Cats have a long history of surviving in the wild without human help (though, no doubt, they prefer their pampered lives!). Hiding their signs of pain is one of the instinctual behaviours they have retained. In the wild, showing pain is showing weakness and can alert predators!
What does this mean for your beloved house cat? You may *never* see your cat limp. If you hear your cat cry in pain, their pain is likely intense and severe. Because your cat is so skilled at hiding their pain, you need to be a bit of a detective, working with your veterinary team to catch earlier signs of pain.
Many cats are in pain.
90% of cats over the age of 5 have osteoarthritis. This degenerative condition causes inflammation and pain. Why do so many cats have arthritis? Cats are amazing athletes. Did you know that the average housecat can achieve a vertical leap to a height of five feet or more *without* a running start?? That is six and a half times a cat’s height, which would be like a person jumping 450 feet in the air from a standstill!
Our cats regularly do amazing feats, like jumping from the floor to the top of the fridge. They jump up so casually that it’s easy to forget what an impressive leap they’re making. The repeated impacts of jumps like this catch up to cats as they age. Additionally, many cats are overweight, putting extra stress and strain on their joints.
How can you tell if your cat is in pain?
Although you may never see your cat limp or hear them vocalize, there are many subtle signs that they are in pain. Any time you notice a change in your cat’s behaviour, talk to your veterinary team!
A change in your cat’s regular grooming routine can be a sign of discomfort or pain. Cats will sometimes pay special attention to a sore joint. If you see your cat repeatedly licking an area above a joint, they could be painful.
For cats to groom their back and tail base, they need to be able to twist right around. A stiff and sore cat may no longer be able to move comfortably to groom themselves properly. If your usually fastidious cat looks a bit scruffy, this could be a sign of pain.
A stiff and sore cat may have trouble climbing over a tall lip into their litter box. If you have noticed accidents around the house or your cat seems reluctant to use their litter box, they may be painful.
The posture required for your cat to defecate can be painful if their spine or hips are sore. A constipated cat could be a painful cat who has been avoiding going to the bathroom. If you notice any change in litter box behaviour, talk to your veterinary team!
Scratching and Stretching
There are few things more enjoyable to watch than a cat luxuriously stretching! Often, cats will stretch up onto their scratching posts before scratching or will stretch when they wake up. If you have noticed that your cat is no longer stretching fully or not scratching like they used to, they may be in pain. The movement to fully extend their front legs will be painful if they have arthritis in their shoulders or spine.
Getting to their Favourite Snoozing Spot
Every cat has their favourite spot to nap! Some cats like to lounge on the couch; some prefer the privacy of a closet (ideally on top of your clean clothes!). If you have noticed a change in your cat’s snoozing plans, it could be a sign that they are painful and no longer able to get to their favourite spot.
Sleeping and Interaction
Although it can be perfectly normal for a cat to sleep as much as 18 hours of the day, it may be a sign that they are painful if your cat has been sleeping more. Cats who become less playful or more grumpy are often painful.
Any time you notice a change in your cat, talk to your veterinary team! They can help you get to the bottom of what is going on and help you help your cat.
Antinol can help. One of the significant challenges with helping cats is how they metabolize medications and supplements differently than dogs. Many pain medications commonly used for dogs are NOT safe for cats. In fact, there are no pain medications safe for long-term use in cats.
Antinol has gone through clinical trials to demonstrate both efficacy and safety. Talk to your veterinary team about how Antinol can help your cat!