If you don't know how to recognize a kitten's pain, you may not know anything is wrong until it's too late. Kittens are delicate and vulnerable, and they can't tell you when something isn't right -- it's up to you to know the signs of trouble.
Keep tabs on your kitten, particularly regarding how social she is or isn't. Sick cats like to hide and isolate themselves, because in the wild, they would have to stay hidden from predators. If your kitten tucks herself away, avoids people and generally seems frightened, she could be hiding pain.
Pick her up. If your kitten resists being touched or held, it could be because she's in pain. Don't confuse that with a kitten who doesn't like to be held at length, because everyone has their limits, and a young cat is just now learning how to be handled. But if she freaks out any time you touch her, or if she tries to escape as soon as you pick her up, something could very well be wrong. On the other end of the spectrum, if she goes limp as a rag doll when you hold her and doesn't seem to respond to any stimulation, that's equally foreboding -- she could be in too much pain to make an effort.
Make sure that she's eating, drinking and using the litter box. A sick kitty may lose her appetite, and if she's in pain, she could have trouble getting in and out of the litter box, or even controlling her bladder.
Listen to what she's saying. Sick cats sometimes act like aggressive cats, so if your kitten is big on hissing, growling, crying or screaming, she may be coping with pain.
- If you even suspect that your kitten is in pain, take her to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.