Pain, Pain, Go Away

Photo courtesy of Devin Semrow

We all know how stoic cats can be, so recognizing their behavior changes can be the main indication they are in pain. Since you know your feline the best, realizing when they are exhibiting abnormal behavior can help improve their quality of life.

There are 2 main categories of pain that cats can experience:

  1. Acute pain – This pain can be caused by injury, trauma, surgery, or other medical conditions or diseases. It occurs during the regular time of inflammation and healing, and can last up to 3 months.
  2. Chronic Pain – This pain occurs when it lasts longer than the normal healing time or persists in cats who have conditions where healing will not occur.
    1. One of the most common, chronic and painful diseases in cats is Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) or arthritis, and as many as 92 percent of cats display some clinical symptoms. This is one of the most under-diagnosed diseases in cats since cats’ natural instinct is to hide or mask any symptoms of of pain since they do not want to display anything that could be perceived as weakness.

Once your veterinarian determines which type of pain your cat is experiencing, an appropriate plan can be created to treat them. Depending on the cause, your veterinarian may recommend medication, physical therapy, or making environmental changes to help make your cat more comfortable.

The most important part of helping your cat remain pain-free is to recognize any changes in their behavior. This is why we recommend yearly exams for cats under 8 years of age, and bi-yearly exams for cats over 8, so the veterinarian can assess your perform an exam and assess your cat’s overall health.

For more information about what behavior changes to look for that may indicate your cat is in pain, click here.

Written for Blum Animal Hospital by Jackie Sheppard.