According to pet food experts James Wellbeloved, cats suffer some very common injuries as a side-effect of their curious and exploratory lifestyle. However, being the independent animals that they are, cats also tend to try and hide their injuries from us, which is why we don’t think they get injured as frequently as they really do.

Fortunately, by being more aware of the symptoms of these common injuries, and encouraging certain behavioral habits in you and your pet, you can more easily detect when there is injury.

Common Injury #1: Damaged Bones / Ligaments

Like Lucifer, many cats live adventurous lives outside and perform death-defying stunts. Sometimes, they don’t make a jump or land on something that is not stable, so they hurt themselves. More often, cats land on their feet, but all that impact on their joints over time wears on the bones and ligaments.

How to spot the injury: Big breakages will be obvious. Either your cat won’t be able to move or they will flinch when you touch them. However, minor injuries are less obvious. However, your cat will try to hide the injury by shifting his or her weight from the injured part of their body to somewhere else. Therefore, watch for changes in their walk, how they jump, and if they start resting in unusual positions.

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Common Injury #2: Bites, Scratches And Stings

Outdoor cats enjoy exploring their surroundings, but that often means encountering other animals and plants which bite, string and scratch. Large bites can be life-threatening but are also obvious to spot. Bites from smaller animals (i.e. another cat), insect stings and scratches are less critical, but can still leave painful, lasting wounds.

How to spot the injury: Make a habit of spending some quality time with your cat each day. Your cat will appreciate the bonding time, while you can use the opportunity to check their skin and eyes for signs of scratches, bruising, or abscesses.

Common Injury #3: Periodontal Disease

As many as 85% of cats suffer some form of periodontal disease in their lifetime. Tooth or gum disease can be the result of long-term poor maintenance of teeth, but can also be caused by cats eating sharp or hard foods (like fish bones) which break the teeth or gums, allowing them to become infected.

How to spot the injury: If your cat suddenly starts to eat or drink less than usual, check their teeth for signs of breaks or infection, and check to see if their gums are bleeding.

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There are many other common injuries, including kidney disease, heat stroke, and poisoning, as well as uncommon ones, too. Ultimately, the best way to spot if your cat is injured is to make sure you develop an intimate bond. By knowing your cat well, you will also know when they are doing anything slightly out of the ordinary. Most cats don’t change their habits or routine without a good reason, and that reason is often injury.