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How Do Cats Feel Pain?

Updated: August 8, 2022 by Kristen Chapple

Along time there have been some misconceptions that cats don’t feel pain the way we do, so they can be used in all kinds of research tests. That is a wrong assumption, as cats do feel pain, but there’s a curiosity on how cats feel pain.

It’s a known fact that cats have a very similar nervous system to that of us humans, but there are a few variations that may cause our little feline friends to experience or show signs of pain in different ways than we humans do.

How Do Cats Feel Pain

While it has been noticed that cats have different perceptions to the same stimuli, as their reactions differ than those of us or other animals such as dogs, there’s no doubt that they feel pain.

An animal that wouldn’t feel pain wouldn’t be able to survive, no matter the environment.

Physical Pain

Unlike dogs, who show their emotions and pain in an open way to their dog or human friends, cats hide their symptoms due to their more solitary nature which means that showing their vulnerabilities might put them in danger of being attacked by other larger animals out there.

On the upside, cats are known for their ability to produce endorphins, which act like painkillers for the cat, allowing a normal functioning when they have some moderate pain. But that’s also a problem for an owner not being able to tell when his or her cat is in pain.

What’s more, a cat in pain will more likely react by a defensive aggression towards what or who’s causing the pain rather than by a reflex action such as jerking back its limb.

Temperature Extremes

You might be amazed to know that cats are quite insensitive to both low and high temperatures, as they are able to walk and sleep on ice and snow or keep their paws on that hot frying pan until they finish eating whatever it was that they found there to eat – your dinner most probably.

That has a lot to do with the fact that a cat’s body doesn’t have heat receptors and that they only feel discomfort when their body temperature reaches 52 C (126 F). They have heat receptors in the nose and on the tongue.

Emotional Pain

In addition to physical pain, your little furry friend can feel psychological pain as well. Researchers have come to the conclusion that cats feel something similar to the grief in humans, with symptoms going as far as loss of appetite, depression, and even mourning to death in extreme cases.

So next time when your cat is feeling blue, offering her a little bit more attention than normal might ease her pain.

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