Knowing if Your Cat is in Pain


Understanding Your Cat’s Behavior

Since your cat doesn’t speak english, it can be hard for your cat to let you know they are in pain. Cats are also very good at hiding pain, which can make it even more challenging seeing the signs. It’s important to spend time with your cat and understand their personality when things are normal, so when a time comes and their behavior shifts, you will notice. You don’t need to be a detective to see these shifts in your cat’s behavior to get the treatment they need to recover. I’m going to share a ongoing situation that can help fellow cat owners and future cat adopters of The Way Home Rescue in spotting a cat that is in pain.

As a cat owner, seeing one of my cats in pain is a hard thing to go through, but if you take proper action and pay attention to your cat’s behavior, this could mean for an easier recovery and you could even save their life! First of all, if you ever notice or pick up on any bad signs, DO NOT WAIT, The Way Home Rescue recommends to take your cat to the vet as soon as you can! Recently, our cat Mona started to give off some signs and we began keeping a close eye on her in the next 24 hour period and took her to the vet the next day. We noticed that her mobility declined, didn’t use the litter box properly, and that she wasn’t jumping or going to places she normally does on a daily basis.

For those who might not know what to look for, The Way Home Rescue has put a list together for some basic signs that your cat might be giving you that they are in pain.

Isolation: Sometimes cats will isolate themselves when in pain, hiding more than usual
Minimal Mobility: Not jumping onto items they normally jump on, or just overall activity decrease
Grooming Issues: This can go both ways, either too much grooming in one spot, or lack of grooming all together
Loss of Appetite: Not eating or dramatic reduction in diet
Unusual Vocalizations: If your cat is growling or moaning when a certain spot is touched, or when they move a certain way
Litter Box Issues: If your cat is a litter box champ and doesn’t use the box one day or is spending above average time in the litter box, there is a really good chance something is wrong
Unusual Posture: Is your cat keeping their head in a low posture? This could be a sign of an injury
Temperament: Did your cat’s mood shift dramatically? They might not be mad at you, but in pain instead


Recognizing when a cat is in pain is simple in only the most extreme of cases. Thousands of years of natural selection have made cats VERY good at masking pain. -petMD


Adapting the Environment

After we found out Mona had a neck and back injury, it was important that we begin setting things up to help her navigate to the essentials easily and without too much effort. We moved her water and food to be very close to where she likes to sleep and gave her own half of the house to isolate her from the other two cats to make sure she could recover from her injury. We had a large litter pan that has high edges, but we brought in a smaller litter box to help her easily get in and out without a struggle. Even though we did the proper measures, her disc in her spine got worse. She began to loose the ability to use her back legs and now she is set to have surgery soon. This has been a sad experience, but it’s a reminder that you should always look for signs even if you think they aren’t there.

The Way Home Rescue

Mona’s Road to Recovery

Mona’s case is more of an extreme scenario, but this shows that little signs can lead to discovery of a major injury. She will be getting surgery this week and is expected to recover just fine. If you would like to learn more about Mona’s story, you can visit her gofundme page here. Use this post as something to look back on if someday in the future you need a resource for basic signs that your cat might be in pain. The Way Home Rescue is here to help!

If you are looking to adopt, please make your way to The Way Home Rescue’s pet page to see who is looking for their forever home!

Written by: Westley Ferguson, Web Designer & Front-End Developer for The Way Home Rescue