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Signs of Pain in Cats

As pet owners, you must be aware of the subtle signs that your feline friend is in pain since cats are known for concealing their discomfort. Our vets in Tucson his sharing insights into the symptoms and indicators of pain in cats, along with tips on how you can assist your furry companion.

How to Tell if a Cat Is in Pain

Determining if a cat is in pain can be challenging because it depends on the cat's personality and the specific type of pain they are feeling.

Acute pain resulting from an injury or accident is typically more noticeable, whereas chronic pain, such as arthritis or gum disease, can be more challenging to identify.

It is important for pet owners to monitor any unusual behavior, changes in personality, limping, or changes in appetite because cats tend to hide their pain.

Signs That a Cat Is in Pain

If your cat is in pain, you may observe one or more of the symptoms below:

  • Frequent meowing or howling
  • Not using their litterbox
  • Tail flicking
  • Won't eat or reduced appetite
  • Poor grooming, scruffy looking
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive hiding
  • Limping
  • Avoiding being handled
  • Behavioral changes
  • Irritability
  • Uncharacteristic hissing/growling/spitting
  • Unusual vocalizations
  • Excessive grooming
  • Panting
  • Patchy fur

How to Identify Pain in Your Cat's Posture and Body Language

When they are in discomfort, cats demonstrate a tendency to change the way they communicate through their body language. There are times when these shifts might be quite noticeable, while there are other times when they might be more subtle. Our veterinarians recommend that you keep a close eye on your cat's general behavior, posture, and movements. This will allow you to identify any deviations from your cat's typical behavior at an earlier stage. Changes in a cat's body language that are common and could be an indication of pain include the following:
  • Tense-looking body
  • Crouched or being hunched over
  • Head lowered

Pain Expressed on Your Cat's Face

In spite of the fact that the majority of cats exhibit little to no change in their facial expressions when they are in pain, there are some cats that are extremely expressive. If your cat is experiencing discomfort, they may:

  • Squint or close their eyes tightly
  • Flatten their ears so that they are pressed to the sides or back of their head
  • Project an overall facial appearance of tension with a tight mouth

When to Seek Veterinary Care

When cats are in pain, it is common for their symptoms to go unnoticed until the cat's condition has progressed. If you want to ensure the long-term health of your cat, it is always best to err on the side of caution.

If your feline friend is displaying signs of pain, contact your vet right away to schedule an examination or seek emergency veterinary care. Pain management and treatment of painful conditions early are essential to help preserve your cat's good quality of life.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you concerned that your cat is showing signs of pain? Contact our Tucson vets today to have your feline friend cared for.

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