Pain (Acute, Chronic and Postoperative) in Cats

Sharp/Sudden Pain, Long Term Pain or Pain Following a Surgical Procedure in Cats

One of the biggest challenges in animal care is determining the source of your cat's pain. This is partly due to their limited ability to convey the pain. Cats vary greatly in their specific responses to pain, and the animal's age, species, experience, and current environment will also affect their response levels. There are numerous causes of pain; most are commonly associated with tissue damage. Treatment options are available that can help to reduce the amount of pain that your cat is experiencing.

The condition or disease described in this medical article can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects dogs please visit this page in the PetMD pet health library.

Symptoms and Types

The most common sign that a cat is in pain will be a vocal cue or a sign of significant agitation. Some cats will become extremely sensitive to touch and stimuli that would normally not cause them any discomfort. Cats that are experiencing long-term pain may exhibit signs of depression, reduction in appetite, trembling, and even biting/snapping when someone reaches out to pet them. Cats that are experiencing a sudden, sharp pain may experience rapid, shallow breathing, a rise in blood pressure and an increased heart rate.


Pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, including injury, degenerative issues in the animal's tissues, blunt trauma, or following surgery or medical treatment.


Since pain is challenging to diagnose, veterinarians will often complete a full physical examination to rule out biological causes for the pain.

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