Why is my 8-year-old cat suddenly defensive to touch near her flanks?
April 1, 2015 12:23 AM   Subscribe

My 8-year-old cat is defensive when touched on the flanks on both sides. This is out of character for her and I interpret it as pain. Is this familiar to anyone?

Yes, I am making a vet's appointment as soon as they open. My question is whether anyone else has had a similar experience and what the cause turned out to be.

We have a female cat that has lived with us for 5 years and was aged between 1 and 5 when she moved in. She has a very docile and agreeable temperament, but HATES other cats. Since a third cat moved in (upstairs, but she JUST KNOWS that he's up there) she has been much less happy.

Lately her appetite has been poor, but not outside the range of normal fussiness. However, it was enough to make the tel3mum remark.

She flinched this morning while I was petting her, and she doesn't like me touching her on her right flank. She also said 'no' when I tested her left flank. This is not normal for her; she must be hurting.

Has anyone experienced this with their own cat? Anecdata gratefully received.
posted by tel3path to Pets & Animals (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My immediate thought is: are there any wounds on either flank? Being off-appetite and being sore makes me jump immediately to bite / scratch wounds. Does she get out at all? Could she have come into contact with other cats?
posted by gmb at 1:03 AM on April 1, 2015

Response by poster: No sign of wounds anywhere. She is an outdoor cat and is still running around and jumping on and off things.
posted by tel3path at 1:07 AM on April 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

My first thought was "maybe she's pregnant."
posted by deathpanels at 2:14 AM on April 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My vet tech daughter says it's possible that she's stressed because of the new cat, possibly not drinking enough water and is constipated. Bring a stool sample to help the vet. Could be as simple as that; give her some stool softener, a new water bowl no other cats can drink from. Good luck!
posted by kinetic at 2:23 AM on April 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My brother-in-law's cat was reacting like this when she was having kidney issues.
posted by Skybly at 3:04 AM on April 1, 2015

My own wonderful little Binky was getting terrorized by the new kitten in the house. Every time she went to the litter box, he would hound her in there, so she literally didn't pee or poop for a couple of days (as far as I could tell). During this time picking up was out of the question and I too noticed her flinching if I touched her flanks.

As my very wise friend said “she’ll have to use the bathroom sooner or later” and so she did. She’s been fine now. Kitten stopped hounding her in the litter box, toilet habits return to normal!

However, your kitty is an outdoor cat so I’m assuming she has plenty of unimpeded access to toileting facilities? Still – she could be constipated. Could also be stress. Maybe she's just mad at you re: the other cat and she's exhibiting her distaste for you by not letting you pet her?

Cats are weird. Fingers crossed she’s OK!
posted by JenThePro at 7:08 AM on April 1, 2015

Dumb question - does she have any fur mats stuck there? If you touch a cat's mats it can feel like you're pulling their fur.
posted by mrgoat at 10:20 AM on April 1, 2015

Response by poster: Update: cat is fine. Possibly her back teeth need cleaning. That's it.

I would've hesitated to take her in, except a) she hasn't seen a vet for years, so it's high time for a checkup, and b) it could have been anything, as shown by the range of responses to this question.

Cats are weird!
posted by tel3path at 11:28 AM on April 1, 2015

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