Sometimes detecting your pets pain can be a hard task to accomplish and generally over looked by most owners. This is because cats are experts at masking their pain, no matter how bad. This is instinctual behaviour that is normal in all cat breeds. Showing signs of pain in the wild could turn your beloved Fluffy into dinner for a predator that is much stronger and faster, thus the incredible pain hiding talents. Please do not get down on yourself if you were unable to detect that Fluffy was in pain at one point in his life because even the best of us cannot detect it at times. Instead, take these helpful hints into consideration and next time you think Fluffy isn't acting like himself go through this checklist.
1. Not Eating/Drinking - This is the number one red flag. Generally when Fluffy feels ill the first thing you will notice is untouched food or water. This can sometimes be irrelevant if you have a finicky eater or a cat who grazes. You know your pets eating patterns better than anyone else so if something seems off then it likely is.
2. Hiding - Another common report for owners is that Fluffy is hiding out under the bed or somewhere inaccessible to most humans (or predators). The owners are absolutely right when they say "hiding". Fluffy is trying to hide out from danger as he likely does not feel strong enough to fight if need be.
3. Lethargic - If Fluffy suddenly wants to sleep 24/7 and is usually running around playing most hours the day, chances are he is not feeling well. This is a bit harder to access in our couch potato cats but if Fluffy doesn't even want to get up for his favourite treat you should be concerned.
4. Aggression - Unexplained aggression is a good indicator of pain. If you can see no other reason for the aggression (new pet member, usual temperament, irritation from over-stimulation) pain is likely the cause especially if Fluffy gets aggressive when you are handling him. Be very careful with an aggressive cat and handle gently to avoid further pain and thus further aggression.
5. Vocalizing - A cat in severe pain will vocalize loud and frequently and usually sounds different from their normal meow or cry. Sometimes cats get frisky and just like to talk (such as the Siamese breed). If you have had your cat for a while now you should be able to tell the difference, you will know when its vocalizing vs. just talking.
If Fluffy is experiencing any or a combination of the above symptoms, please don't hesitate to give your veterinarian a call. They are there to help, and if it's after hours give your local emergency clinic a call. Better to be safe than sorry.
(some crude humour, thats actually just kitten food hehe)