The Feline Grimace Scale Helps You Know if Your Cat is in Ache


Cat caregivers can efficiently use this device to identify acute ache in cats, examine exhibits.

A tabby cat with a white bib lies down and looks at the camera
Picture: Heidi Bollich/Shutterstock

By Zazie Todd PhD

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Cats have a status for being inscrutable and It’s well-known that it’s arduous to identify when a cat is in ache, so the Feline Grimace Scale is a vital breakthrough to assist veterinarians acknowledge the indicators of their feline sufferers. New analysis exhibits that cat guardians can use the dimensions too.  

That is nice information for cats as a result of it means folks can extra simply assess when their cat must go to the vet on account of acute ache.

Dr. Beatriz Monteiro of the Metropolis College of Hong Kong, the primary writer of the paper, instructed me,

“That is the primary examine displaying that cat caregivers are capable of assess acute ache (e.g. ache after surgical procedure, stomach ache) in cats. It’s a nice advance for feline welfare as cat caregivers turn into empowered to detect and quantify ache of their cats utilizing the Feline Grimace Scale, and to search for veterinary care if wanted.”

The Feline Grimace Scale includes 5 features of the cat’s face, known as motion items: the cat’s ear place, orbital tightening (across the eye), muzzle stress, the place of the whiskers, and the place of the top. an awake cat who will not be busy doing issues like grooming, every motion unit is assessed as 0 (absent), 1 (reasonably current, or unsure), or 2 (clearly current). A rating of 4 or above is taken to imply that the cat is in ache.

Veterinarians can use the dimensions alongside their examination, the cat’s historical past, and scientific state of affairs to resolve if ache aid is required. 

The present examine was carried out in each English and Spanish and marketed for contributors on numerous cat, pet, and vet web sites and social media accounts. The survey received a complete of 1262 full responses from cat guardians, who have been requested to learn the coaching handbook after which rating 10 images of cats for every of the 5 motion items. Folks’s responses have been in comparison with these of 8 veterinarians.

The outcomes confirmed no distinction between cat guardians and veterinarians on 4 of the 5 motion items. The exception was muzzle stress, which gave the impression to be more durable for cat guardians to evaluate.

Folks’s success in utilizing the dimensions was evident throughout the board, displaying that everybody discovered it straightforward to make use of, no matter gender, age, or different demographic traits. 

This broad degree of settlement is sweet information for cats because it implies that cat guardians can take a look at the knowledge on the Feline Grimace Scale web site and use it to judge whether or not their cat is presently in ache. The size can also be obtainable by way of an app for Android and Apple.

In case you might be questioning concerning the images of the cats used within the examine, they’d been utilized in earlier research too and have been taken of cats earlier than and after surgical procedure, or earlier than and after ache aid, for cats who had a painful situation or occurred to want surgical procedure. 

It’s essential to notice that the dimensions was developed for acute ache solely, reminiscent of ache after surgical procedure, after affected by trauma, from a wound, or due to pancreatitis. This scale can’t be used to evaluate persistent ache reminiscent of from osteoarthritis.

You may study extra concerning the scale in this Youtube video.  

In case you’d like to make use of the dimensions, you possibly can learn the coaching handbook and follow your abilities on the Feline Grimace Scale web site. And if you would like to learn extra about this analysis, the paper is open entry and the hyperlink is under.

In case you appreciated this put up, take a look at my guide Purr: The Science of Making Your Cat Joyful. “Satisfying, approachable, straightforward to learn, Purr is a should for anybody who shares their life with a cat.”—Kate LaSala, Rescued by Coaching.

Helpful hyperlinks:


Monteiro, B. P., Lee, N. H., & Steagall, P. V. (2023). Can cat caregivers reliably assess acute ache in cats utilizing the Feline Grimace Scale? A big bilingual international survey. Journal of Feline Drugs and Surgical procedure, 25(1), 1098612X221145499.

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