Is My Cat In Pain?
September is Animal Pain Awareness Month - and now is a great time to look at our furry friends for signs which may indicate discomfort.
While a dog's body language tends to show clinical signs of pain, cats have been described by many in our profession as The Great Masqueraders. Generally speaking, cats will do everything in their power to hide their pain and discomfort. Fortunately, there are many clues you can look for which can point to the presence of pain. When our cats are hurting, they can be a bit temperamental. This makes them more likely than usual to bite or scratch. They may also pant, or have a faster, more shallow pattern of breathing than usual. You may notice changes in their food or water intake, and subsequently, changes in their litter box habits. Any changes in your kitty's gait, mobility or energy level can also be signs of a brewing problem. Cats who stop grooming or who over groom, especially in localized areas of the body might also be trying to tell you something. Finally, be advised that a cat who purrs is not necessarily expressing contentment. Cats who are in pain will often purr to comfort themselves, so excessive purring or any change in vocalization, should be seen as a sign of trouble.
If you suspect your cat is in pain, it's important to take her to her veterinarian as soon as possible. Never give any pain relievers intended for human use, as even a single dose of over-the-counter children's formulas can be fatal to a cat. A thorough examination and routine diagnostics are often all that's needed to diagnose and treat your painful pet.