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Something wrong with your cat? She won't tell you…


Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Cats Masking Pain

Your friendly feline has stopped laying on your lap as you watch TV. She's begun sleeping under a bookcase, she rarely eats, and she flinches when you touch her. You know something's not right, but what could it be?

Your cat won't let you know when she's not feeling well. Her natural survival instincts - and her knowledge that compromised health makes her vulnerable to predators - tell her to hide her illness, weakness, and/or pain. Your cat simply doesn't want to draw attention to the fact that she's not in top form.

Instinctive secrecy = enhanced safety

Your cat is naturally "programmed" to hide trouble, be it a sore muscle, achy joint, or even a chronic condition like dental, kidney, or heart disease. When she's not feeling well, she'll retire to a quiet spot to try to get better on her own. Unfortunately, this primitive tactic won't work if she has a problem that requires veterinary evaluation and treatment.

Watch for these signs that your cat needs assistance:

Streamline at-home care
Once you're fully attuned to your cat's health needs, stock your medicine cabinet with essentials that keep you ready for anything.
  • Our Pill Ease soft treats make pill-giving effortless.
  • Our Feline Health Record keeps comprehensive health details handy.
  • A helpful variety of medical supplies - the Comfy Cone, Pet Temp Thermometer, First Aid Kit, and many more - simplify care every day.

  • A reduction in normal activities like jumping, walking, running, or playing
  • Less frequent or complete lack of grooming
  • Hiding
  • Less interaction with you and your family
  • Increased sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Increased shedding, significant hair loss, or a greasy or matted coat
  • Skin irritation, rashes, or bumps
  • Flinching or aggression when touched
  • Changes in litter box usage (going more or less frequently, straining to go)
  • Accidents or eliminating outside the litter box
  • Increased or decreased vocalization
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Dilated pupils
  • Noticeable bad breath
  • Change in gum color

If your cat just doesn't "seem herself," and she changes her behavior and/or routine, contact your veterinarian right away. Your veterinarian can diagnose and treat underlying medical conditions or problems and get your cat on the road to better health and a normal life once again. Also, be sure to schedule yearly veterinary wellness exams for your cat, to help maintain her normal health and catch emerging health issues before they worsen.

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