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Is Your Amputee Cat in Pain? Here’s How to Tell

Dogs hide pain well, but a new amputee cat in pain is a master at disguising their discomfort! Thankfully, the Feline Grimace Scale is helping vets and cat parents measure feline pain.

If You Suspect Your Amputee Cat is in Pain, Download The Feline Grimace Scale

Feline Grimace Scale Fact Sheet
Download the Feline Grimace Scale Here

Animals can’t tell us in our language when they hurt. But they definitely show us. A grimace scale evaluates pain in animals, based on changes to a pet’s facial expressions. Cats hide pain even better than dogs, but the Feline Grimace Scale makes it easier to recognize.

Developed at at the Université de Montréal, the Feline Grimace Scale provides clear photos of cats who are in pain. They base the images against cats who are not in pain. The cats pictured in the Feline Grimace Scale Training Manual and other tools were patients at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at the Université de Montréal. Don’t worry, they didn’t harm cats to show painful expressions. Every cat was provided pain management when needed.

The Five Features of a Cat in Pain

how cats show pain
Ear position is a common pain sign in cats.

The scale shows what a cat in pain looks like, using images and helpful illustrations. The five ways cats show pain include:

  1. Ear position
  2. Orbital (eyes) tightening
  3. Muzzle tension
  4. Whiskers position
  5. Head position

The Feline Grimace Scale has 5 action units that can be scored from 0 to 2, with 10 as the highest (painful) score. A cat with a score ≥ 4 suggests that the veterinarian should consider a new pain management approach. If a vet isn’t sure about the cat’s pain level, the scale says the cat should be re-evaluated in 10-15 minutes. The peer-reviewed Feline Grimace Scale is validated and proven to be a useful tool to measure cat pain for vets.

If you suspect your amputee cat is in pain,
download this useful feline pain management tool!

YOU Can Help Feline Health Science: Take the 2021 Feline Grimace Scale Survey

Amputee cat in pain
Take the FGS survey and help feline science! (Image: Jack Brind

Want to help veterinary researchers improve pain management in cats?

Take the 2021 Feline Grimace Scale Survey between March 15th and May 15th.

Anyone, anywhere can participate if they have, or previously had, a feline family member. The research will evaluate the ability of cat owners to assess acute pain using the FGS (when compared with veterinarians’ assessment), and whether demographic characteristics affect these results. This project was reviewed and approved by the R(D)SVS Human Ethical Review Committee, University of Edinburgh and the Comité d’éthique de la recherche en sciences et en santé (CERSES), Université de Montréal.

Take the 2021 Feline Grimace Scale Survey


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2 thoughts on “Is Your Amputee Cat in Pain? Here’s How to Tell”

  1. I believe my Sweetie is in pain as she has a mad face on and won’t let me hold her probably due to the cone still on as she bit her nails off and had inflammation but is getting better slowly and told it may take several months to heal and hopes when cone comes over she will be able to once get back to the life she knew


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