How to Tell If a Cat Is In Pain?

cat at doctor

It is very important that you are able to tell if your cat is in pain.

There are certain signs that are fairly common that you need to be aware of.

The sooner you realize this is the case with your cat, the sooner you can get them help.

1. Lethargic Behavior

Has your normally active and upbeat kitty become a lethargic lay-about? If so, it could be because they are in a significant amount of pain. Physical discomfort can cause a cat to stop running and jumping around like usual.

It is important that you take note of any major change in your cat’s behavior, including lethargy. This is actually one of the more common signs of pain that you will need to be aware of with felines.

It’s likely that your cat is not moving around as much as usual because of physical pain as well as depression. When a cat is experiencing a lot of pain, their mental health is often affected as well.

2. Increased Vocalizing

When you notice your cat vocalizing more than usual, it could be due to them experiencing some sort of pain. A lot of cats will make a yowling sound when they are feeling discomfort of some kind. It is important that you pay attention to this behavior, as your cat is definitely trying to tell you something.

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3. Excess Grooming Behavior

Has your cat started licking itself more than usual? If so, there is a good chance that the part of their body they are licking is causing them pain for some reason. Take a close look at whichever area your cat is moving its tongue across.

cat in pain

4. Change in Your Cat’s Gait

Any change in the way your cat is walking is definitely a cause for concern. If they are limping, it is probably because they have sustained an injury of some kind. It is also possible that your cat has arthritis or some other chronic condition.

5. Increased Aggression

A cat that is exhibiting usually aggressive behavior is often experiencing pain to some degree. Is your kitty lashing out at you with its claws or teeth when it normally does not? Perhaps it is doing this when you try to pet a certain part of its body.

If this is the case, you’ll need to do a very close visual inspection of your cat’s body to check for any injuries they might have sustained. Make sure that you are very careful when doing this so you don’t end up getting clawed up.

6. Lack of Appetite

Cats that are in a considerable amount of pain also tend to eat less than normal. A change in your kitty’s appetite is always cause for concern. Make sure that you get your cat to the vet as soon as possible if you notice this particular sign.

There are a lot of different issues with your cat that can cause them to stop eating as much as usual. This is precisely why it is so important that you take them to the vet for a very thorough examination.

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old cat pain

7. Increased Heart Rate

The more pain your cat is in, the faster their heart rate will get. This is because of the added physical and emotional stress they are experiencing as a result of their discomfort. All you have to do is to put your hand by your cat’s heart to see if this is the case.

8. Change in Sleeping Habits

A cat in pain may sleep more or less than usual. You’ll always want to pay close attention to any change in your kitty’s sleeping habits. This often indicates that there is some sort of problem that needs to be addressed.

Restlessness in general is a common sign of pain among animals, including cats. It is fairly normal for cats that are in pain to vocalize a lot at night because they cannot sleep and their owner isn’t awake to comfort them.

9. They don’t want to be petted

If your cat seems to shy away from you every time you try to pet it, something is most certainly wrong. Cats usually love being petted, so you’ll need to sit up and take notice when your kitty is running away when you try to do this.

Keep in mind that your cat could be experiencing pain in any part of their body if they shy away when you try to touch them. They are most likely afraid that you are going to touch whichever part of them is most sensitive at the moment.

10. Change in Litter Box Habits

Depending on what is causing your cat’s pain, they might use their litter box more or less than usual. For example, a urinary tract infection often causes a cat to pee in areas outside of the litter box.

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You will need to take any changes in your cat’s toilet habits very seriously. This is yet another sign that your cat is in pain. The source of your feline’s pain could be anything from a UTI to irritable bowel syndrome. You’ll have to take them to a vet to see what is really going on.


  • There are lots of different ways to tell if a cat is in pain, so it is important that you pay close attention to the signs.
  • A cat that is in pain often vocalizes more than usual. They can make hissing, yowling, and other noises.
  • If your cat is grooming itself more or less than usual, it might be because it is experiencing pain with a certain part of their body.
  • You will also want to keep a lookout for aggressive behavior. This includes lashing at you with wits claws or teeth.
  • Any changes in your cat’s sleeping habits can indicate that your kitty has a problem with pain.
  • When your cat doesn’t want to be petted, it is probably because they are currently experiencing discomfort of some kind.
  • Make sure that you get your cat to the vet immediately if you notice any of these signs.