

When I had my first child I screamed, cried, and asked my husband to knock me out! So, why don’t cats giving birth show pain? The reason is the same when they’re sick or injured. Signs of pain in cats aren’t always apparent because crying or whimpering would make them vulnerable. Even house cats hide pain and distress to protect themselves. The ability to conceal distress is a natural behavior, and that’s why you need to look for ways to tell if your cat is in pain.

Ways to Tell if Your Cat is in Pain: Signs to Look For

  • Limping or an unusual gait
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Decreased mobility
  • Licking or biting at one particular area for no apparent reason
  • Hiding
  • Reduced appetite
  • Reduced water intake
  • Cat is hunching over
  • Aggressive and/or defensive behavior
  • Irregular breathing – fast and/or shallow
  • Rapid heartrate
  • Lack of grooming
  • Eye changes – dilated or restricted pupils, and/or redness
  • Inappropriate elimination – going outside of the cat litter box may indicate a painful UTI

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Is Your Cat Suddenly Peeing around the House?

Sometimes house-trained cats start urinating outside of the litter box. Contrary to popular belief it can be removed without spending a small fortune. Whatever you do, don’t use regular cleaning products, especially anything containing ammonia.

If your kitty suddenly picked up bad bathroom habits read Finding Cat Pee | Carpets | Removing Odor. It explains some of the most common reasons why cats start peeing outside of the litter box and the best ways to clean it up.

But Kitty is Purring!

Contrary to popular belief, purring isn’t always a sign of contentment in cats. Just because your kitty is purring doesn’t mean he’s fine. Don’t use it as a comfort indicator because some purr to self-soothe. Even cats on their deathbeds have been known to continue purring. It may just be kitty’s way of dealing with discomfort.

What to Do When You Think Your Cat is in Pain

Now that you know ways to tell if your cat is in pain, it’s important to take him to the vet a.s.a.p. for a thorough examination. Be sure to jot down any of the above symptoms and signs of pain in cats as well as anything else unusual. Taking notes will help your vet to determine where to begin. You know your kitty better than anyone else, and you know what’s normal for him and what could be signs of illness in cats, physical problems, or unapparent injuries.

Don’t have a vet? Visit localvets.com for veterinarians in your area.



Kimberly Dalessandro (a.k.a. Crystal Ray) began her online writing career in 2005 with PageWise Incorporated and went on to become a top writer for both Associated Content and Yahoo Voices under the pen name Crystal Ray. In early 2017 she launched Blue Crystal Sky ~ Everything Under the Sun. She is continually coming up with new ideas to share with the world.

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