Cats are independent creatures who rarely show that they're in pain. Because of this, it can be very difficult to tell if they've been hurt, or are ill.Luckily for cat parents, online scientific journal Plos One, published a study about the signs of pain in cats.
The study, made by two British researchers, analyses the findings of a group of vets, who had asked families of cats suffering from nasty injuries and sicknesses about the signs of pain in their pets.
The major thing that they had in common was that they noticed a change in their cat's normal behavior. None of the symptoms matched any illness in particular, meaning that unusual behavior from a cat could signal that they are in pain, or some sort of distress.Similarly, what is unusual behavior in one cat may not be in another. A feline's family will always know best about how their pet usually acts, so it is up to them to keep an eye on them.
Here are the 23 changes to watch out for in your cat's behavior that could indicate a health problem:- My cat is lame- They find it difficult to jump- They're limping- They aren't moving as much as usual- They react if you touch a particular part of their body- They're hiding, or running away for no reason- They're not cleaning themself- They're not playing- They've lost their appetite- There is an overall decrease in physical activity- They're not interacting physically with people (rubbing against them, sitting on them, etc)- Their mood is lower, e.g. more irritable- Their temperament is different, they are calmer or more agitated than usual- They are hunched up- They have rapidly lost weight without explaination- They keep licking the same part of their body- They're holding their head lower than usual- They keep rapidly, involuntarily opening and closing their eyes (blepharospasm)- They are eating more or less than usual- They're avoiding light and hiding in dark places- Growling- Groaning- They have one or both eyes shut, even when they're not sleeping
If your cat shows one or more of these symptoms, they could be in pain. It could, of course, not be anything serious (they could be blinking rapidly because they're irritated, for example), but if it's something you can't treat yourself (a tiny cut, a thorn in their paw), you should take them to the vet's to make sure that it's nothing major.Don't ever give your cat pain relief that's for humans; paracetamol especially is fatal for cats. If you are worried about whether you will spot an illness in your pet, read our article about cancer in cats.
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