Cats are usually found kneading, exploring around the house, or simply relaxing in their favorite corner of the room or their owner's lap.
They usually purr when they are satisfied and completely comfortable, although this also may vary from cat to cat.
But what about the times when they are feeling discomfort in any way? The question most owners are concerned with is whether cats feel pain like we do?
There are several points to consider on the matter of cats and the way they perceive, feel and show pain.
Cats are less likely to be in a situation to feel pain
Humans and cats actually have a similar nervous system; both species have receptors in their skin which report stimulus, including stimulus that causes pain, to the brain.
However, although your feline companion feels pain when hurt, it still takes more for a cat to feel discomfort or pain than it takes for a human. Cats are more than capable of sitting next to a scorching radiator for certain periods of time.
They can also venture into stealing the food from a hot frying pan, without it causing a problem for them. So, in general, cats are much less likely to be affected by hot temperatures, but also cold temperatures.
Considering that cats are more agile than humans and have better reflexes, they are indeed more capable of avoiding injuries which would be inevitable for a human.
They feel pain, but tend not to show it
Although they are less sensitive to pain by nature, cats still feel pain when hurt, they just avoid showing it.
Unlike humans, who show and communicate their pain in order to receive help from others. Cats hide their discomfort because of their potentially dangerous environment.
This behavior could be labeled as another instinct, as cats avoid openly showing they are in pain in order not to appear weak in front of potential predators or competition.
This is why cats also differ from dogs. Although dogs are pack animals who turn to their pack for help, cats are more solitary by nature, and feel the need to rely on themselves only.
Still, this does not mean they do not need help when in pain, it just means it is more difficult for the owners to determine whether their cats are in pain.
Signs which show that cats are in pain
Cats try their best not to let their environment know they are injured or weakened. Which is why it may be difficult to determine if a cat is in pain and in need of help.
There are certain signs to look for that reveal this.
Hurting or injured cats may start hiding from their owners to avoid interaction. They may start licking a part of their body more than usual and they may lose their appetite.
Regarding their energy levels, cats in pain may start sleeping more and moving around less. These cats may also change in appearance; they may start squinting, their pupils might become dilated and affected parts of their body might swell.
Behavior may change as well, so they might become more prone to biting and scratching, especially if touched on the injured area of the body.
Even increased purring may indicate a cat in pain.
Sometimes, a cat's loss of appetite or its general apathy may mean emotional rather than physical pain, as cats are known to feel and exhibit something similar to grief when their animal or human companion leaves them.
In any case, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian on any suspicion that a cat is injured or suffering pain. Owners should also refrain from giving their cats any medication before consulting a trained veterinarian.
Cats have a higher chance of avoiding injury, due to their reflexes, but when they are injured or sick, they can feel pain just like humans and will need help.
They usually will not show this, so their owners should look out for specific signs indicating pain and contact a veterinarian for help or concerns.