Cats hide their discomfort very well, and it can sometimes be difficult to tell when they are in pain. Limping or a cut on their skin are pretty clear signs your cat is hurting, but what about when the source is less obvious? Here are a few signs to help you determine if your cat may be unwell.
Cats will often seek seclusion when they are in pain. They may do this by avoiding other cats and people, and hiding in unusual locations such as the closet or under the bed. A cat in pain can be quieter than normal and may sit without moving in a hunched position.
Your cat may eat and drink less when experiencing discomfort. They may also be inclined to bite or scratch, even if they have not exhibited this behaviour before. Touching the area that is the source of the pain, or picking them up or moving them is more likely to elicit this kind of response. Your cat may also soil outside the box; for example, urinary tract infections may cause litter box aversion, and arthritis can make it difficult for them to get in and out. Vocalization will sometimes occur, especially when the discomfort is urinary in origin, but does not happen in many cases. Cats in pain may still purr, or even purr more than usual.
Breathing may become quicker and breaths can be more shallow. Heart rate may increase, particularly if the painful area is being touched. Grooming habits also have a tendency to change in cats who do not feel well. They may stop grooming altogether, or focus their grooming on the location of discomfort. There may be localized swelling or inflammation in the area causing pain as well. If you see any of these symptoms in your cat, give us a call! We're here to help you determine what may be normal behaviour and what necessitates a trip to see one of our doctors.
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