Deciding whether or not a cat is in pain can be a real challenge for caregivers and veterinarians. Cats retain many instincts of wild animals, including a tendency to hide signs of pain. This is a good strategy for a wild animal because a wild animal that appears painful or sick will likely be targeted by a predator.
Fortunately, people who live with the cat and are familiar with its normal behaviour can often recognize subtle signs that indicate that something is wrong, and bring these to the veterinarian’s attention. Here are a few examples:
Often, if a painful condition is found and a pain-relieving drug is prescribed, the cat may have a better appetite and resume its normal behaviours. Once again, the people who live with the cat will be in the best position to observe this and report back to the veterinarian.