Fraser Valley Animal Hospital

2633 Ware Street
Abbotsford, BC V2S 3E2


Feline Signs of Pain

Cats and dogs manifest pain in different ways. Cats tend to become quiet and withdrawn. They are extremely good at hiding their pain. Here is a list of signs to watch for if you are unsure if your cat is in pain.

  • Almond shaped eyes caused by pain facial tension
  • Droopy head
  • Droopy ears
  • Tucked tail
  • Does not want to play
  • Lack of social interaction with owners, visitors, other pets
  • Does not enjoy playing with toys or usual activities
  • Subtle lack of alertness (early) gradually increasing to a deep apathy
  • Diminished appetite
  • Body tension
  • Facial tension
  • Accepting treats or food gingerly
  • Lack of interest in walks, swimming, chasing the ball
  • Doesn’t respond when called
  • Worried or sad facial expression
  • Ears pulled back or flattened
  • Eyes wide open to expose “whites of eyes”
  • Avoidance of direct eye contact, when talking to them
  • Lips slightly retracted in a “grin”
  • Whiskers pulled back against cheeks caused by facial tension
  • Uncomfortable when resting
  • Shifts frequently while resting
  • Difficulty getting up
  • Excessive panting (particularly when not hot)
  • Head held abnormally low
  • Shivering/trembling/shaking
  • Unsettled
  • Pacing
  • Difficulty moving after a long rest
  • Difficulty laying down
  • Slow or abnormal gait
  • Limping
  • Hunched back
  • Compulsive licking or rubbing of certain body part
  • Looking at sides or other body part suddenly and/or worriedly
  • Suddenly running away from “nothing in particular”
  • Can’t jump on bed or couch
  • Reluctance to lie down
  • Sleeps in a position that avoids a certain body part from touching ground or bed
  • Purplish tongue colour (not gums)
  • “Guards” a certain part of body
  • Reluctance to touch
  • Reluctance to be picked up
  • Isolating themselves from other family members
  • Disinterested in surroundings
  • Unusual attention seeking
  • Flinching when touched a certain area
  • Unusual aggressive behaviour in an otherwise docile pet
  • Moaning or whimpering
  • Refusal to eat
  • Unable to get up
  • Crying out in pain
  • Clenching of teeth, biting down on an object
  • Howling
  • Urinating or defecating in house, where normally would not happen

If you are seeing these signs, or have concerns of other symptoms, please call 604-854-2313 or email us at and we will help you with your cat’s comfort.

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