Understanding the Feline Grimace Scale: A Tool for Pain Assessment in Cats

The Feline Grimace Scale (FGS) is a scientifically validated tool, designed to assess acute pain in cats by observing specific changes in their facial expressions.

Developed by the Université de Montréal in 2019, the FGS helps veterinary practices and pet owners determine if a cat is experiencing pain and if medical treatment may be needed. The scale evaluates five facial features, called ‘action units’: ear position, orbital tightening, muzzle tension, whisker change and head position.

The FGS is simple to use and requires minimal training. Observers score each of the five facial action units on a scale of 0 to 2, where 0 indicates no pain, 1 moderate pain and 2 severe pain. The total score, ranging from 0 to 10, helps determine whether a cat is likely in pain and the severity of the pain. A score of 4 or higher typically suggests that pain relief interventions are needed.

Implementing the FGS in veterinary practices and at home ensures timely and accurate pain management in cats. It allows vets to make informed decisions with treatment for their patients and allows pet owners to monitor their cats’ well-being more effectively. By recognising and addressing pain early on, the FGS can help contribute to a better quality of life for our feline friends.

For more information and to access the Feline Grimace Scale tool visit: felinegrimacescale.com