Recognizing the early signs of cat pain is important to keep your cat happy and healthy. The problem is, many cats hide their discomfort well. Often the signs go unnoticed if we’re not paying attention, or if there hasn’t been something obvious to cause it.

Every cat is different, and as a result will show different signs that they’re in pain. Do you know how to tell if your pet is in pain?

8 Signs of Cat Pain

Sometimes the signs of cat pain are incredibly subtle. It can sometimes be tough to tell, but paying close attention can help. If your furry friend isn’t feeling his usual self, he may exhibit one, or a combination, of any of these signs:

1. Changes in Behavior. Any slight change in their behaviour or body language can be a sign of discomfort. A decrease in movement, or a disinterest in normal activities, could be a sign. Sleeping more than usual could also be a change that warrants more attention. It could work the other way as well. Restlessness or sudden agitation in a calm, restful cat could be a sign that something’s off.

2. Resistance to touch. If your normally happy cat begins growling, swatting or snapping at you when you pet him or pick him up, that could mean something is bothering him. You might also notice a wiggle like movement if a normally accepted, gentle pet is painful.

3. Hiding away. A cat who is sore may choose to hide away in an unusual spot – a corner, a closet, under the bed. This is because a sick cat will see himself as vulnerable, and will often seek out a safe, secluded place.

4. Altered Grooming Habits. If your cat starts licking an area more than usual, that might mean that specific area is irritated or sore. For example, if you cat is licking his paw more than normal, almost obsessively, give it a closer look. That said, it works both ways. If your normally clean-cut gentleman stops grooming, that could be an indication that something is wrong. This is particularly common in senior felines. Arthritis or other conditions can make the stretching required for grooming too painful.

cat pain

5. Increased Vocalization. Has you usually quiet pet started making more noise? Frequent unpleasant or urgent sounding meowing, groaning, hissing, growling, etc., may all be signs of cat pain.

6. Decreased Appetite. A reduced appetite is often a sign that something’s off.

7. Changes to Bathroom Habits. Cats in pain may have trouble using the litter box as well as they used to. For instance, a cat with arthritis may have trouble holding the appropriate position to pee or poop. You might see these changes in position, or notice your cat doing his business outside of the litter box.

8. Increased Irritability. Sometimes a grumpy cat is just a grumpy cat. But, if your otherwise snuggly, affectionate feline is all of a sudden sullen and irritable, that could be a sign of pain.

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How to Help Your Furry Friend

If you think your cat is in pain, the approach you take will depend on a number of different things.

  • If you don’t know what’s causing the pain, it’s important to visit your veterinarian. After all, you can’t really do much to relieve the pain if you don’t know what’s causing it. An assessment will help determine this as well as the right path for treatment. There are a variety of medications, pharmaceutical and natural, that your vet may recommend for pain relief.
  • If, you know what’s causing the pain, arthritis for example, make sure you’re doing all you can to ease that pain. That might mean providing your cat with a warm, comfortable place to sleep that provides support to aching joints. Consider altering the litter box arrangement so relieving himself is easier.

Once you identify cat pain, and determine what the source of that pain is, you can help get your cat back to a pain-free (or greatly reduced) place.