Cats are one of the most difficult species to appreciate pain. Most species try to hide any evidence of pain- since they could be a target for predators! Also, pain is extremely subjective, and can be very difficult to measure.
What are some signs we can use to tell if a cat is in pain?
A broken bone is an obviously painful process, but other issues such as arthritis or stiffness can be more difficult to evaluate. With arthritis specifically, the first signs we usually see is a hesitation to jump onto high heights. Instead, they may jump onto a chair, before jumping onto a counter. As for litterbox usage, they may find it difficult to climb in and out of a tall box, leading to urinary accidents outside of the litterbox.
Cats are very fastidious groomers. The more you watch a young cat, notice how often they will groom their fur. A painful cat is less likely to groom as often!
They may also not wish to be picked up or handled, spend more time alone from their family, or have a change in personality.
If you think your cat may be in pain, please give your Veterinary clinic a call. Many human pain medications are toxic or even fatal to cats!