Cat Pain Management - Assessing and Managing Pain in Cats


How will I know if my cat is in pain?

Cats are pretty stoic animals on the whole. Dogs may show pain a little easier. What cats will oftentimes do if they're in pain or if there are some abnormalities is they'll hide. If they're usually very social, that's a great way to assess whether or not something's up, along with vocalization, changes in urination, or not eating and drinking, etc.


Dr. Lander
Advanced Animal Care in Richmond

Why is it important to avoid self-diagnosing pain in your cat?

Self-diagnosing pain in your cat can not only increase their pain, but it can also possibly damage something more, whether it’s a fracture or they have severe GI upset. We don't want to be pressing on their stomach at home. You can also get hurt. Cats have teeth and claws and they can hurt you with those.

How will a vet know if my cat's in pain?

Depending on what the suspected issue is, a good history from you as an owner is really important. Maybe it's a bone issue or a joint hurts and they're not walking around or running as much. We can manipulate certain joints and move them more to decide whether or not that's the issue. Maybe there's a GI upset or GI signs at home. We can feel the tummy.

What are some possible conditions that cause cat pain and what are some of the pain treatments?

As they get older, cats get osteoarthritis. The treatment for that might be a fairly short course of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to help reduce that initial inflammation. Take note if there are GI signs, as cats can get something like IBD, inflammatory bowel disease. That might be treated with gastro protectants. Maybe there's vomiting and diarrhea involved, so we'd give antibiotics.

What types of pain medications might a veterinarian prescribe for my cat?

Non-sterile anti-inflammatories, especially if it's like joint or bone involvement, whereas, if there's a GI component, we don't want to use anti-inflammatory drugs for that. Something like Gabapentin would be good.

What is the most important consideration when it comes to cat pain management?

When we're talking about more of a geriatric cat is, can the pain be managed or, ideally, treated? If it can't, we may have to consider the quality of life and overall, maybe a humane death might be the best for them. However, if we can, we're going to try to manage the pain and treat it as best we can.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 202-3641, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Cat Pain Management - FAQs


Dr. Lander
Advanced Animal Care in Richmond

How do I know what medication is safe to give my cat?

Medications that are safe to give to your cat are ones we give them after a full history, physical exam, assessment, and perhaps even some diagnostics. Medications that your veterinarian prescribes are the best ones to consider.

Can I give my cat NSAIDs?

NSAIDs like the ones we humans use, such as Tylenol or Advil, can be very toxic to dogs and cats, especially if, as I said, we're not considering the appropriate dose. You should never give those things to your dog or your cat. NSAIDs prescribed by a veterinarian can be considered.

Can I give my cat human pain meds?

I would not.

What are some alternatives for pain medication in cats?

We don't always want to just throw medications at animals. We want to consider things like how they are at home. Are they eating too much? Could they lose some weight? Do they have arthritis? If they lose some weight, that will really help a lot.

Are there any all-natural painkillers for cats?

There are. I will say the regulation and the studies behind those are kind of limited, so at the end of the day, I would recommend something medicinally prescribed by your veterinarian.

How do I know if I need to bring my cat to get pain medications?

Change in behavior is a really big indicator for cats. Like I said, a lot of times they're very stoic when something wrong is going on, so definitely consider how they are normally, so if they aren't so normal now, bring them into your vet to be assessed.

What is the best way to give my cat pain medication?

As for the options at home, oftentimes those will be oral medications. We may give something injectable in the clinic or in the hospital, but to go home, we usually give oral medications.

Are there any tips on how to give them orally?

Pilling a cat is a funny concept, but some cats really handle it well. So the best thing to do is kind of grab the top of their jaw. It's called the maxilla, this bone here. Maybe bring down their lower part of the jaw and just pop the pill in, close their mouth, and massage their throat. But oftentimes cats take liquids better, so measure up the prescribed amount, pop it in the mouth, and encourage them to swallow.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 202-3641, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Service Category: 

Share this Content