As my cat is getting older, I often wonder if she’s comfortable and completely healthy. It’s so hard to tell if she’s 100% or not, the older she gets. How can I tell if she’s in pain or not?
Concerned about kitty’s comfort in Cottage Grove
Dear Concerned About Kitty,
This is indeed a timely question because September is Animal Pain Awareness Month. The International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) launched Animal Pain Awareness Month in the hopes that more pet guardians learn about and recognize pain in their pets.
Unlike other companions, it’s hard for a cat to show their pain. Evolution is working against well-meaning guardians. According to the Okaw Veterinary Clinic, as both predators and prey, disguising pain can save a cat’s life: “The easiest prey for a predator to kill is the sick or injured one.” As solitary creatures, cats don’t have the protection of a pack either.
Here are a few telltale signs your kitty is in pain from the Cat Hospital of Chicago:
– Less to nonexistent grooming OR too much grooming
– Strange or changed sleep patterns, e.g. sleeping on only one side
– Decreased appetite or disinterest in food and water
– Less social and interactive with you/the family OR hiding more
– Growling or hissing when stroked, touched (in a particular area) or moved
– Change in posture, e.g. is she more hunched back?
– Less activity, e.g. has she stopped or is she struggling to jump in her favorite spots?
– Ongoing purring; purrs can be used to comfort, calm or heal cats
– Not acting like herself, e.g. more cranky or restless than normal
Since our feline companions don’t communicate pain and discomfort the same way other animals do, it’s important that you watch for signs of pain and stay up to date with vet visits. With a little care and consideration, you can ensure that kitty is happy and content, well into her golden years.
Do you have a burning question for Tabby? If so, drop her an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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