Cat often sits in 'crouched/hunched' position

tinytangerine

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Hi all,

These forums have been a great comfort and help to me as I worked through my guy's allergy issues earlier this year. I'm coming back to hopefully get some thoughts around another behaviour of his.

Ever since we got him (February) he has has a habit of hunching or crouching quite frequently rather than lying down (pics below). I had read that this is associated with pain or discomfort and attributed it to his allergy issues (chronic bloating/diarrhea for many months). His GI issues have been clear since late June when we switched him on to his current food. He went on and off pred for a while after that because he was having coughing fits (potentially athsma or maybe more allergies) but always at a low-ish dose (never more than 2.5mg/day). We tapered slowly and he has been off pred for around 2 weeks at this point. He last saw a vet around 6 weeks ago and they did not find anything wrong with him.

He is still hanging out like this all the time. I'm having a hard time googling this since everything that comes up seems to imply this is not a normal behaviour. My question is - can this be a normal behaviour for some cats, or is he still in pain and needs another vet check-up? He has done this the whole time I've known him, but he's also been sick for part of that time. He is eating, playing, pooping/peeing normally....but I am still worried about potentially missing an obvious sign.

thanks all <3
 

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tinytangerine

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Thanks Furballsmom Furballsmom - really hoping its just his thing.

Appreciate the link - I've read a lot of similar articles but this one is the most thorough. Definitely one of the head-scratchers for me is he is normal in every other way - nothing on this list is true for him except the hunching.
 

LTS3

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My IBD cat crouches like in the first picture when his tummy is having a flare up. His eyes are sort of squinty too and he just stares at whatever. It typically happens awhile after a course of pred is stopped. So he goes back on pred to calm the flare up and the crouching stops.
 
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tinytangerine

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My IBD cat crouches like in the first picture when his tummy is having a flare up. His eyes are sort of squinty too and he just stares at whatever. It typically happens awhile after a course of pred is stopped. So he goes back on pred to calm the flare up and the crouching stops.
Hmmm. This is an interesting possibility, since he did have some GI issues, but he's done this the whole time we've had him, even when he was on pred.
 

LTS3

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Every cat is different so the reason for your cat's crouching may be different from my cat's. You just have to know the cat. If your cat is otherwise doing well, just keep an eye on the crouching.
 

PushPurrCatPaws

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My question is - can this be a normal behaviour for some cats, or is he still in pain and needs another vet check-up? He has done this the whole time I've known him, but he's also been sick for part of that time. He is eating, playing, pooping/peeing normally....but I am still worried about potentially missing an obvious sign.
Hi T tinytangerine - From those two photos alone, and from having had kitties who have been sick (with various ailments), I see a kitty that is showing some discomfort. But this is hard, as photographs are just snapshots in time and can show only a fleeting expression or posture, and the next moment the cat has a different, happier expression. What percentage of time would you say that he spends each day/night doing this hunching behavior? Is it a good amount of time each day? Is it only an hour or so after he eats? Is it just before he goes to his litter box? Maybe you could watch him more closely for a while, take some daily notes, and call or email your vet if you continue to be concerned. :redheartpump:
p.s. How old is he? Is it possible, if he's older, that he has some arthritis issues (although younger cats, too, can have arthritis)?
 
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tinytangerine

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Hi T tinytangerine - From those two photos alone, and from having had kitties who have been sick (with various ailments), I see a kitty that is showing some discomfort. But this is hard, as photographs are just snapshots in time and can show only a fleeting expression or posture, and the next moment the cat has a different, happier expression. What percentage of time would you say that he spends each day/night doing this hunching behavior? Is it a good amount of time each day? Is it only an hour or so after he eats? Is it just before he goes to his litter box? Maybe you could watch him more closely for a while, take some daily notes, and call or email your vet if you continue to be concerned. :redheartpump:
p.s. How old is he? Is it possible, if he's older, that he has some arthritis issues (although younger cats, too, can have arthritis)?
Thanks so much for the thought/questions. I don't have a good sense for whether his sitting like that is tied to any particular time (meals, litter, etc). I will keep a closer eye on him for sure and see if I can find any relationships there. He doesn't typically hang out like that for long....maybe five or ten minutes at a time, now and then throughout the day. It has always felt a bit random.

I'll confess that I am struggling with this a lot. I really want to bring him to the vet, but a) I don't want to be the one who 'cried wolf' too often, in fear they won't take me seriously....we've brought him in a lot over the last six months as we got his GI stuff under control (probably 8 - 9 times) and b) I'm worried they will just do a basic check-up and say he's fine, like last time. Maybe I am not quite sure what to ask them to look for?

We think he is 2 or 3 years old - he was a rescue though so hard to say for sure.

Thank you everyone <3.
 

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Does he pass gas during or afterward? My Hima sits like this when she has gas. She used to do it after almost every wet food meal. It stopped after I started to handfeed her wet food meals. (She swallows more air when she eats her own and gets gassy.) Occasionally she sits like that after grooming herself over gas again.

I repeat this too much on this website but, small meals throughout the day is easier on their digestion. Like my Hima gets half of a 85 grams can of wet food at once, at most. She eats like four wet food meals, and nibbles dry food in between - she eats most dry food before going to sleep at night.
 
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tinytangerine

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Thanks all for the thoughts. I've been recording when he hunches and it doesn't seem to be directly attached to anything in particular. However, yesterday he had another coughing fit/(suspected athsma attack), so he is back on a low dose of pred (2.5mg EOD) and we'll be bringing him to the vet Monday regardless. I really hope we can get to the bottom of all this and help him out. After losing our other guy recently, my heart is hurting.

Thanks all for the thoughts and suggestions.
 

daftcat75

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Hi all,

These forums have been a great comfort and help to me as I worked through my guy's allergy issues earlier this year. I'm coming back to hopefully get some thoughts around another behaviour of his.

Ever since we got him (February) he has has a habit of hunching or crouching quite frequently rather than lying down (pics below). I had read that this is associated with pain or discomfort and attributed it to his allergy issues (chronic bloating/diarrhea for many months). His GI issues have been clear since late June when we switched him on to his current food. He went on and off pred for a while after that because he was having coughing fits (potentially athsma or maybe more allergies) but always at a low-ish dose (never more than 2.5mg/day). We tapered slowly and he has been off pred for around 2 weeks at this point. He last saw a vet around 6 weeks ago and they did not find anything wrong with him.

He is still hanging out like this all the time. I'm having a hard time googling this since everything that comes up seems to imply this is not a normal behaviour. My question is - can this be a normal behaviour for some cats, or is he still in pain and needs another vet check-up? He has done this the whole time I've known him, but he's also been sick for part of that time. He is eating, playing, pooping/peeing normally....but I am still worried about potentially missing an obvious sign.

thanks all <3
I’m going to play counterpart here and say, yes, crouching in cats can absolutely be a normal behavior. You have to take in the whole of his expression and demeanor to know if this is a normal crouch or a pained crouch.

I’ll use Krista as an example:

Normal crouch:
36B6901D-FC06-40BE-9BA2-51249CA5FBF6.jpeg 28F1440F-EE39-422D-8071-6EFA68D873B0.jpeg FBE39588-BA90-4AC7-9E72-79386F4CE5F1.jpeg

Pained crouching:

57B4C27E-3F84-475E-97F9-D22162F00A85.jpeg
4005515D-5EB5-4313-8031-C6B11C68A0D0.jpeg
DE1AC11F-65AC-43B9-A9B7-41D57B8C4294.jpeg

You have to take in everything. In the normal pics, her eyes are bright, her head is up. In the pained pics, she’s often squinting and her nose is tipped down; not because her attention is below her but because she’s focused inward.

When Krista would crouch and I couldn’t tell which, I would check in with her. If she was feeling alright, her response was bright. If she wasn’t, it would be duller. Krista was a little easier than the average cat here because she trilled. If she was feeling good, happy trill. If she wasn’t, weak trill or none at all. If your guy nuzzles into your touch, he’s probably feeling alright. If he just bears it or shies away from it (assuming this isn’t his normal interaction mode with you), he’s probably not feeling so well.

Crouching itself is not a sign of pain. You need to take the rest of his expression and responsiveness into account.
 

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