476 Myrtle Ave

Brooklyn, NY 11205 US

(718) 623-3999

Open mobile navigation

Signs That Your Cat is Experiencing Pain

Cat laying in bed

Is Your Cat Suffering From Pain?

Hiding pain is one of your cat's natural instincts. In fact, displaying pain or weakness makes cats an attractive target for predators in the wild. Although dangerous predators don't lurk in your home, those instincts still surface when your favorite feline is suffering. Luckily, a few tell-tale signs can help you determine if your pet is hurt or sick. Your cat may exhibit one or more of these behaviors if it's in pain.

Frequent Meowing

Your cat can't tell you where it hurts but can communicate with you by vocalizing. If your pet meows more often than normal, pain may be the reason. Cats in pain may also hiss or growl, particularly if you happen to touch a painful area. Purring doesn't always mean that your cat is happy. In fact, purring can also occur if your pet is in pain or stressed.

Breathing Changes

Has a sharp pain ever taken your breath away or changed your breathing pattern? Your cat may react the same way. Rapid breathing or panting are signs that something isn't quite right with your pet.

Hiding Out

If your pet is spending most of its time under a bed or in another out-of-the-way place, pain may be the reason. When that natural instinct kicks in, pets automatically look for a safe, secure hiding place. In addition to providing protection from predators, hiding spots also prevent curious children or concerned family members from bothering your pet.

Trouble Moving

Your cat may have problems jumping, walking, or struggling to stand if it's in pain. Limping, shaking, and restlessness could also mean that something hurts. You may notice that your cat can't seem to find a comfortable position, avoids putting all of its weight on an injured limb, or does not want to be held.

Behavioral Changes

A normally friendly cat may become irritable or aggressive due to pain. Other cats may not hide but might actually want to spend more time with you if they are in pain. Any of these changes in your cat's behavior could be caused by pain:

  • Poor appetite
  • Drooling
  • Weight loss
  • No interest in grooming (matted fur and a messy coat can be signs of grooming issues)
  • Urinating or defecating outside the litter box
  • Sleeping more or less than normal
  • Lack of interest in spending time with family members
  • Biting or licking part of the body
  • Disinterest in playing

Physical Changes

Your poor pet may grimace when a bout of pain strikes or walk a little differently. You may notice glazed eyes, large pupils, frequent blinking, or tail flicking. A cat in pain may look hunched and keep its feet tucked under its body.

Common Causes of Pain in Cats

Pain can occur for many reasons. Your cat could have been hurt after a fall down the steps or when playing with another pet. Does your pet spend time outdoors? Poisoning, an attack from a wild animal, or a car accident could be the reason your pet's behavior has changed.

A health disease or condition could also be the source of the pain. Common conditions that cause pain include:

  • Toothache
  • Stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth)
  • Cancer
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Urinary tract blockage
  • Bladder stone
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Kidney failure
  • Abscess
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Nerve damage
  • Ear infection
  • Eye infection or condition
  • Digestive problems
  • Orthopedic (bone) disorders
  • Ingrown nails

Arthritis, a degenerative joint disease, is a common cause of pain for older cats. Pain and difficulty jumping or walking can be signs of arthritis. The disease often affects the elbow, ankle, knee, or hip joints in cats, according to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Even subtle changes in your cat's behavior may mean that your furry friend is struggling with pain. If you've noticed any of these behaviors in your pet, give our office a call as soon as possible. We can offer treatments that will ease your pet's pain and improve its comfort.

Sources:

American Animal Hospital Association: How to Tell if Your Cat Is in Pain

Hill’s: Is Your Cat Hiding Her Pain? Recognizing the Signs & Symptoms, 7/11/16

International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management: Common Signs of Pain in Dogs and Cats

dvm360: Feline Chronic Pain, 1/8/19

American College of Veterinary Surgeons: Osteoarthritis in Cats

New to Clinton Hill Animal Clinic?

Sign-up to request more information!

Office Hours

Monday:

10:30 am-7:00 pm

Tuesday:

10:30 am-7:00 pm

Wednesday:

10:30 am-7:00 pm

Thursday:

Closed

Friday:

10:30 am-7:00 pm

Saturday:

10:30 am-5:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "To Dr Dendtler and Staff, I cant begin to tell you how impressed I am with the loving care you have given to my cat Baxter, before and after the much needed surgery. Baxter is so pleased with the outcome; he goes around purring all day."
    Thanks again. -Estelle P.
  • "Dear Pamella, We want to thank all of you so much, not only for the loving care and consideration you showed us last Thursday when we had to say goodbye to Gericho but also for all the years of check-ups and other crisis' that we went through with him. We know it was your good efforts that allowed him to live a full and vigorous 16 years that gave us so much pleasure. Please know that we have always found your staff to be so courteous and helpful all these years."
    Thank you. -Cathy W.
  • "Dear Dr. Dendtler, You were very thorough and caring in treating Buddy. You explained clearly how to protect my dog. I have been to many clinics but you are the best. You were very professional and compassionate. Buddy and I are very grateful. Thanks ever so much to you and your staff."
    John L.
  • "Hi Dr Dendtler, Thank you so very much for fixing my eye. I can see clearly now…I can see all obstacles in my way! Love Vernell R"
    Vernell R.

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for more articles