Cats are very stoic and it’s easy for cat parents to miss signs of pain or discomfort. Because your cat can’t come to you the way a child can and verbally complain about being in pain, it’s important for you to pay attention to physical signs as well as changes in behavior or routine that could possibly be a red flag. If you suspect your cat is in pain, please don’t hesitate to get him to the veterinarian.
Here are 10 signs that your cat may be in pain:
- Increased vocalization
- Licking a particular area of the body more than usual
- Appearance of the nictitating membrane (the third eyelid)
- Panting or open mouth breathing
- Irritability or grumpiness (from a cat who normally isn’t that way)
- Lack of appetite
- Change in mobility (signs of limping or reluctance to move)
- Change in litter box habits
- Increased clingy/needy-type behavior
Many signs of potential pain can be very subtle and easily missed. For example, if you aren’t routinely scooping the litter box twice a day you’ll miss the fact that your cat hasn’t urinated or defecated in there for a day or two.
If your normally friendly cat starts becoming short-tempered, don’t write it off as kitty just being in a bad mood. Cats are creatures of routine and a change in behavior can be a warning sign of something medically wrong. Don’t play wait-and-see when it comes to your cat’s health. Your cat may be communicating in the best way he knows how that he’s hurting and needs help.
We’re sorry but Pam is unable to respond to comments. If you have questions about cat behavior you can find many answers in the books written by Pam Johnson-Bennett as well as in the articles on our site. If your cat is displaying a change in behavior, contact your veterinarian because there may be an underlying medical cause. This article is not intended as a replacement for your cat’s veterinary care.