How Do You Know If Your Cat Is In Pain?


We cats are known to be masters of both subtlety and disguise—a combination that makes it quite challenging for you humans to figure out what exactly we cats are feeling. We got this trait from our cat-cestors who once lived in the wilderness before becoming domesticated. In the wild, cats who show pain is seen as weak, and therefore vulnerable to predators. In order to survive, it was crucial for them to be able to hide all forms of weakness and learn the art of disguising pain.

Trying to find out if your Bengal cat is in pain may not be the easiest, but it’s not impossible as long as you know what to look out for. As cat pawrents, it’s very important for you humans to know the signs so you can take your feline friends to the vet as soon as possible and prevent any illness or injury from getting worse.

Below are a few signs that will help you tell if your cat is in pain:

  • DECREASED APPETITE

Just like humans, when cats are feeling ill, we lose interest in eating food. If you notice your cat just barely touching their food or stops eating completely, there could be something seriously wrong.

A decreased appetite in cats can indicate dental problems, liver or kidney disease, or more serious conditions.

If you notice sudden appetite changes in your cat, it’s good to take them to the vet immediately so your veterinarian can identify any underlying conditions.

  • DRINKING LESS WATER

Try to observe how much water your cat is drinking. If you notice that they’re drinking a lot less than usual, then it might mean they’re in pain.

Cats with inflammation in the mouth, dental problems, and gastrointestinal disease may avoid drinking water because of the discomfort it causes them.

Keep in mind though, that excessive consumption of water can also indicate a health issue. Cats developing diabetes may drink a lot more water than usual.

  • URINATING OUTSIDE THE LITTER BOX

If your cat is potty trained then suddenly starts peeing outside the litter box, it could mean that something is wrong.

Certain health issues may be causing your cats to pee outside their litter box. This behavior can be an indication of urinary tract infection (UTI), kidney disease or even diabetes. They do this because they’ve associated their litter box with pain.

For elderly cats, peeing outside the litter box can mean that they’re suffering from severe arthritis and having trouble getting inside, especially if their litter box has high sides.

  • OVER-GROOMING/NOT GROOMING AT ALL

Cats are meticulous groomers, but if you start noticing your cat licking and grooming the same area over and over, there might be a problem.

Dermatitis, flea allergies and other skin conditions can cause cats to over-groom. Additionally, if cats feel pain in a certain area, licking is also a way for them to try and alleviate the discomfort.

When it’s too painful though, cats can also stop grooming all together. So it’s also something to watch out for.

  • DECREASED INTEREST IN ACTIVITIES

When cats are in pain, they may stop doing their usual activities. For example, your cat may have loved climbing on countertops or chasing other cats in the household, then just suddenly start to avoid everyone and stay in one corner.

They may also start running away when approached and biting when touched—avoiding any kind of physical contact.

If you notice this behavior in your cats, they might be experiencing some serious pain.

Other behavioral changes to look out for:

  • Lameness
  • Hunched-up posture
  • Lower head posture
  • Change in mobility (limping, having difficulties with jumping/climbing)
  • Aggression (scratching/biting)
  • Excessive meowing/howling/purring
  • Lethargy
  • Hiding


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