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How to Recognize Pain in Ageing Cats

How to recognise pain in ageing cats


As cats age, we generally see changes in their behaviour. We need to differentiate between normal behaviour changes in ageing cats and abnormal behaviours that can be important signals of pain.

Cats are very good at hiding signs of pain, so cat owners need to be very observant to recognize when their cat needs extra help. One of the most common pain-associated behaviour changes we see in ageing cats is a decrease in grooming and self-care because cats are, by nature, extremely finicky about keeping themselves clean. So if you notice your cat developing matted hair or suddenly begins missing the litter box or eliminating in other areas of the house then that can be an important signal of pain.

Others from these two significant signs here are some other changes that you should watch for:

  • No longer likes you to pick them up
  • Doesn’t jump on furniture, counters and windowsills anymore and instead ask to be lifted to these places
  • The cat no longer likes you to pet on his/her back (below the waist, over his hips, etc.)
  • The cat suddenly responds negatively when you touch in certain locations
  • A once-friendly cat now hides under the bed when guests are visiting and becomes aggressive when people try to pet her/him
  • Licking more (often causing bald spots) over joints
  • Loss of interest in toys, catnip or animals outside

In any of the above scenarios, pain should be on the list of considerations. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian and voice your concerns. The sooner pain can be identified and treated, the better it is for everyone. Your kitty will thank you!