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10 Signs Your Cat Is In Pain

  • Post category:Health
  • Post last modified:March 3, 2020
  • Reading time:7 mins read
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Are you wondering if your cat is in pain? Here are 10 signs your cat is in pain. Cats are really great at quietly hiding any illnesses or injuries they may have come down with. There are no ways for them to communicate directly to us that they are in pain or feeling sick. 

This can make it extremely difficult for us humans to realize there’s a problem with our beloved feline companions that need attention. And because of this, sometimes it ends up being too late to properly care for our four legged friends. 

Thankfully, though, there are numerous signs that we can watch out for that will help us figure out that there is a problem with our cat that needs addressing. Below are 10 signs your cat may be in pain. 

They Hide More Than Usual

One sign that your cat may be in pain is that they seem to hide more than they usually do. This tends to be one of the most common signs that your beloved feline is experiencing pain. Is your cat all of a sudden hiding in your closet, under the couch, or in another area that they normally don’t hide in? If so, this might mean that they are in pain. 

Changes In Grooming Habits

10 signs your cat is in pain

Another sign that your cat may be in pain is a noticeable change in their grooming habits. For example, if they completely stop grooming themselves, they might seem to have an unkempt look to them. If this is not normal for your feline companion, then perhaps they are in pain. 

Conversely, they might seem to be overgrooming or cleaning a particular area on their body excessively.  When this happens, check the area that they are licking at. There may be any number of reasons that they are licking that one general area including wounds, infections, broken bones, or even a cancerous lump.

Eating and Drinking Habits Suddenly Change

Has your cat suddenly stopped eating or drinking? This again may be a sign that your cat is in pain. Cats who are sick will not have a very big appetite and may actually completely lose their appetite altogether. 

If your cat is normally interested in what’s in their food dish and now they have seemed to stop caring about what’s in it? 

In my home, I can always tell when one of my cats is sick when I get out the wet food, and they still aren’t interested in it. Wet food is like a drug to most cats. If you have given your cat wet food, then you definitely know what I’m talking about. And if your cat doesn’t even want wet food, it’s time to call a veterinarian.  

Decrease in Energy Levels

It is well known that cats generally just love to sleep a lot. It’s in their DNA and is a normal daily feline habit. However, if your cat seems to be sleeping more than normal, this could mean that they feel sick or are experiencing some type of pain. 

If your cat normally loves to play with your other cats or pets and now they really don’t seem all too interested in playing, they may be in pain.

Feline Aggression

Cats who are not feeling well tend to be a bit more aggressive towards humans they trust or towards any other pets you have that they normally get along with. This usually happens when you touch an area on their body that is in pain. Don’t take it personally as it’s just a defense mechanism. 

However, sometimes cats fight with other cats for other reasons such as fighting over a female cat or fighting over territory. Make sure this is not the case first before you assume your cat is in pain.

Excessive Purring

An often overlooked sign of feline pain is excessive purring. Most people assume that purring is a good thing. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes, when a cat is in pain, they may start to excessively purr. 

Cats use purring as tool to heal themselves. Purring is essentially a vibration at around 50 to 150 HZ. It has been scientifically proven that this type of vibration has healing properties. 


One obvious sign that your cat is in pain is when they are limping. This usually results when there has been some type of trauma done on it’s paw. A common way this may happen is if you accidentally step on your cat’s foot. When this happens, monitor their behavior for a day or two as sometimes the pain may be just temporary. This has happened in my home numerous times. Usually my cat ends up being just fine after a day.

Rapid Breathing

Another sign your cat may be in pain is that they seem to be breathing or panting rapidly. Unless they’ve been running around the house chasing a laser light for an extended period of time, this is not normal. Please take them to your veterinarian as soon as possible. 

Excessive Shaking and Trembling

Cats who are in extreme pain may start shaking or trembling. Unless you have a reason to suspect that they are only scared, this may be another sign that they are in pain. 

Excessive or Non-Existent Vocalization

If your cat is normally not a very vocal feline, and all of a sudden they are excessively meowing, this too may be a sign that they are in pain. The same is true for the opposite. If your cat usually meows all the time and now they are not doing so, it’s a sign. 

Keep in mind that there are other reasons your cat may be meowing such as being in heat or letting you know they are hungry.

Final Thoughts

It is important to note that most of these signs will appear together or in conjunction with one another, and are not meant to be an exclusive sign that your cat is sick, injured, or dying. 

Sometimes there are other circumstances that might result in these signs appearing such as moving to a new home, allowing a stranger into the home, or adopting another pet. 

When in doubt, always bring your cat to the vet and never wait too long if you know without a doubt that something is not right with your cat. You’re better off safe than sorry.