Do cats feel pain like humans?
Yes and no is the answer. Domestic cats have a very similar physiology to humans. They have a nervous system and a brain. The peripheral nerves feedback to the spinal cord and thence to the brain. The brain processes the electrical impulses which pass along the nervous system and which are triggered in peripheral parts of a cat's anatomy through injury or disease et cetera. So, everything is in place in a domestic cat for them to feel pain like humans.
|Humans cause pain in cats through their ignorance. And even intelligent people behave ignorantly such as declawing vets.|
ABOVE: The story of Zoe is nothing less than horrendous and I am sorry to recite it but I have to. Zoe was declawed. His behavior changed because of the pain of - botched surgery. He was then de-toothed. He is now untouchable. He will undergo paw repair surgery by Dr Doub.
And I believe that these electrical impulses which send signals to the brain are the same as in humans. I also believe that the cat's brain processes the signals in a slightly different way to people. I believe that cats have a filtering system in their brain so that they dampen down the sensation of pain that is signalled to them through their nervous system. It is a method which is akin to humans using psychological therapies to manage chronic pain as taught to them by therapists.
We know that a person cannot or should not use painkillers constantly, day in day out for chronic pain and therefore they are taught to use their mind as one way of better managing pain. And I guess these are psychological techniques which can dampen down chronic pain and make life more bearable or acceptable.
The fact that domestic cats hide pain so successfully is, I would argue, evidence that they are better at controlling it in their mind. Potentially they feel exactly the same amount of pain, let's say because of an injury to a limb, but when the signal gets to their brain it is processed and filtered as mentioned.
These are my personal thoughts and I don't think you will find this concept written about by the experts. I have simply made my own deductions through observing cats and reading about them. I would doubt that you would find studies on the subject either. But evidence points to it because cats inherit this skill to hide pain in the furtherance of their survival.
Rather than reaching for painkillers as humans do and complaining about being in pain, cats tend to shut up and slink away to a safe place where they can defend themselves and snooze. They might not even do this. My elderly female cat who I now believe was in pain for a long time used to sleep in the middle of a large lawn or over a grill leading to a sewer because it produced a cooling air stream which I believe alleviated her pain. It still hurts me to think about it.
And domestic cats do show subtle signs of pain in their facial expressions. Scientists can now measure this. There are other signs which you can read by clicking this link.
Not so long ago, even the experts e.g. vets were unsure that domestic cats felt pain because there is an inherent speciesism in the human mind. Humans come first and animals come second. Animal sentience is an awakening process. Poorly educated people are still unaware of it. A greater awareness of sentience in animals leads to much less animal abuse and an improvement in animal welfare. Sentience is the ability to feel sensations, emotions and of course as mentioned pain.
Sport and trophy hunters temporarily suspend their knowledge that animals feel pain because how else would they be able to cause such acute pain for their entertainment?