What Your Cat Never Wants You To Know… She Is Hurting!

How to tell whether your cat is in pain?

If there’s one thing you know about owning a cat, it’s that every day is an adventure.

You do everything you can to keep your cat happy. You give them nutritious food, play with them when they need the exercise, and buy them the best toys on the market.

There’s just one thing you might not be doing – paying attention to your cat’s pain behavior. I mean really paying attention!

Is your cat in pain? So many cats suffer without you knowing: Do they need to see a Markham veterinarian? You may not have noticed. Read on…

Cats are good at hiding when they’re sick or hurt. You really have to pay attention. Some people are so fooled by a cat’s stoicism, they don’t feel they need to take their cat to a veterinary clinic that often.

In 2011, the American Veterinary Medical Association released an article addressing why people didn’t take their cats to the vet that year. According to a survey 53.9% didn’t go because their pets didn’t appear to be ill – or their owner’s couldn’t tell that their cat was ill.

We see this all the time. An older cat comes in because she stopped eating, lost weight etc. and the owner tells us that they were “always healthy and didn’t need to go to the vets for the past 8 years” and your veterinarian finds a chronic disease that progressed over the past many years. That cat had been sick for a long time and nobody noticed.

You’re probably wondering:

How could you have missed the problem earlier? Why do cats hide their issues?

It all comes down to genetics. Their ancestors didn’t have the luxury of showing weakness. If they did show weakness, chances were predators knew they were an easy meal. Members of their group could also abandon them.

Whether it makes sense to you or not, a kitty’s instincts go deep. We have to learn to adjust.

Cat in pain

This cat shows typical signs of pain:
Her eyes are squinting, her ears are slightly back. her legs arnen’t stretched out, but tucked under, and her whiskers area little pulled back.

So what are the signs of sickness or injury? When would you know that something is wrong?

1.      They stop grooming themselves. If there are tufts of fur sticking up on your cat’s body, you should take your pet to the nearest Markham vet as soon as you can. As minor as it seems, a healthy cat will groom himself and if the hair becomes rough, you have to call your vet.

2.      They defecate outside the litter box. Why? No, your pet isn’t doing this to anger you or teach you a lesson. While there are a few easy answers (a recent move, a dirty box, several cats sharing one box, etc.), you can’t rule out something serious. Some older cats fail to use the box because of arthritis, while other cats are dealing with a painful infection. Our veterinarian can help you uncover the mystery and get things back on track.

3.      They have no interest in the things they love. Maybe Fluffy isn’t eating, or she refuses to play.

4.      She is becoming old. Most cats don’t slow down with age. Age is not a disease. They slow down because they are in pain or sick. This is a huge sign that something is off.

5.      They hide and prefer to be on their own. Under beds, in closets, it doesn’t matter. If your normally sociable kitty won’t come out from their hiding spot, contact an veterinarian.

6.      Their eyes are squinting, their ears are back, their whiskers are pulled slightly back, they tuck their paws under and don’t stretch out. This could be a huge sign of pain.

7.      They occasionally make unusual sounds. Is your normally quiet cat meowing up a storm? Do they make strange noises when you pet them or pick them up?


Don’t be afraid to reach out to our clinic if you need help.


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Dr. Ernst Marsig, veterinarian in Markham

Fear Free Certified Practitioner

Practicing Veterinary Medicine in Markham for a Long and Happy Life of ALL Your Pets.

Animal Hospital of Unionville, a veterinary clinic on the north side of  Hwy 7, serving all pets in Markham, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Stouffville, and North York since 1966. We are your family vets for dogs, cats, pocket pets (rabbits, chinchillas, gerbils, mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, skinny pigs, etc.), ferrets, and birds (budgies, cockatiel, parrots, amazon, cockatoo, love birds, conures, African greys, finches, canaries, etc.). We pride ourselves to provide cost effective veterinary medicine and give you options for treatments. Some may think our services as cheap, but our goal is to give good value.

Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.

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