We have an elderly cat and sometimes I worry that he’s in pain. How can I tell if she’s experiencing any pain and what can I do about it?
Concerned About Kitty in Shepherd Park Plaza
Dear Concerned About Kitty,
This is a very timely question because Animal Pain Awareness Month is coming up next 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.
Hiding pain is cats’ instinct
Unlike other companions, it is 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.
Signs of pain
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
Visit your vet just in case
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.
Did you know?
Next week is the Clear The Shelters event in Houston. On Saturday, Aug. 17, from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Citizens for Animal Protection will have fee-waived adoptions (that’s right: pay nothing to take home the love of your life! Adoption fees are covered by West Houston Subaru). To learn more, go to www.cap4pets.org.
Do you have a burning question for Tabby? If so, drop her an email at: email@example.com.
Pet of the Week
Meet Sam. This 2-year-old German Shepherd mix is smart, full of energy and eager to please. Sam would be happiest in a home with children over the age of 12 and no cats. Sam needs a little work on a leash and can play too rough with some dogs, so he will need a home with people who are patient and ready to work with him. Sam is considered a V.I.P., so his adoption fee is 50 percent off this month! Go to www.cap4pets.org to learn more.