2001-Fri May 26 07:10:24 EDT 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
If you’ve ever awoken to the soft pitter-patter of paws on your face, thrilled to the grace of a glorious sofa-to-loveseat leap or felt the telltale squish of a hairball beneath your bare feet, you’ll know that cats are special. So special, in fact, that they manage to bring their feline singularity to their expression of discomfort, too.
Yes, cats are every bit as likely to occult any signs of pain, illness or discomfort as they are to demonstrate feline uniqueness in the above- mentioned ways. They are oddballs, indeed.
Signs of injury like hiding, eating less and, when seriously afflicted, perhaps favoring a limb or failing to make their leaps as graciously as before, can be so subtle that most owners are liable to miss them.
Now, that’s not to say that cat owners are clueless. In most cases they’ll observe a difference in their pet’s behavior.
Nonetheless, they may misread the signs and fail to consider that what their pet is feeling is related to outright pain. Pain, some may assume, comes with yowling or growling, not with the more subtle changes I’ve described above.
With those very human limitations in mind, here’s my list of the 10 most overlooked or misunderstood painful maladies in cats:
1. Cat bite abscesses. When a cat starts to limp, most owners tend to think about strains and sprains as a result of all that feline athleticism. What most cat owners don’t realize is that cats rarely injure themselves in this way. Cars, dogs, coyotes and other cats tend to be more common sources of serious injuries.
Of these, cat bites are the most typical among my younger, outdoor-venturing patients. Indeed, I’d venture to say that about 75 percent of my feline limpers are ultimately diagnosed as having received a cat bite. And a teensy-weensy bite wound is by far the most common finding — apart from the often too-subtle evidence of pain. Some owners may even notice a swollen area near the bite wound that can be warm to the touch or have some discharge.
These cases often call for the area to be clipped and cleaned so the abscess can be drained, if needed. Some cats may also need antibiotics and pain medications.
2. Ingrown toenails. In my experience, older indoor-only cats who limp visibly in one or more paws are more likely to suffer from an oft-overlooked issue: ingrown toenails. That’s because owners aren't always aware that geriatric cats’ toenails tend to overgrow, sometimes curling painfully into their paw pads.
But really, it can happen to cats of any age if you don't stay on top of nail trimming.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.