Behavioral Signs of Pain in Cats
By Marci L. Koski, PhD, Feline Behavior Solutions
Cats are particularly skilled at hiding their pain. This is a survival adaptation; because cats are both predators and prey, they don't want to expose potential weaknesses to other predators and make themselves more vulnerable
to predation. If a cat gets to the point of expressing behavior
that is the result of obvious pain or discomfort (e.g. shallow breathing, trembling, collapse, and many other overt signs of physical distress), it is often an emergency situation.
Here are some behavioral changes to be aware of; it is important to note that many cats exhibit some of these characteristics normally (e.g. shy cats will hide!), but what you are looking for is change - something outside the normal of what you have previously observed for any individual cat.
Changed in litter box behavior:
1. Decreased or no urination in the litterbox.
2. Decreased or increased urination.
3. Urination outside of the letterbox.
4. Defecation outside of the litterbox.
Changes in feeding or drinking behavior:
1. Decreased or no appetite, or eating a lot more.
2. Decreased or increased thirst.
Changes in social behavior:
2. Not engaging with you or other pets
4. Avoidance or sensitivity to being petted or handled.
Changes in physical activity or appearance:
1. Weight loss or gain
2. Overgrooming or reduced grooming
3. Sitting still and hunched over or reluctance to move
4. Grimace scale
5. Restlessness, inability to settle
6. Change in gait, limping, or difficulty jumping
7. Purring or excessive vocalizations