Cats are great at masking their pain and often find remote parts of your home in which to hide, which makes it difficult for owners to notice a problem and seek veterinary help to alleviate their discomfort. While cats hide when in pain, the injury or illness can progress and cause even more significant pain. At Boca Park Animal Hospital, we work extremely hard to bring you factual information you can trust, so we’ve taken the most frequently asked questions about cat pain management and answered them here as thoroughly and accurately as possible.

If you’re looking for a highly trained veterinarian in Las Vegas, NV, we’d love to see your cat for an exam if you think they might be in pain, so please call us at (702) 213-4513.

How will I know if my cat is in pain?

Cats are stoic animals that don’t often show pain. Their one telltale sign, however, is hiding. If your cat is typically very social but is suddenly hiding, that’s a good indication they’re in pain. Other symptoms may present themselves but are more challenging to identify if your cat is hiding and not moving around your home as usual. The AVMA has collected expert insight and identified up to 25 behavioral signs that a cat might be in pain.

Signs your cat might be in pain include:

  • Hiding when they’re typically social
  • Acting abnormally
  • Changes in urination
  • Not eating and/or drinking as usual
  • Showing aggression when picked up or touched
  • Behavioral changes related to not using the litter box properly
  • No longer jumping up on counters or stairwells
  • Reduction in activity
  • Being more vocal than usual

How will my veterinarian know if my cat is in pain?

At Boca Park Animal Hospital, we know a cat is in pain based on what the owner tells us from a historical standpoint, what they see at home, and what we're witnessing in the exam room. We will conduct a physical exam, starting with the nose and going down to the tail, examining the range of motion in their joints. We can identify any painful spots as we're going through our exam, and if nothing turns up, sometimes we need to do more advanced diagnostics.

Why is it important to avoid self-diagnosing pain in your cat?

Self-diagnosing pain in your cat can increase their pain and damage something further — whether it’s a fracture or gastrointestinal upset. Your veterinarian also doesn’t want you trying to identify pain at home because you can get hurt if your cat reacts aggressively because of the increased pain or not wanting to be touched. 

What are some possible conditions that cause cat pain, and what are some pain treatments?

Many conditions can cause pain in cats, from injury to cancer. The situation and what is hurting often dictate the type of pain management your veterinarian will recommend.

Conditions that cause pain in cats include:

  • Injury or trauma – Treated with pain medication to decrease discomfort 
  • Osteoarthritis in older cats – Treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to help reduce inflammation
  • Gastrointestinal issues such as inflammatory bowel disease – Treated with gastro protectants and antibiotics if there is vomiting and/or diarrhea involved
  • Cancer – Treated with chemotherapy and pain medication to help with discomfort

What is the most important consideration when it comes to cat pain management?

The most important thing to consider when it comes to pain management for cats is that veterinary medicine is far more advanced in this area for canine patients. Unfortunately, no singular pain medication helps all cat issues due primarily to how they process medications. When trying to manage pain in your cat, your veterinarian will most likely take a multiple-modality approach. This may include pharmaceuticals only or pharmaceuticals combined with alternative care. To achieve the best outcome for your cat, we may try various treatments to see what works best.

If you have further questions about cat pain management, reach out to your veterinarian. If you live in or near Las Vegas, NV, we’d love to see your cat if you suspect they’re in pain, so please don’t hesitate to call us at (702) 213-4513.