Being able to recognize when your cat is feeling discomfort or generally unwell will be a crucial aspect of their lifelong care and well-being. Today, our Bedford vets share some of the signs of pain in cats, what to look for and when you should seek veterinary care.
How can you tell if your cat is in pain?
Signs that a cat is in pain vary depending both upon the personality of the cat and the type of pain they are 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 it is essential for pet parents to always keep a watchful eye for uncharacteristic behavior, personality changes, an unusual stride, or changes in appetite.
The Typical Signs of Pain in Cats
If your kitty is experiencing pain you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- 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
- 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 including
- Uncharacteristic hissing, growling or spitting
- Unusual vocalizations (meowing more than usual, crying)
- Excessive grooming
- Patchy fur
Changes in Your Cat's Behavior Related to Pain
Cats in pain will often display changes in body language. In some cases, the body language changes of a cat in pain will be very noticeable but often times these changes are more subtle. Our vets recommend always monitoring your cat's overall demeanor, stance, and gait so that any changes from their normal will be easily spotted.
- Body language changes related to pain in cats include:
- Tense looking body
- Crouched or being hunched over
- Head lowered
Some Ways That Cats Show Pain Through Their Face
While many cats show little or no change in their facial expression while experiencing pain, some cats 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
When Cat Pain Needs Veterinary Care
Often signs of pain in cats are missed until the cat's condition is advanced. When it comes to your cat's long-term health it's always best to err on this side of caution.
Depending on the severity of the pain or condition, your cat may need immediate urgent care. Please contact our vets for daytime emergency care or reach out to one of the after-hours clinics listed on our Emergency Care page.
Veterinary Acupuncture For Pain in Cats
Acupuncture is a treatment that has been used for centuries in China to relieve pain and treat a host of illnesses in people. Now vets trained in traditional Chinese veterinary medicine (TCVM) offer this therapy to our animals as well.
Veterinary acupuncture for cats is performed by a trained TCVM veterinary professional 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 also 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 adult and senior cats can undergo pet acupuncture treatment for a range of health conditions. Veterinary acupuncture in Bedford is considered a safe and effective treatment option that may provide relief from the pain or discomfort associated with injury and illness.
The Different Types of Acupuncture For Cats
- Dry needle technique
What are the benefits of veterinary acupuncture?
Veterinary acupuncture and other traditional Chinese veterinary medicine (TCVM) treatments are believed to produce a number of health benefits while avoiding the negative side effects that can be brought on by some conventional medications and treatments. Benefits of veterinary acupuncture for cats include:
- Stimulating the release of endorphins, which are the body's natural pain relievers, and anti-inflammatory substances.
- No negative side effects on internal organs, as can occur with some prescription medications.
- There are no adverse interactions with other medications or supplements, making acupuncture a safe treatment for animals undergoing conventional treatments.
- Acupuncture treatments are believed to create elevated blood flow and increased oxygenation as well as improved 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.
Veterinary acupuncture can be helpful for dogs and cats in the Bedford area. If you would like to learn more about how pet acupuncture can help manage pain and other conditions in your pet please reach out to our team.
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.