Is your cat in pain?

When you love your cat, know her normal behaviours well and are in tune with her feelings, you will most probably have a suspicion when she is in pain. However, it is not always possible to know for sure as cats are good at hiding it.

The signs

There are a few signs that will indicate that your cat might be in pain or in some degree of pain. She may show some or all of the symptoms, which include:

  1. Loss of appetite
  2. Becoming more subdued
  3. Hiding in areas where she would be in cases when she is frightened
  4. Becoming more vocal more frequently
  5. Showing mild changes in the way she vocalises

Remember, these are just guidelines and in no way substitute a veterinarian’s diagnosis; you have to consult a vet.

Possible causes of pain

Unless your cat suffered a visible injury, it can be difficult to know for sure where the source of her pain is. There are many different areas where pain can originate. Therefore, the source of the pain needs to be determined by your veterinary surgeon so that the right steps can be taken as quickly as possible to prevent any further suffering.

Pain can originate from the musculoskeletal system, the abdominal cavity and the organs, the thoracic cavity and the mouth.

Age and levels of pain

As cats grow older they obviously have an increased risk of getting kidney, liver and other health issues. But other diseases, like FIV, FeLV and feline infectious peritonitis, all of them viral diseases, can be contracted at a very early age and have an influence on the survival of these animals. The lifestyle, habits, area these animals live in and exposure to feral colonies of cats are factors that can increase the risk of contracting life-threatening diseases at any age. So, although older cats tend to suffer from pain more often, younger cats are not necessarily pain free.

What to do

When your beloved cat suffers from some form of pain, the very best thing to do is see a veterinary surgeon. Your vet will do his or her best to get behind why the cat is behaving differently and determine what exactly the issue is, and then institute an immediate action plan of treatment. Never try to give cats human medication under any circumstances as this can actually have severe, life-threatening consequences. Many human medications are not well tolerated by cats and can cause side effects, like acute renal failure, anaemia, gastric ulceration and liver failure.

Try to keep the cat as calm as possible as stress worsens a cat’s experience of pain, and in my opinion undoubtedly her recovery time. A happy, relaxed cat is one who will heal quickly and start eating as well, as soon as the underlying problem is addressed.

As every situation is different, it is best not to try and treat your cat at home without a consultation with a vet. If your animal has an underlying kidney or liver issue, treating it yourself can worsen it.

In a nutshell

Generally speaking, it is sometimes more difficult to recognise pain in cats compared to dogs unless you really know your cat well and observe her closely. Most dedicated kitty owners are very good at this and can recognise their individual animal’s behaviour and changes thereof better than anyone else.

Don’t postpone a visit to a veterinary surgeon dedicated to feline medicine, and make sure your cat gets her vaccinations and check-ups regularly. Prevention is always better, and most of the time much less expensive, than cure.

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