How do I know if my cat is in pain?

Cats are often very secretive animals, even more so when it comes to hiding their pain. Added to this is the fact that it is difficult to make us understand the nature of their illness when they are suffering. But don’t panic, you don’t necessarily need to be a specialist in feline behavior to know if your cat is trying to hide his suffering. Spotting the right signs is enough! 

Cats tend to hide their pain

Like all domestic animals, cats were once wild beings that managed independently in the wild. And of course, domestication has not erased all the character traits that cats used to survive. Hunting, for example, is a perfect illustration of this!

But that’s not all, because it is customary to say that cats do not show when they are in pain. This behavior would be directly inherited from their genetic heritage, since showing weakness – in the wild – was often synonymous with making themselves easily attacked.

To avoid becoming prey, cats have therefore integrated the fact of hiding any sign of pain. Which does not suit their owners today…

Identify changes in behavior 

Each cat is different and has its own way of functioning: among all the signs that will be listed, there may be some that you observe in your cat on a daily basis. In this case, if it is in good health, there is nothing to worry about. It is when there is a change in his behavior (aggressiveness, eating habits, excessive grooming, etc.) that it must begin to show attention.

These signs of pain are primarily changes in your cat‘s habits or attitudes. If it starts doing something that doesn’t look like them or on the contrary stops some of their habits, it can be a sign of a bad feeling. As the owner of your cat, you are the best person to watch for and spot these changes, and to report them to your veterinarian if your cat’s condition warrants a consultation.

Signs to look out for 

Scientists conducted a study to observe the most common behaviors in sick cats. Be careful to qualify your judgement: these are not all indicators of pain, but they have been most often observed in suffering cats:

  • It is discreet, hides, flees any form of company or even game
  • Conversely, it is always looking for company
  • Attitude of physical and psychological withdrawal
  • It shows unusual aggressiveness (hissing, scratching, growling, etc.)
  • Their meows are more insistent
  • It breathes faster or slower
  • Their head is low and/or their body is bent
  • Their eyes are often closed or half-closed
  • It no longer grooms himself, or conversely grooms himself excessively
  • It excessively licks a part of their body
  • Some parts of their body are sensitive when you touch them
  • Difficulty moving, walking or jumping, different gait
  • Weight loss or gain
  • It doesn’t eat like before

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