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Signs of Pain in Cats & What Can Help

If your cat is experiencing pain, it can disrupt their entire life, making it difficult to sleep and get around. Here, our Cumming vets discuss how to tell if a cat is in pain and what you can do to help ease their discomfort.

Cat's in Pain

Signs that a cat is in pain vary depending on their personality and the type of pain it is experiencing.

Most cats will show obvious signs of acute pain if they have an accident or injury, but it can be much more challenging to tell if your cat is experiencing chronic pain, such as pain caused by arthritis or gum disease. 

Because cats instinctively hide signs of pain, pet parents must always be on the lookout for uncharacteristic behavior, personality changes, an unusual stride, or changes in appetite.

What are the signs of pain in cats?

Some of the most common signs that a cat is in pain include:

  • Frequent or ongoing meowing or howling
  • Litter box accidents, urinating outside of their litterbox
  • Tail flicking
  • Won't eat or reduced appetite
  • Poor grooming, scruffy-looking
  • Reduced energy, lethargy or lack of interest in play or going outside
  • Hiding, no interest in spending time with you or other family members
  • Limping
  • Avoiding being handled, picked up or petted
  • Behavioral changes such as refusing to jump onto a bed or furniture that they typically love to be on
  • Irritable mood, short-tempered with people or other pets
  • Uncharacteristic hissing, growling or spitting
  • Unusual vocalizations (meowing more than usual, crying)
  • Excessive grooming
  • Panting
  • Patchy fur

How does pain affect the way your cat behaves?

Cats in pain often display changes in body language. In some cases, these changes are very noticeable, but often, they are more subtle. Our vets recommend always monitoring your cat's overall demeanor, stance, and gait so that any changes from normal will be easily spotted. 

  • Body language changes related to pain in cats include:
  • Tense looking body
  • Crouched or being hunched over
  • Head lowered

Do cats show pain in their face?

While many cats show little or no change in their facial expression while experiencing pain, some are very expressive. If your cat is in pain, they might:

  • Squint or close their eyes tightly
  • Flatten their ears so that they are pressed to the sides or back of their head
  • Project an overall facial appearance of tension with a tight mouth

Should I bring my cat to see the emergency vet?

Often, signs of pain in cats are missed until the condition is advanced. Regarding your cat's long-term health, it's always best to err on the side of caution.

Depending on the severity of the pain or condition, your cat may need immediate urgent care. If your cat appears in pain and has other signs, including bleeding, vomiting, lethargy, or unconsciousness, please contact our vets for immediate emergency veterinary care.

Veterinary Acupuncture For Pain in Cats

Acupuncture has been used for centuries in China to relieve pain and treat various illnesses in people. Now, vets trained in traditional Chinese veterinary medicine (TCVM) also offer this therapy to animals.

A trained TCVM veterinary professional performs veterinary acupuncture for cats and aims to treat and manage the symptoms of illnesses and disorders by inserting ultra-thin needles into specific points on the body where nerves and blood vessels intersect.

TCVM, which includes other therapies beyond acupuncture, can be combined with conventional veterinary care to provide a more holistic, full-body approach to treating medical conditions in animals.

Animals at any stage of life, from kittens to adults and senior cats, can undergo pet acupuncture treatment for various health conditions. Veterinary acupuncture is considered a safe and effective treatment option that may provide relief from the pain or discomfort associated with injury and illness.

Benefits of Veterinary Acupuncture at Crestview Animal Hospital & Emergency

Veterinary acupuncture and other traditional Chinese veterinary medicine (TCVM) treatments are believed to produce several health benefits and can be a great addition to any treatment plan. Benefits of veterinary acupuncture for cats include:

  • Stimulating the release of endorphins, the body's natural pain relievers, and anti-inflammatory substances.
  • No negative side effects on internal organs, as can occur with some prescription medications.
  • No adverse interactions with other medications or supplements make acupuncture safe for animals undergoing conventional treatments.
  • Acupuncture treatments elevate blood flow, increase oxygenation, and improve metabolic and toxic waste removal.
  • Localized pain relief may be achieved at the site of needle insertion due to the relaxation of the muscles in that area.

At Crestview Animal Hospital & Emergency, we feel the best results are achieved using acupuncture to supplement other medical therapies. Helping to manage pain, reduce inflammation and restore your pet's health and vitality.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your cat showing signs of pain or discomfort? Contact our vets in Cumming to schedule an examination today. We are happy to discuss alternative therapies to help your cat feel more comfortable.

New Patients Welcome

Crestview Animal Hospital & Emergency is always welcoming new patients! Our Cumming vets provide veterinary services designed to promote good health and longevity. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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