Cats are small but feisty, leaping six times their own height and exploring impossible places with fearless curiosity. They also adore wrestling with each other, and playing race-and-chase games. Sometimes, cats get into fights too, which is fearsome, rough and tumble.

In other words: Most cats will at some point have a bruise, a sore paw or some other injury. It’s natural and there’s nothing you can do to prevent it. Cats will be cats.

Clearly visible problems include holding up a paw, limping, not being able to jump, crying, hiding away (because it hurts) and refusing to socialise. There may also be grazes or missing fur over or near the injured area.

However, when your pet is injured, you may not even know because cats are also incredibly brave about pain. It is therefore vital that you observe your pet closely for sore spots, hot spots and unusual behaviour.

If your pet suddenly bites or scratches you, it may be you’re touching a sore spot. If your cat misses the litter box, it may be due to a physical problem. If your pet is sleeping too much or not eating properly, it might all boil down to an injury.

If it’s a serious problem, like a broken bone or dislocation, getting help as fast as possible means you can probably fix it and without too much trouble. If you leave it, your pet is in pain and the injury may become worse or even untreatable. As such, the safest thing is to consult your vet if something is wrong.

Like us, cats with sore muscles and bones need comfort and rest. When you get your pet home, provide a thick soft cushion and a quiet space. Place water and food near the cushion. If your pet likes company, you can watch films or read together. Make sure the litter box is low (easy to step into) and clean. And then give it time.