Is Your Cat Secretly Hiding Pain?

Is Your Cat Secretly Hiding Pain?

In January I picked Ziggy up and she yelled in pain, ran away and hid away for nearly 24 hours. I immediately took her to the vet to find out that she has a bad back!

The Vet gave us some Metacam which is like ibuprofen for cats and another supplement that is good for joints.

What I found very interesting is that at that appointment the suggestion of going to a Specialist Animal Physiotherapist was not suggested to me rather I had to ask about it!

Is it really that strange to want to take your kitty cat to see a physio if they are in pain??

We wouldn’t hesitate to if we were suffering with a bad back or hips. 

I was given a referral for a physio located in Nambour. It is a half hour drive from where we live but I figure Ziggy doesn’t mind travelling in the car and if physio is going to be beneficial for her then it was worth it.

At our first appointment Brooke weighed Ziggy and took a thorough background history. We then went into a room where she has a soft mat set up and some toys, a teepee and other things to make pets feel more comfortable.

Brooke gave Ziggy a massage and also did some manipulations of her joints. She also gave Ziggy some laser therapy over her hips and then finished with acupuncture. I was extremely surprised at how well Ziggy tolerated all of this. There were a few growls and hisses but she was pretty good for most of the time.

Brooke told me that it would benefit Ziggy to get her on some Omega 3 in the form of sardines or a supplement. The other thing was that Ziggy still has to lose a bit more weight. She ideally needs to be around 5kg. Currently she is at 5.8kg. 

This is what Brooke wrote about Ziggy’s first appointment: 

Text From Facebook Post:

Due to their evolution as a solitary, self-dependent species cats are masters at hiding pain especially chronic pain. It is estimated that over 40% of cats are obese in Australia so this is a chicken and egg problem when we are managing arthritis. Do we treat cats many ask? Of course!!! Physios have been recognised to have superior palpation skills to recognise pain. I absolutely loved treating Ziggy who is now 12 and suffering for some time with significant neck and back pain and presumed hip arthritis. The early we can assess and begin treatment the better but often these guys go under the radar as they just tend to sleep more and owners and the vet team just think they are getting old. Ziggy loved her manual therapy though we did need to go super slow as she was so sore. Addressing pain they tolerate heat packs, class 4 laser therapy and I always find cats love acupuncture. Learning tricks to slowly build activity levels at home in a safe manner can help as many cats are indoor now. Enrichment feeding and toys are a great addition Looking forward to working with you Ziggy and trialling the underwater treadmill as a great option for you next time.

After that initial appointment it was obvious that Ziggy felt different as she was acting like she was when she was a kitten. She was curious and wanted to explore and was no longer sedentary throughout the day. 

We got her on to an Omega 3 supplement by Blackmores. To help with her weightloss we purchased some Lickimats so that she has to work at getting her biccies. We were already doing this with cups around the house but the Lickimats work so much better. We will also be getting her on to a Hills Science Diet Metabolic.  

Osteosupport by Blackmores - Ziggy BelleLickimat for Cats - Ziggy Belle

We had another appointment 2 weeks later. Brooke had asked me to get Ziggy a harness so that we could try her out on the underwater treadmill. I was very skeptical about how she would go on the treadmill let alone with water in it! 

Brooke started the appointment off with massage and manipulation and some more laser treatment.

Then it was time for the treadmill! The treadmill is totally enclosed with perspex so she couldn’t run away. Brooke stood over Ziggy supporting her around the belly. Her front paws were positioned at the top part of the treadmill that doesn’t move and the back paws were on the conveyor belt. She seemed to be ok with that so Brooke just went with it and added the water! I was sitting at the front of the treadmill looking below the water. It was amazing to see her little back paws walking through the water. She was so brave, she did not complain at all!. 


As with humans the water in the treadmill helps to take the pressure off the joints while still helping with mobility. Brooke noticed that Ziggy is fine pushing off with her back legs but it is the picking up of her legs that is the issue. The treadmill will be a great addition to her treatment to enable her to strengthen the muscles needed for that particular movement.

After the 2nd appointment again I can see Ziggy returning to her old kittenish ways. She has been exploring the garden heaps more than she used to and she is much more playful.

I am annoyed at myself for not getting Ziggy to the physio sooner. Also for thinking that her sedentary behaviour was an age thing.

I would like to highlight to all cat owners out there that your cat is very sneaky at hiding pain and any change in their behaviour such as hiding away or lazing the day away on a chair without moving at all is probably a sign that something is not quite right. 

Physio for your cat may be an expense that some people would balk at. We paid $150 for the initial consultation and $90 for the follow up. In terms of extending the quality of life for your fur baby I personally think that is priceless.

Check out their website here:


Here are links to other animal physio services in other parts of Australia:









Yours in Health & Wellness

🐾 Meow For Now 🐾

😺 Ziggy & Sonya 😺

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