It’s not easy to recognize when a cat is in pain. These amazing creatures have developed a strong survival instinct to purposefully hide their discomfort and as a result, we can’t trust them to tell us when something’s wrong. This means that by the time “Smokey” lets his parents know that he needs help, his pain is likely already quite severe.

Fortunately, we can use our special bond with our pets to help us tune into their unique body language that may indicate when our furry family member isn’t feeling like their normal self. Some of these warning signs may include:

  • Change in behaviour
  • Change in appetite
  • Decreased activity and mobility
  • Retreating to secluded or hidden places
  • Less desire to be petted or handled
  • Neglected grooming or incessant licking of one body part
  • Lowered head, hunched up posture
  • Change in litter box habits

Cats are very unlikely to call out in pain, as in the wild, this could attract a predator while they are sick and vulnerable. In order for a cat to cry out, its condition would likely have to be quite intense. Even a cat that limps or favours a paw is identifying itself as weak, so is therefore likely experiencing substantial discomfort. The most common pain identifiers are much more subtle and easy to overlook, which is partly how cats survived for so long throughout history!

Consider that full-grown cats age approximately four years for every human year, and young cats age even faster. During this time, a lot can change with your furry family member’s health! Don’t hesitate to head to the veterinarian for a check-up right away if you suspect your pet is not feeling one hundred percent.

Identifying cats’ hidden clues allows for early diagnostics and treatment, which not only decreases stress for our furry friends, but is also the simplest and most cost-effective solution, letting them quickly return to the activities they love.

As a pet parent, you understandably want your cat to be healthy and happy. By learning how to recognize when our furry family members are in pain, we can also help to greatly improve our beloved companions’ quality of life.

Dr. I. Wonder is here to answer your questions regarding your furry family members. If you have a question, email it to us at  Our team at Neighbourhood Pet Clinic will tap into their collective experience to answer your various questions.