Some people will tell you that cats are good at hiding their pain. This is only partially true. Your cat cannot verbalize her pain. She can’t let you know with words when it hurts, nor can she say where it hurts or what kind of pain she’s feeling. That doesn’t mean you can’t tell she’s in pain.
There are many signs that indicate pain and physical discomfort in cats and it is up to us to carefully monitor our kitties and get them the help they need. The following list can help you identify pain in cats. If you suspect your cat is unwell, read through these items and checkmark the ones that your cat displays. Take that list with you to the vet, as some conditions may cause pain in more than one area of the body.
Possible signs of general pain and physical discomfort
1. Any change in behavior or character.
2. Sleeping more often than usual.
3. Aggressive behavior towards humans or other cats/pets.
4. Avoiding movement.
5. Spending time in a hunched posture with lowered head (could indicate abdominal pain).
6. Changes in facial expression such as keeping the eyelids half-closed and/or the mouth open for long periods of time.
7. Lack of response to stimuli such as voices, noise, light, toys etc.
8. Not wanting to play (in a cat that used to enjoy playtime).
9. Avoiding interaction with humans or other pets.
11. Decreased appetite.
12. Loss of appetite (if your cat stops eating altogether this could be an emergency. Read more here: Why Has My Cat Stopped Eating And Is It Dangerous? )
13. Soiling and litterbox avoidance. (Read more about litterbox issues here: How To Solve Litterbox Problems In Cats The Ultimate Guide)
14. Vocalizing when using the litterbox.
15. Agitation and pacing.
16. Resisting being held up or lifted
17. Biting/scratching when touched in a specific spot.
18. Vocalizing when touched in a specific spot.
19. Flinching or trying to get away when touched in a specific spot.
20. Licking a spot to the point of over-grooming.
21. Avoiding grooming a specific spot.
22. Shaking a limb and/or biting it.
23. Limping and avoiding putting weight on a limb
24. Stiffness, especially after waking up.
25. Limping, especially after waking up.
26. Difficulty standing and walking.
27. Reluctance to jump, get up or climb stairs or furniture.
29. Lip licking.
31. Shutting the eyes.
32. Scratching around ears.
33. Bald patches and injured skin as a result of scratching around ears.
34. Shaking head.
You know your cat best. Some of these symptoms may be traits that are typical to certain cats and do not necessarily indicate pain. However, if your cat displays any of these as new behaviors, they could mean that your cat is in pain due to some physical cause. Don’t let your cat suffer. Call your vet and discuss the symptoms with her or him as soon as possible.
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