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Felinexpress.com Home > Cat Health > Cat is in Pain

How Do you Know When Your Cat is in Pain?

If your cat becomes ill or injured, it is sometimes difficult to establish whether or not your cat is in pain. Unless there is a noticeable injury or visible wounds, you almost have to be a mind reader to figure out if your cat is hurting. Instinctively (being low on the food chain) your cat will try and hide the fact that he isn’t feeling good. He understands that giving into the pain could mean his death. Pain that is not controlled through human or veterinary intervention can lead to severe health issues; slow wound healing, abscesses forming, infection, even long hospital stays. Knowing your cat’s daily habits will help you determine if your cat needs help.

Cats show pain by behavior issues:

  • Sudden aggression
  • Litter box avoidance or litter pan misses
  • Hiding or withdrawing
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Becoming vocal or agitated

For your cat, the typical nervous system response to pain is fight or flight. If your cat suddenly draws away from you or becomes aggressive, this is a pattern of pain. Cats crave routine and when this routine is disrupted (even slightly) the disruption can cause stress. The number one cause of health issues in cats is stress. Stress will even affect your cat’s internal organs.

Signs your cat’s in pain:

  • Elevated heart rate
  • Coolness to paws and ears
  • Heat to the paws and ears
  • Rapid shallow breaths
  • Panting, growling or other vocalizations
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Vomiting, gagging
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased drooling
  • Inability to walk straight
  • Lameness or weakness of the limbs
  • Trembling or shivers
  • Pacing
  • Inability to groom himself
  • Tearing out chunks of fur

Once you suspect your cat is in pain, it is imperative you take your cat to the vet ASAP. If it turns out kitty is in for a long hospital stay, bring items from home to make that stay less stressful:

  • His favorite toy
  • His bedding
  • Something with your scent on it (see below)

Bring only items you don’t want back. Vet clinics get busy and items become lost. The best way to comfort your cat is to leave a piece of you with him. You accomplish this by taking a thin t-shirt wearing it against your skin while performing vigorous exercise. (You want the item nice and sweaty.)  If you can’t do exercise, go for a drive and run your heater full-blast with the windows up until your shirt is soaked. Put the sweaty shirt into a plastic Ziploc bag. When you get to the vet, un-bag the shirt and place it into the cage for kitty to sleep on. Your scent will comfort him.

When your cat is released back to your care, follow all in-home instructions. Make sure your cat takes all his medications on schedule. Keep your cat secluded in a quiet room away from foot traffic and other pets. Provide dry bedding, quality food, and fresh water daily. Scoop the litter pans daily. Remember, good nursing care is critical in the management of pain. Soon he will be up and about and enjoying his daily routine once again.

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  15. Siberian

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