How Do I Know If My Aging Cat Is In Pain? 4 Things to Look For!

As your cat ages, its behavior changes. For example, your once playful cat will enjoy sleeping on the couch much more than before. It is important to learn to recognize what is normal aging and what can be a sign of pain. Here are some of the most common behavioral changes.

Cats are experts at hiding pain. As a cat owner, you need to be observant of your cat and recognize even subtle signs of pain. A change in the cat’s movement pattern can be one such sign.

Change in the cat’s fur

In the aging cat, one of the most common behavioral changes is that the cat washes itself less and can develop greasy fur and tufts. As you probably know, cats are extremely picky about their hygiene and spend several hours every day washing themselves. In cats older than 10 years, osteoarthritis is common. It is a chronic joint disease that causes pain in one or more joints in the body. The pain that occurs when the cat tries to clean the fur on the lower back, pelvis and hind legs causes the cat to stop taking care of its fur in these areas. If you see signs of a dull, oily or mottled coat in these areas or a general unkempt appearance, consult your veterinarian.

Changed behavior around the litter box

In normal cases, cats are very careful about where they meet their needs. If your cat suddenly stops using the litter box and performs its needs in other places in your home, this may be a sign of pain. For cats with back or hip pain, stepping over a high ledge to a box can be too painful. If your cat shows a change in behavior around the litter box, contact your veterinarian. A good tip is also to have a litter box with lower edges for the older cat.

Problems with stairs

Pain in the back and hips can also cause discomfort for the cat when walking on stairs. This can make your cat reluctant or completely refuse to go up the stairs. If you have the litter box on a different floor than where the cat usually spends its time, this can be a big problem. Help your senior cat by placing the litter box on the floor where it spends the most time.

Reluctance to jump and climb

A common pain indicator for cats that normally like to jump or climb on furniture and window sills is if they suddenly stop doing this. Some may even begin to ask to be carried to the places they usually jumped up on themselves. You may also see that the cat uses different or easier ways to get there. They avoid higher jumps up or down and take several shorter jumps rather than one big jump. This is a sign that needs closer evaluation and it may be a good idea to contact your veterinarian.

Other signs of pain

Other signs that your senior cat is experiencing pain may be that it is losing interest in the toys it used to love, or the birds outside your window. Instead, it chooses to lie in one place for a long time or hide under the bed. Many cats that experience pain do not like to be picked up or petted. Some cats may exhibit aggressive behavior when touched in certain areas of the body. Other warning flags are if your cat lies down when eating or drinking, or if it licks excessively so that bald spots appear. If you notice any of these changes in your cat, consult your veterinarian for advice.

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