How To Tell If A Cat Is In Pain

Cats’ lovers want to live wholly in tune with their furry friends, but how to know that what they are feeling? And how to know that when they are not having a great time? Cats are incredible creatures and are masters of hiding their pain. You cannot understand or guess when your cat is a pain.

Luckily, a new study on cats has revealed many signs that your beloved cats show when they are in pain. Researchers have determined the critical behaviors of all felines, which are handy in guessing the pain of cats because they are not able to tell us themselves.

Why Do Cats Hide Their Pain?

Cats have been surviving in the wild before becoming domesticated, and they have not forgotten it. Because a cat in pain seen weak, so, therefore, to survive, they have a deep-seated instinct to hide their pain. If your cat is in pain, she will not cry; it is the fear that her crying will attract the attention of the predator. If she is crying, then her condition is quite severe.

When Does a Cat Get Pain?

Cats may be in pain due to different reasons. They may get a wound during a fight with another cat, or during jumping from the wall. Cats have a common problem of joint. Most of the old cats get pain due to arthritis. It is a popular cat disease that causes cats to suffer from anxiety.

Signs Of The Cat’s Pain

Biting and Scratching

Cats in pain often eat or scratch even to the most familiar person. It is true that when you touch the painful area of the cat or she may anticipate you to touching that area, she can bite you.

Change In Breath

A cat in pain may have a faster or slower breath than usual. You can see the changes in the movement of the stomach and chest muscles of the cat because they are associated with the breath.

Pulse Changes

Cats in pain have a high pulse rate; the rate of pulse changes is noticeable when you touch the painful region. You can learn from the vet in the clinic about how to check the pulse rate of a cat.


Purring of a cat is a healthy sign, but if your cat is purring with any other symbol, then the purring may be pain related. A cat experiencing pain has increased purring.

Eye Changes

Cat eyes may be very telling in pain, either it is eye pain or pain elsewhere in the body. If pain is elsewhere in the body, then it will result in large pupils, while suffering in eyes occurs in small pupils. Squinting may indicate the pain or bloodshot appearance in the eyes indicates a painful infection in the affected eye.

Food and Water Changes

Often a cat in pain has a loss of appetite and drink less water. If your cat is dropping food while eating, it means that she has pain in her teeth. If you’re usually hungry cat is showing disinterest in her daily meal, then you must watch her closely to find out the problem or cause of pain.

Grooming Changes

You can notice an overall decrease in self-grooming if the cat is in pain or is ill. However, if a cat has a wound, then she increases the self-grooming. Cats groom themselves often to keep them neat and clean, but if she is excessively grooming a specific part, then it should not be ignored, she must have pain or wound at that place.

Less Activity

Usually, a cat in pain shows less movement; the cat sleeps more and shows fewer cat jumps and runs. Most of the cats hide when they are in pain. You can find them under the bed or couch, or in the closet. 

Mobility Changes

A cat experiencing pain tends to move less. Her movements depend on it that what hurts. If you feel any change in your cat’s mobility, then you can think that your cat is suffering from arthritis, you should start adding some joint mobility and fish oil supplements in her food.

Bathroom Changes

Cats who have back pain feel difficulty in pooping because they have to face a lot of struggle to do their business; therefore, they often get constipation. Cats with joint or bone pain also feel difficulty in using their litter box, and as a result, they usually poop or urinate outside the litter box.

You can use an open litter box for older cats because they are not so high, so the cat can use the litter box and can use it easily.


If you note swelling on your cat’s legs, body, or face, it may be the indication of a painful condition such as inflammation, cancer, tooth root absence, or something else.

Some other signs that cat shows in pain are the following:

  • Licking a particular region of the body continuously
  • Hiding
  • Lameness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Avoiding bright areas
  • Groaning
  • Eye closed
  • Lower head posture
  • Lack of interest in playing
  • Tail flitching
  • Straining to urinate

What Is More Painful For The Cat?

Cat is in painful condition due to the following factors:


It is a common disease of cats; recent research on feline’s behavior shows that degenerative joint disease such as osteoarthritis is the primary cause of cat’s pain. It is a much larger problem that is also thought in the past.

It is estimated in research that 60% of cats and 90% of older cats have a degenerative joint disease that causes pain and leads them to mortality if they remain unrecognized and untreated.


Cancer is also a significant cause of pain in the cat, especially bone cancer, mouth cancer, or any cancer, which causes the enlargement of a capsular organ such as spleen or presses critical internal structures.

How To Manage Your Cat’s Pain

You must visit the vet immediately for the full examination of the cat to determine what caused the pain. A vet may draw a treatment plan to recognize your cat’s issue.

You can treat the pain of your cat by a variety of methods. 

  • Supplements
  • Change in diet
  • Laser therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Dentistry
  • Oral painkillers
  • Surgery

Discuss Your Cat’s Changing Behavior With The Vet 

Although this list of signs of illness in cats is helpful to recognize your beloved furry friend’s pain, your vet is the best person to decide whether these changes are pain-related or not. For example, a cat that changed the gate may be due to pain in joints, but it may also due to neurological disorder. A change in the cat’s mood may be due to hormonal changes.

Any change in the cat’s behavior is not neglected able and should be addressed. If you feel or recognize your cat’s pain, do not give her any painkiller medication on your own, must consult your vet; otherwise, it can kill your pet.

Final Verdict

Cats feline friends need a lot of love and care from you, you must pay attention to them. Although it is difficult to find a problem with your cat, you can find by observing their activities closely. If you see any abnormality in behavior, then there is something painful they are suffering from. You can then find the problem and fix it to prevent your cat from painful suffering.

Donna Huff from

Blogger, motivational speaker and mom of two cute kids. 


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