Fourty Signs Indicating Pain In Cats

A panel of experts concluded that the signs most frequently refer to arthritis, degenerative joint disease and fractures, cancers (in particular osteosarcoma), problems related to the urinary tract (such as cystitis and obstruction of the ureters and urethra), pancreatitis, eye conditions (uveitis), dental and oral conditions (dental fracture, stomatitis, gingivitis), general trauma, and surgical pain. Less frequently the signs refer to peritonitis, diabetes, bowel disease, foreign body ingestion, vertebral disc disease, thromboembolism, neuropathic pain, skin damage and dermatological conditions such as burns, wounds and ear infections, visceral inflammation, oro-facial pain syndrome, bites and cat fights.

Cat owners may view certain changes in their cat's behavior as an inevitable part of the natural ageing process and not report them to the vet as a concern or at least not until they become quite severe. Below are the most common behavioral signs indicating pain:

  1. Lameness
  2. Difficulty to jump
  3. Abnormal gait
  4. Reluctant to move
  5. Reaction to palpation
  6. Withdraw/hiding
  7. Absence of grooming
  8. Playing less
  9. Appetite decrease
  10. Overall activity decrease
  11. Less rubbing toward people
  12. General mood
  13. Temperament
  14. Hunched up posture
  15. Shifting of weight
  16. Licking a particular body region
  17. Lower head posture
  18. Blepharospasm
  19. Change in form of feeding behaviour
  20. Avoiding bright areas
  21. Growling
  22. Groaning
  23. Eyes closed
  24. Body tense
  25. Hissing
  26. Over grooming
  27. Rolled up
  28. Lying on its side
  29. Crouching
  30. Meowing
  31. Crying
  32. Half blink
  33. Ear rotated
  34. Panting
  35. Trembling or shivering
  36. Spitting
  37. Tongue showing
  38. Trying to bite someone
  39. Reduction urination
  40. Lying ventrally
Cute blue-eyed cream-colored long-haired thai like cat.


  1. Behavioral Signs of Pain in Cats: An Expert Consensus. Isabella Merola and Daniel S. Mills, Jan S Suchodolski, Editor

Home Contact RSS