Bowmanville Veterinary Clinic

2826 HWY 2
Bowmanville, ON L1C 3K5


How to tell if your cat is in pain


Cats can often hide the fact that they are in pain.  That may be because in the wild, cats that appear sick or injured are vulnerable to predators.  However, studies show cats feel pain just like we do but just can't tell us about it.

Cat pain can be caused by such things as; arthritis, dental problems, urinary tract infections, bone disease and cancer.  Discomfort is also common following a surgical procedure.

You are in the best position to look for the subtle changes in behavior that may indicate your cat is suffering.  It is important to stay alert, because the sooner your cat's pain is diagnosed and treated, the sooner he or she can heal and resume a normal, happy life.

If your cat shows any of these behaviors and you suspect that pain may be the cause, please let us know immediately.



In a previously quiet cat

  • Meowing
  • Purring
  • Hissing
  • Growling


  • Restless
  • Reluctant to move
  • Difficulty getting up from a laying position
  • Repetitively gets up and lies down
  • Trembles or shakes
  • Limps
  • Can't leap as high
  • Seeks more affection
  • Avoids being petted or handled
  • Hides


  • Protects a part of the body
  • Doesn't put weight on a limb
  • Doesn't want to be held or picked up


  • Decreased appetite
  • Withdraws from social interaction
  • Changes in sleeping or drinking
  • Fails to use the litter box
  • Urinates frequently
  • Won't groom or grooms less, looks unkempt
  • Sleeps more


  • Licking
  • Biting
  • Scratching a particular part of the body


  • Grimaces, furrowed brow, vacant stare
  • Glazed, wide-eyed or looks sleepy
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Flattened ears
  • Pants when at rest


(Especially a previously friendly cat)

  • Acts out of character
  • Growls, hisses, bites
  • Pins ears back


  • Lays in a different position
  • Arches back or tucks in abdomen




Never administer pain medications to your cat without consulting your veterinarian.  Some human pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), are poisonous and can be fatal to cats. Different types of pain require different types of treatment.  After diagnosing the problem, we will explain the benefits, risks and costs associated with each option.  That way, together we can choose the treatment plan that best meets the needs of you and your cat.

Whenever you have a question or concern about your cat's health, please call us!