Here’s How to Recognise Pain or Discomfort in Cats

As a cat parent, being able to recognise the early signs of discomfort and pain in your cat is crucial for ensuring their continued happiness and health. Unfortunately, felines are quite the experts when it comes to hiding their pain or discomfort. While you could easily tell when they are in acute and intense pain, detecting long-term pain and discomfort is not nearly as easy. So how can you recognise the more subtle signs of pain and discomfort in your cat? Keep reading to find out.

Facial Expressions

You can tell that some cats are in pain through obvious changes in their facial expressions. In others, the changes in facial expression may be more subtle. Some of these more subtle changes include; squinting or closing their eyes; their nose, cheeks, and mouth may appear more compressed and tensed, and their ears may look pressed or slightly flattened to the sides.

Grooming Changes

When it comes to cleaning habits, cats tend to be very meticulous and only change if there is something wrong. So if your cat, which is usually fastidious about its grooming, suddenly buxic stops doing it, it could be in discomfort or pain. You can tell that your cat’s grooming habits have changed when the appearance of its coat starts to look unusually greasy and unkempt.

Over-grooming could also be a sign of pain in cats. If you notice your cat paying more attention to grooming a specific part of its body (especially to the point of causing wounds and baldness), it may be trying to soothe pain in that area.

Changes In Their Sleeping Patterns

When your cat is in pain, finding a comfortable resting position can be a struggle for them, and this will most likely affect their sleeping pattern. You may notice that they are sleeping less or more than usual. You may also find them sleeping in warmer and stranger places. Cats also don’t like to sleep on the floor as they much prefer elevated resting spots so if you find that your cat suddenly lays in lower places, that could be a sign that something is wrong.

Behavioural Changes

Changes in your cat’s behaviour can be an early symptom of illness or pain, so they should not be overlooked. Cats usually form strong bonds with their owners, so they might be in pain if; they suddenly stop cuddling or sleeping with you at night, coming out to greet you when you get home, or even following you around the house. In addition to isolating, pain can cause your cat to exhibit uncharacteristic aggression towards people and other pets.

Inappropriate Elimination

Pain is one of the most common reasons why a cat would suddenly stop using their litter box. Entering and exiting their litter box can be difficult if your cat is experiencing pain in their hips, elbows, spine or knees. Pain in these parts of the body can also make squatting very difficult and your cat might become constipated, which further adds to their discomfort. Other painful medical issues that can affect your cat’s litter box usage include; painful urination, bladder stones and feline interstitial cystitis. Whatever the condition is, your cat refusing to use their litter box is always an indication that something is wrong.

Decreased Energy And Activity

A gradual decrease in your cat’s energy level is completely normal as they get old. However, if you notice a drastic decline in their energy level- to the point where their usual day-to-day activities are seriously impacted, then the problem is beyond ageing. If your cat shows reluctance for jumping, running, playtime, or even just standing up from a lying position, then they are most likely in pain.

Decreased Appetite

Just like pain can suppress appetite in humans, it can do the same in cats. So if your cat suddenly shows little to no interest in eating and drinking, it could be in pain. Even if they are not in pain, changes in eating or drinking habits are always a course for concern as they could be an indication of other medical problems.


Cats are intelligent animals that are very good at hiding their pain. This means that it is up to you to detect even the most subtle signs of these pains and discomfort. You can do this by paying very close attention to their physical condition and habits. It could be that they have eaten something that they shouldn’t have so try to pay attention to the foods that your cat is eating, Mellowed Cats has some information on the types of foods your cats can and can’t eat. The signs listed above are some of the most common indications that your feline friend is in pain and needs immediate medical attention.

Leave a Reply

Back to top button