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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pain - how do you tell if your human is in pain?

Dear George,
I am looking after an elderly human who has some health problems. I am finding it difficult to know when she is in pain. Obviously when we cats are in pain, we hiss, scratch or bite if somebody tries to pick us up. She doesn't do any of this when I crawl up the bed and sleep close to her. However she does make odd noises - sort of intakes of breath, wimpers and yowling noises. Is this pain?
Yours worried

Dear Annie,
Humans show pain in a different way to us. Apart from scratching or biting when being picked up, we stay silent. We don't make crying noises when in pain. That's because Nature has designed us to stay quiet in case a predator hears us and kills us. Look at it this way, a cat who cried loudly after a car accident would pretty soon be eaten by a fox here in the UK.
We are much much more stoic than humans, who really are pretty wimpish - another sign of their innate inferiority. We usually just go very very still - stay in our beds quietly resting, may not eat, and possibly have to pee outside the litter tray if it is too far away or too difficult to get into.
Humans are noisy and show their pain in their faces. You will see her face sort of twist up. She may have an intake of breath, as you have noticed. Some humans even shout, swear, yelp or cry. Poor creatures. Just not brave enough in the face of adversity.
There's not much you can do for her anyway, Annie. Go carefully on the bed, so that she isn't tempted to push you off. Purr loudly. That really helps a human who is lying unable to sleep. Purring acts as a kind of therapy for them. We have a responsibility to our pets so try to be helpful, even if you despise her lack of courage.
Love George


  1. Annie, what a glorious little tuxie kitten you are!

    George is right, apes are useless at pain and just being there for them and getting your purr on will reassure your poorly ape that all will be well. Sometimes apes try being stoic and don't take their medicine. Try patting her packets and bottles of painkillers about a bit. This will remind your ape to take her medicine and hopefully entertain her a bit which will also take her mind off the pain.

    Apes are lucky, they can take medicines for pain that we can't, because our systems are so much more refined than theirs.

    We send love and purrs to your ape Annie, we are sure you are doing a sterling job.

    Oliver & Gerry xx

  2. If the human is suffering from aches and pains of getting older, sometimes a good massage helps. We like to knead on our humans who have tense muscles and lay on them to provide relaxing warmth.

  3. WOW!!! That Annie is really cute ;)
    WE also think you give great advice George. Humans love loud purrs and warm,furry bodies next to them. It makes them feel better :)

    Purrs Tillie and Georgia,
    Tiger,Treasure and JJ

  4. Annie, you are too cute to take care of any human. They should take care of you and your needs.
    But, George is right, we all take care of our human pets, so jump quietly in her bed and purr out loud.

  5. Oh! Dear Annie, you are way too young and too cute to put up with pain and suffering. Hope your human will soon feel better!

  6. Annie, you are such a cutie!
    Wishing your human a quick recovery.

  7. Annie, you are such a beauty!
    Guess it's disturbing for such a young kitten to be in charge with an elderly in pain. Is she allowed to take pain medication? Slip a pill in her tea :-)
    Anyway, I send her strong purrs and hugs to you.

  8. My male human makes such loud noises (especially when he sleeps) that I don't know if he's in pain or purring!

  9. Fluffy and CayenneOctober 28, 2011

    Annie, indeed you are a glorious tuxie kitty as Oliver & Garry said.
    You are beautiful! And very kind to take care of your human. It's hard to be in pain. Give her loving purrs, she'll appreciate it.
    Fluffy & Cayenne

  10. You give good advice, George. Snuggling up to humans in pain is a good idea and purring is even better. My human sometimes whimpers when she is in pain.


Help for cats whose humans show behaviour problems.

This blog is devoted to the study of human behaviour. We cats, who live with this sometimes unpredictable and always feeble minded species, can benefit from seeing their behaviour in its proper scientific context. The study of feline dilemmas, training problems, and difficulties with humans, can only benefit all of us. All of us train our humans - to buy the right food, for instance, but many of us do not have knowledge of how to improve our training methods. The human species is obviously not as intelligent as the cat, but nevertheless can learn quite a lot - if properly managed. Topics of interest include the use of claw and order, purring as a human reward, rubbing your human up the right way, when to bite, spraying as a method of making our wishes known, ignoring the human, human harassment, human inattention and sheer human stupidity. I welcome your questions. Photos can be sent via my secretary's website, This blog has been chosen as one of the top 50 feline blogs by Online