As pet owners, you must be aware of the subtle signs that your cat is in pain since cats are known for concealing their discomfort. Our vets in Boulder and Westminster his sharing insights into the symptoms and indicators of pain in cats, along with tips on how you can assist your furry companion.

How to Tell if a Cat Is in Pain

It can be challenging to determine whether or not a cat is in pain because this can depend on the cat's personality as well as the specific type of pain that they are going through.

Chronic pain, such as that caused by arthritis or gum disease, can be more difficult to identify than the acute pain that is typically more obvious after an injury or accident.

Because cats have a tendency to conceal their discomfort, it is essential for owners of cats to keep a close eye out for any strange behavior, changes in personality, limping, or shifts in appetite.

Signs That a Cat Is in Pain

If your cat is in pain, you may observe one or more of the symptoms below:

  • Frequent meowing or howling
  • Not using their litterbox
  • Tail flicking
  • Won't eat or reduced appetite
  • Poor grooming, scruffy looking
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive hiding
  • Limping
  • Avoiding being handled
  • Behavioral changes
  • Irritability
  • Uncharacteristic hissing/growling/spitting
  • Unusual vocalizations
  • Excessive grooming
  • Panting
  • Patchy fur

How to Identify Pain in Your Cat's Posture and Body Language

Cats' body language often changes when they are in pain. These changes may be obvious at times, but they may also be subtle. Our veterinarians recommend that you monitor your cat's general behavior, posture, and movements so that any deviations from their usual behavior can be identified early on. Some common changes in a cat's body language that may indicate pain include a tense appearance, crouching or hunching over, and a lowered head.

Pain Expressed on Your Cat's Face

Many cats' facial expressions change very little, if at all, when they are in pain, whereas the expressions of other cats, particularly certain breeds, can be quite expressive. If your cat is in discomfort, they may:

  • 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

It is common practice to fail to recognize pain in cats until the condition has progressed significantly. Always err on the side of caution when it comes to the health of your cat over the long term. This is always the best course of action.

If your feline friend is displaying signs of pain, contact your vet right away to schedule an examination or seek emergency veterinary care. Pain management and treatment of painful conditions early are essential to help preserve 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.

Are you concerned that your cat is showing signs of pain? Contact our Boulder and Westminster vets today to have your feline friend cared for.