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How to Know When Your Cat Is in Pain

family-footerAs a loving cat owner, the last thing you want is for your feline friend to suffer. Don’t get down on yourself if you’ve been unable to tell when your cat is in pain. After all, kitties not only lack the ability to put their pain into words, but they will often actively hide that fact.

As partly wild animals, cats’ instincts tell them that appearing vulnerable is like wearing a big neon sign that say, “Eat Me.” What their instincts don’t tell them is that “cat à la mode” is never on the menu at your house. Therefore, in order to spot signs of chronic pain in your stoic kitty, you need to look very closely. Here’s what to watch for and how to help.

Signs Your Cat Is in Pain

  • He no longer jumps to his favorite high perch, perhaps to avoid an activity that causes pain.
  • His fur starts to look different because the pain prevents him from grooming himself.
  • He vehemently licks one particular area of his body.
  • He meows more often, especially while doing something that causes pain.
  • He yowls while using the litter box, a sign of urinary tract infection.
  • He starts relieving himself elsewhere, perhaps because he can’t climb the high litter box walls or reach the litter box located down a flight of stairs.
  • His behavior changes from a sweet temperament to a crabby one or from interactive to hiding all the time. The opposite can also occur, with an ordinarily aloof cat suddenly becomes clingy.
  • The nictitating membrane, or third eyelid, becomes visible under normal circumstances.
  • He pants when he breathes.
  • His appetite decreases.

What You Can Do

If you and your vet determine that your kitty is suffering from chronic pain, you can take a few steps to help alleviate discomfort and improve your cat’s quality of life.

  • Manage the indoor environment: Create a feline-friendly home where your cat feels safe and comfortable. Provide a heated pet bed for your kitty to find relief from his aching joints. Also make sure your cat can get around easily. For example, setting an ottoman or step stool by the bed can help him get up without needing to jump as high. Keep the litter box in an easy-to-reach spot. If your home has multiple floors, place a litter box on each one to help prevent accidents.
  • Keep your cat inside: Perhaps your cat is used to roaming the neighborhood, but if he has chronic pain, this could set him up for injury or worse. To prevent taking away the outdoor experience entirely, you may choose to build an enclosed “catio” for your feline to explore.
  • Help your overweight cat lose weight: If joint pain is your cat’s problem, excess weight only puts more pressure on already sensitive joints. Not only this, but fat is actually a very active tissue. It secretes hormones that increase inflammation and overall pain. With your vet’s help, you can formulate a healthy feline diet for weight management purposes.
  • Offer supplements: Human pain meds are a big no-no. Instead, work with your vet to choose supplements and pet prescriptions to ease your cat’s pain.

Bring Your Cat to Germantown Vet Clinic

When it comes to your cat’s health, don’t play wait-and-see. As creatures of habit, even minor behavioral changes could be subtle signs of chronic pain. A quick physical exam at Germantown Vet can either set your mind at ease or reveal the underlying problem so treatment can begin promptly.

Contact us online or call us at (240) 252-7467 to schedule a visit for your cat today.

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