Many people wonder how they can tell when their cat is suffering from pain or if something is wrong. While there are some straightforward ways to do this, most rely on observing changes in behavior or body condition.
If you notice your cat acting nervous or fearful of anything, it may be because she has sensed that something painful will happen soon. Similarly, if her grooming patterns seem abnormal, such as going very slowly or spending a long time on one area, then check out what’s happening for clues about possible symptoms.
Cat owners sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the signs that indicate their feline friend needs help. But don’t worry! Fortunately, you can learn many helpful things about cats through behaviors, sounds, and smells.
This article will go into more detail about various indicators that might suggest your cat is feeling sick or hurts somewhere. You can also read tips about listening to your cat’s signals and other ways to determine whether she’s unhappy or not.
Watch for symptoms
Sometimes, even though your cat seems fine, she may be suffering from pain or discomfort. If you notice changes in behavior, posture, or appearance of her face, she may need help.
Symptoms of serious health problems usually come with some kind of warning. Unfortunately, sometimes very subtle signs are the first to show that something is wrong.
It’s important to pay attention to your cat when she appears to be healthy. If you see evidence of physical illness like red flags under her fur or fluid coming out of her nose and mouth, get veterinary care right away!
Fortunately, there are certain behaviors that can give you clues about whether your kitty is hurt or not. Being able to recognize these signs will let you know quickly if your feline friend needs medical help.
Listen for meows
If you hear mewing or crying sounds, then probably yes, your cat is hurt.
Usually when an animal is injured, they try to get away from their situation by making loud noises. That’s why it is very important to be aware of howling dogs or screaming children before opening any doors or windows!
When animals are threatened, they become even more vocal. Unfortunately, with all those noise levels going up, it can sometimes drown out the sound of the pain that the animal is experiencing.
If this happens, then it may be impossible to know whether the noise is coming from the dog barking at something outside, the child yelling because they just lost their temper, or your cat suffering due to a broken leg.
Use a cat mirror
If you are ever unsure whether or not your cat is in pain, check out a tool called a cat mirror! A lot of veterinarians use them to evaluate their cats for signs of discomfort or pain.
A few weeks ago, our veterinarian took my dog’s temperature using one of these tools. She also listened to him with the ear canals and checked his paws — something that many dogs (and people) don’t do unless they feel symptoms.
When she was done, she told me that her main reason for checking my dog’s ears and nose was because I had mentioned that he was acting unusually quiet and low energy levels.
I never would have thought to look at his feet, but she said that it made sense since he wasn’t going anywhere and seemed lethargic. By doing this test, she was able to determine that he was suffering from an upper respiratory infection that required medical attention.
Cat mirrors work by reflecting back what things like fur, whiskers, and muscles look like when they are being touched or stroked. This way, your feline friend doesn’t need to tell you directly if there are any changes to how much hair he has around his face or how limp his limbs are.
If you notice anything unusual, you should take your pet to the doctor immediately! Luckily, this tool isn’t too expensive so most anyone can afford to give it a try.
Use a flashlight
Check to see if there are any paw prints around or under your cat’s body. If so, you may want to check her mouth for signs of drooling and looking at how she moves her limbs, determine whether they look relaxed or tight.
If she seems agitated and is acting nervous, it could be because she is hurt or suffering from pain. It is very important to watch your pet when she is awake as some behaviors that seem normal can actually indicate something more serious going on.
It is best to take extra care with your furry friend while she is experiencing symptoms of pain. You do not need special medical knowledge to help her!
By using a flashlight and observing her behavior, you will definitely know if your feline companion is hurting or not. Try giving her someone to talk to to distract from the effort to evaluate her condition.
Check the cat's belly
When your cat is acting nervous or seems to be in pain, it's important to look for signs. If you notice red marks on the stomach, swelling, fur that looks ruffled or pulled back, drooling, heavy panting, or looking like she has trouble breathing, then take action immediately!
You can always try using gentle pressure to see if the baby will come out on its own. Press down with both hands just below the navel and wait 5 minutes. Sometimes parents are advised to tap the pelvis area as well, but this should only be done with care because it could hurt the mother.
Never pull the fetus out by hand. This could cause birth defects or death of the child.
Use a heating pad
A heat source can help ease your cat’s pain symptoms. Heating pads are one of the best ways to use warm compresses as a treatment for pain.
Many people add brown sugar, cocoa powder, or meaty bone broth to heated towels before applying them to their dogs or cats. These additions work similarly to hot water treatments for humans! The dried ingredients become liquid when mixed into the warmth, and those liquids can be applied directly onto the animal.
You may have heard of hot wet cloths being used to treat sore paws due to outside activity, such as walking or jumping. Thermal blankets are similar to hot water bowls but only apply heat to part of the body. Because they do not spread the heat evenly like a hot-water bowl, thermal blankets are better suited to treating paw injuries from lying down or sitting still.
Thermal blankets can also be used to administer comfort care during sleep. Since many animals suffer from insomnia due to stressors, using a thermal blanket at night could help promote restful sleeping.
Give them an injection
If you notice your cat acting or reacting strangely, it is important to determine whether they are in pain. It is very easy to administer medicine to a kitten or dog, but giving injections to cats can be tricky!
If you suspect your kitty may be hurt, there are several ways to confirm this. For example, when dogs play, they roll around and throw their body off of something to see how well it resists being pushed away. A playful cat will usually not do that, so if yours does not react with any kind of reaction, try to pick it up and see if it feels light and flimsy.
Also make sure to look for signs such as limping, stiffness, and/or fur raised along the area of the injection. Also, check to see if they seem sleepy or have red eyes- these could be symptoms of an overdose instead of a pain response.
Always call your vet first before administering anything yourself, especially things like pills or liquid medicines. Luckily, there are many apps and products designed to help identify if your pet is experiencing pain. Check out our article about helpful tips for helping your loved one get better faster to learn more.
Do not try to force the cat to move
A lot of people suggest trying to push or pull the animal away from something it is reluctant to go off of. If you do this, however, you may cause your pet more harm than before!
Many cats will become even more stubborn when they are hurt. When this happens, their protective instincts come rushing in, making them much harder to handle.
If you need to get rid of an item but want to be sure that your cat does not end up hurting itself, then don’t stress the cat out by attempting to take it away.
Instead, wait for the cat to walk past the object alone. Then at that moment, put your hand underneath the object so that it can’t see the item anymore.
When the cat tries to jump over or under the item, then run towards it to grab it, chances are it has already decided to give up its hiding place.