Back pain in cats can be absolutely excruciating to the point that they will cry out in pain that will chill you to the bone.
For anyone that has ever had any form of back pain, we can sympathize with this very painful ordeal in our cats.
But there is one major difference; your cat can not tell you or show you where their back is hurting, and in some cases, this is an extremely difficult condition to properly identify.
Cats have perhaps the most resilient backs of any known species, but they can and do still experience back pains.
Folklore is full of stories about cats backs and the very threatening posture that is presented when a cat arches their back to full capacity.
This is a natural defensive mode that your cat goes into that makes them look a lot bigger and meaner than they actually are
In most all cases, it works.
A cats back is extremely flexible but is very different than our backs as their spine contains over 60 vertebrae, which are twice as many vertebrae than humans have.
Cats are also by nature are perhaps the most dedicated life form in their daily routine; just watch your cat every time they wake up.
They will usually stretch their paws out in front of their body and then lift the rump which naturally stretches the body even further.
They will then put their back into a high arch in the final stretching mode.
This happens like clockwork as your cat is stretching almost like a feline yoga class. But even with this flexibility, back pain in cats can and does occur.
Back pain in cats is an extreme discomfort along the spine that usually affects the neck as well.
The pain can be mild or it can be so extreme that your cat will cry, moan, refuse to move, and if it severe enough, refuse to eat.
With back pain in humans, it is more of a nuisance, but it is entirely different in a cat.
Back pain in cats is a sign that something is very seriously wrong and it should be treated as the urgent situation that it is.
There are several symptoms that you can watch for that will signal that your cat has back pain either developing or has become very severe.
The first symptom of back pains in cats that you will see is a change in your pet’s posture.
When this occurs, they will arch their back but it will not be the same stretching routine that you are used to seeing.
It is more of a guarded stretch that will also show you signs that their neck hurts as they will not be able to move their neck when they arch.
In other cases it will be extremely stiff and you can see them straining to try to move it.
The next set of symptoms of back pains in cats will be reluctance by your pet to either move or raise their head, which is usually accompanied by a crying out when they make this movement.
If the back pain in cats has become severe, they may also show symptoms of becoming very unsteady to the point that they cannot walk and may show signs of a partial paralysis in one or more legs.
But the most chilling symptom will come when you try to touch their neck or back and they let out a cry that you will know simply because it is something you have never heard before.
There are several potential causes for back pain in cats and most all of them will be a threat both to your pet’s way of life as well as potentially taking their life.
The first potential cause is from epitaxial muscle diseases that can affect your cat above the axis of their spine usually along the muscles that run along their back or neck.
These types of diseases can be caused by infections that affect the muscle groups and can cause inflammation to set in, which places pressure on the spinal column.
They can also be caused by some type of a bite wound form another animal, insect, or even a bat. Vertebral disk orders may be a cause, but they are extremely rare in cats.
But when they do occur, it causes infection within the disks themselves which in turn places a tremendous burden on your cat’s spine.
However, the two most probable causes of a back pain in cats will be from cancer or disorders of the meninges.
Cancer of the vertebra affects the nerve roots in your cat which are the joints between the vertebrae, the sensory nerves, and the motor nerves.
The sensory nerves basically conduct all of your cat’s sensory information in the central nervous system and the motor nerves place the commands to the muscles that connect the spinal column.
Each spinal nerve in your cat spreads out before they merge with the spinal cord.
Cancer damages this ability to separate the bundles that are called the roots of the nerve and the result of this damage is the initial pain your pet is experiencing.
This pain will soon lead to numbness, weakness, and then eventual paralysis of the limbs and possibly the entire body.
The meninges in your cat are the membranes that cover the brain as well as the spinal cord as their major functions are to help support your pet’s nervous system.
If your cats head is struck even the most durable bones in the skull can be affected and as a result damage these membranes.
Once affected, it will very rapidly affect both your cats back as well as their neck.
However, there is one other possibility that may trigger back pain in your cat; referred pain, which is a very unique phenomenon.
This is an occurrence where pain is experienced either at the site of an injury or at a distance from an injury.
The best example of this is heart attacks in humans that are most often felt in the left arm as it goes numb.
It can also affect the neck, shoulders, and the back, and may never be felt in the heart itself.
Referred pain and the actual cause are extremely difficult to pinpoint in a human, let alone in your cat, but it is real and does exist.
Back pains in cats may be from a slight injury but it is important to remember that your cats back is perhaps the most resilient mechanism found in any living species.
Understanding this resiliency helps to identify with the fact that if your cat is suffering from a back pain, it is in all likelihood caused by something very serious.