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How to know if your cat is in pain

Cats are masters at hiding their distress, which means that it can be quite tricky to find out what your cat is feeling. As pet parents, it is always our responsibility to ensure that our animal children are taken care of and given quick relief when in distress.

8 Signs That Your Cat Might Be In Pain

#1:  Is your cat his usual, affectionate self?

Usually, cats love rubbing their bodies against their humans, getting their attention and affection. If your cat is usually very touchy-feely but is suddenly keeping his distance, there could be a problem.

#2: Have a look at his eyes!

Dilated or constricted pupils could be a sign of pain.

#3: Is your kitty trying to bite or scratch?

Cats are not usually aggressive with their humans, but a cat in pain is more likely to engage in biting or scratching, especially if you accidentally touch the affected area.

Girl cuddles cat

Read this before bringing home a new kitten

#4:  Is your baby eating less than usual?

Eating and drinking less could be another sign that your cat is in pain. Dropping food from the mouth could be an indication that they have toothache.

#5: Pay attention to your cat’s breathing.

When in pain, cats can change their breathing patterns. You may notice faster, shallow breathing.

#6: Is your cat lazier than usual?

Though most cats enjoy a good snooze several times a day, there may be cause for concern if your cat is suddenly more reserved than usual. Instead of spending time playing, he spends most of his time quietly hiding away.

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#7: Watch the walk!

A cat in pain may have a different gait to one in good health. Is your kitty struggling to walk? Walking strangely or slowly? There may be a problem.

#8: Is your cat grooming himself differently?

If you notice your cat suddenly neglecting his grooming activities or else overly focusing on a specific area, he may be in pain.

If you suspect that your cat is in pain, visit the veterinarian. Cats may be masters at hiding their distress, but pain could be a sign of a serious veterinary problem. Do not ever give “human medicine” to your cat – cats metabolise these drugs differently than we do and need their own, special medication.

Who is Caro Robson?

Caro Robson

Caro Robson is the owner and manager of Student.co, a pet sitting company operating across Gauteng. The daughter of a vet, she grew up surrounded by animals and now dedicates herself to providing the best at-home pet care possible.

“StudentCo has a strict selection policy – and even stricter rules. Our sitters take care of all your home and pet care needs as per your unique, specific instructions. Visit our website for detailed sitter profiles, client reviews and to tell us more about your furkids!”


Mariette Steynberg is a qualified economist with a post-graduate diploma in financial planning. She has enjoyed working on holistic financial plans for clients in various stages of life, as well as a development economist assessing the socioeconomic impacts of new developments. When she is not working, Mariette enjoys parenting her quirky, delightful toddler girl. Cloth diapering, Eskimo kisses and the importance of reading to your child are all causes close to her heart. Mariette is passionate about financial education and hopes to use the experience she has gained to share knowledge with HomeTimes’ readership. Her goal is to provide information that is implementable by everyone.

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