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Signs of Pain in Cats & What Can Help

To ensure that your feline friend lives a long and healthy life, it is essential to be able to recognize signs of discomfort early on and take appropriate action. Our vets from Redding have provided guidance on detecting if your cat is in pain and the steps you can take to alleviate it.

How To Tell If a Cat is in Pain

Identifying if a cat is in pain can be difficult because they tend to hide it instinctively. The signs of acute pain due to an injury or accident are usually more apparent. However, it can be challenging to tell if your cat is experiencing chronic pain, such as arthritis or gum disease.

As a responsible pet parent, it's essential to be vigilant for any uncharacteristic behavior, personality changes, abnormal gaits, or changes in appetite. These could all be indicators of pain, and you should contact your Dana Park Veterinary Hospital vet if you notice anything concerning.

Signs That a Cat is in Pain

If your cat is experiencing pain, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Frequent or ongoing meowing or howling
  • Litter box accidents, urinating outside of their litterbox
  • Tail flicking
  • Won't eat or reduced appetite
  • Limping
  • Avoiding being handled, picked up, or petted
  • Poor grooming, scruffy-looking
  • Reduced energy, lethargy or lack of interest in play or going outside
  • Excessive grooming
  • Panting
  • Patchy fur
  • Hiding, no interest in spending time with you or other family members
  • Behavioral changes such as refusing to jump onto a bed or furniture that they typically love to be on
  • Irritable mood, short-tempered with people or other pets including
  • Uncharacteristic hissing, growling or spitting
  • Unusual vocalizations (meowing more than usual, crying)

Posture & Body Language Changes That Could Mean Your Cat is in Pain

Cats may show different body language when they are in pain. Sometimes, it can be very evident, but often, it is more subtle. Our veterinarians suggest monitoring your cat's behavior, posture, and walking style. This way, you can quickly notice any changes from their usual behavior that may indicate pain.

  • Body language changes related to pain in cats include:
  • Tense-looking body
  • Crouched or being hunched over
  • Head lowered

How Pain Could Be Expressed in Your Cat's Face

While many cats show little or no change in their facial expression while experiencing pain, some cats are very expressive. If your cat is in pain, it might:

  • 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 For a Cat In Pain

Cats often hide signs of pain until their condition becomes severe. Therefore, it's better to be cautious when it comes to your cat's health in the long term.

If you notice any pain symptoms in your cat, it's essential to contact your vet immediately to schedule an examination or visit an animal hospital after hours.

Early pain management and treatment of painful conditions are crucial in maintaining 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.

If your cat is showing any worrisome symptoms or behavioral changes, contact our Redding vets immediately. Our vets can quickly diagnose and treat your cat's condition.

New Patients Welcome

Dana Park Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Redding companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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