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Signs a Cat is in Pain

A cat looking directly into the camera

Cats are masters of disguise, especially when it comes to hiding their pain. As a pet owner, it's crucial to recognise the subtle signs that indicate your cat may be suffering. This knowledge can make a significant difference in managing their health and comfort, particularly for those in the UK seeking to provide the best care for their feline companions. In this blog, we'll explore the key signs of pain in cats, how to identify a cat in pain, and ways to relieve pain in cats, with a special focus on older dogs.

Recognising Pain in Cats

Cats often hide their pain as a survival instinct, which means the signs can be easy to miss. Here are some indicators that your cat might be in discomfort:

  1. Changes in Behaviour: A cat in pain may become more withdrawn or aggressive. Look for changes in how they interact with you or other pets.

  2. Altered Grooming Habits: Over-grooming or neglecting grooming can be a sign of pain. Cats may lick a painful area excessively or avoid grooming because it hurts to move.

  3. Changes in Posture: A hunched posture can indicate discomfort, as can reluctance to change positions or difficulty jumping up or down from their favourite spots.

  4. Vocalisation: Increased meowing, hissing, or growling can be a sign your cat is in distress.

  5. Altered Eating and Sleeping Habits: A decrease in appetite or changes in sleeping patterns can also indicate pain or discomfort.

  6. Limping or Difficulty Moving: This is one of the more obvious signs of pain, indicating joint issues or injury.

How to Relieve Pain in Cats

If you suspect your cat is in pain, the first step is to consult with a veterinarian. They can diagnose the cause of the pain and recommend appropriate treatment. Treatment may include medication for pain relief, dietary changes, or surgery for more severe conditions. It's crucial to follow your vet's advice and never give your cat medication without consulting them first, as some human medications can be toxic to cats.

For older cats, pain relief focuses on managing arthritis or joint pain that comes with age. This can include prescription medications, supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin, and physical therapies. Weight management aiming for your cat to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight is the factor that will make the most difference to their comfort levels.


Recognising pain in your cat and taking steps to relieve it are essential aspects of caring for your pet. By staying alert to the signs of pain in cats and consulting with your veterinarian, you can ensure your feline friend lives a comfortable and happy life. Remember, early intervention is key to preventing more serious health issues and managing pain effectively.

For UK pet owners looking for compassionate end-of-life care for their pets, our veterinary service offers support and guidance. We understand the deep bond between pets and their families and are here to help you through every step of the journey.


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