Xiombarg has always been irascible. Not in a "pet me, pet me, CHOMP-stop-petting-me" manner really, but she'll disappear under the furniture when I have visitors, and she's not even terribly friendly toward people she knows. Trying to pick her up results in muttering and grumbling and occasional bloodshed.
She's also gotten more vocal as she has gotten older (normal, I know). The problem is that she is older, and the combination of noisy + easily irked doesn't make it terribly easy to monitor her health.
So last night when she greeted me at the door, per usual, and I was petting her, per usual, I noticed she would squawk at me when ever I touched her hindquarters. She's always been reluctant to have her tail touched, but I was having trouble distinguishing between irritation and pain, as my tentative attempts at checking her out resulted in grumpy yowls and retreating under the lounge.
So I'd come down on the side of pain, and left a vaguely frantic phone message at my brother's, asking for a ride to the vet the following day when I heard her eating and drinking in the kitchen, and when I changed the litter box it was normal. So I phoned back and left a second, less frantic message asking for a ride to the vet on Saturday.
As the evening progressed she seemed pretty normal. When I went to bed she came and curled up next to me the way she usually does. When I woke up in the middle of the night and petted her, she was fine - even when I touched her hindquarters. Sigh - but a good sigh.
I think I'm still going to take her in; it occurred to me it may be more arthritis stiffness since she was likely napping before she met me at the door. And she's due some booster shots anyway. It's frustrating for me to have so much difficulty telling natural bitchiness from discomfort.