Purrsonality or pain?
The cat is a very peculiar being to us humans. Even for the biggest cat enthusiast it can be difficult to interpret cat behaviour. Every cat is different and has their own purrsonality and at times it can be difficult to differentiate between character traits and actual problems.
Let's sit crooked and talk straight!
For instance I've noticed that Ronja has a tendency to lean to one side when she sits. At first I just thought, that's just the way she likes to sit as she is an odd little lady anyway. But later I found out she has a bad knee and figured that there's a connection in the way she puts her weight on one side. Don't I feel silly for not now? Cats are experts in hiding pain, so it's very difficult to notice even when they are in massive pain. Your cat might have had problems for a long time, without you even suspecting something is wrong.
Disposition or dental?
Another example of confusing personality and pain is this: You have a cat that has never been very cuddly. Since some cats don't like too much touching, it's natural that you ascribe this to genes or something in it's upbringing. In other words, it's part of the cats personality and you respect it's wish not to be cuddled too much. But then one day the vet tells you that your cat has really bad teeth and some of them has to be removed. After the cats has recovered it suddenly becomes much more cuddly! You realise that the cat was in pain all along. For years!
My final example is that of a household with more than one cat. You notice one is much more social and cuddly than the rest. Then that cat passes and suddenly some of the other cats change personality. It turns out that their behaviour wasn't an inherent part of their personality, only a result of some social dynamics in the group. So it's not just medical issues that can color a cats actions, but their environment as well.
Of course cats do have different personalitys and tendencies based on their genes and life experiences. However sometimes it turns out that there is another explanation behind their actions. We should be careful dismissing odd behaviour as "quirks" as they could in fact be subtle signs of an underlying problem.
If you notice some odd behaviour with your cat, you can always start on social media. There's so many cat groups on Facebook where you can share your conserns with other cat owners and there's likely to be more than one who has similair experiences. This will give you one or more theories to go from or perhaps just make you relaxed that your cats behavious is normal.
Ronja has tricked me several times and has hidden issues from both me and skilled vets. I'm ashamed even thinking about it and I practise questioning every litte whimsy because of this experience.
I hope you will do the same and take your cat to a yearly check up at the vet. Remember, cats can have as many health issues as humans and how many of us go through a lifetime without even a toothache?