Cats Feel Pain - Vets operating table copyright Brit reproduced under creative commons. Another Flickr photograph had a caption which read something like, "how can I tell when a cat's in pain?". Well if she is quiet, hiding, and behaving in a non-routine manner, she could be in pain. Also cats sometimes purr deeply when in pain. After that you investigate (to the Vet usually and quickly). Thereafter you can normally tell.
Cats hide pain as all do all animals. It is a natural state in their quest for survival. They also hide themselves. But animals and cats do feel pain. A simple test suffices. If for example you accidentally stand on your cat's paw (I've done this once in 15 years - don't do it deliberately please), you will see a reaction that clearly indicates that she has felt pain. She will yelp and cry out. It goes further. My cat suffers nightmares and cries out and wakes up (psychological pain).
It seems common sense to me that cats feel pain. They have brains, nerves and are programmed to survive. It is necessary therefore for the body to know when it is injured by the signal of pain to the brain.
Yet surrounded by day to day examples of animals suffering pain, until the 1980s (yes fairly recently) scientists argued that animals could not feel pain. They routinely conducted experiments on animals including cats inflicting pain without compunction.
Sometimes the objective was to inflict pain and see the result (this doesn't square up with the argument that animals don't feel pain). The fact that mankind had until recently argued that animals don't feel pain is a major reason for the maltreatment of animals worldwide including cats. That and sheer ignorance and nastiness. I am sure this false concept is still alive in a many areas of the world.
This misconception arose out of the idea that animals couldn't rationalize. It suited scientists to maintain this view as it assisted them in their research during which they inflicted pain on animals. It was and is an example mankind rationalizing things to suit himself.
Vets until recently would not routinely (or at all) give "pain meds" to cats after spaying and neutering. The operation is routine but invasive. Now, gradually, the world is becoming more civilized and pain killers are given to cats after this operation, more routinely because the vet understands that cats feel pain.
The great man Mahatma Gandhi famously said that we can measure the degree of civilization in a community by the way they treat animals (or the vulnerable). Obviously we are not very civilized but getting better.
When we wish to trick ourselves about the truth we talk about the subject in a particular and benign fashion to make it palatable and hide it from ourselves. This is most noticeable in politicians and of course animal testing scientists.
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