We, as pet parents, only ever want the best for our little cuties. That’s why it’s especially hard when our fur babies are suffering from pain.
Cats, just like humans, are susceptible to a number of painful conditions, including arthritis, cancer, and more. Pain makes it much harder for our feline friends to enjoy meals and treats, take comfy catnaps in the sun, or play with their favorite toys.
That’s why it’s important to determine why your special kitty is in pain and provide the appropriate type of pain relief, so your cat will live their best, most pain-free life.
Types and Causes of Pain for Cats
Pain is the overarching term for the hurt and discomfort your kitty cat feels, but not all pain is the same. The pain could come from different injuries or medical conditions, each varying in intensity.
There most common types of pain include:
- Acute pain, which is categorized as sudden and/or severe pain. Acute pain usually goes away on its own within a few days or weeks without intervention.
- Chronic pain, which is categorized as long-term pain lasting twelve weeks or longer. Chronic pain may not be as severe as acute pain but often impedes your cat’s ability to perform everyday tasks without pain.
- Neuropathic pain, which is categorized as pain caused by nerve damage. Neuropathic pain could be a result of trauma or an underlying medical condition.
- Inflammatory pain, which is categorized as pain caused by inflammation.
Identifying what type of pain is only half the battle, however, as you’ll then need to determine the cause. From there, you’ll have all you need to create an effective plan of action to address your cat’s pain and get them back to good health. Make an appointment with your vet ASAP to get your cat on the path to pain relief.
Common causes of pain include injuries, which could be as superficial as nicks, cuts, and bruises or as severe as major lacerations, broken bones, and more, diseases like arthritis, cancer, and kidney disease, or medical conditions, such as pancreatitis and hyperthyroidism.
Dental health plays a role here, too, as tooth decay and gum disease will likely cause your kitty discomfort that dissuades them from eating their meals. As if they needed any more reasons to boycott their food!
Ill-fitting collars are another common yet overlooked one, so be sure to check that you have an appropriately-sized collar before resorting to more substantial pain relief measures.
And try not to mention that they put on a little weight to make the collar tighter in the first place. They’re sensitive about their feline figures!
Types of Pain Relief for Cats
Once we know what kind of pain our pet is in, as well as the cause, we can begin to consider what method of pain relief to use.
It’s important that, before administering any type of medication or pain relief treatment, you discuss the options with your veterinarian. Even if you are fairly certain of the next steps, the opinion of a qualified medical professional will provide peace of mind that you are making the right choice for your precious pet.
Your vet might recommend over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen, prescription-strength nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, like carprofen or meloxicam. In the most extreme cases, the vet might prescribe opioids, like fentanyl, hydrocodone, or oxycodone, for which there will be very strict instructions in regard to how and how much to administer.
Some vets might recommend complementary or alternative therapies like acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic care. Therapies such as these could be a useful component in your cat’s overall care management plan, but we don’t recommend substituting medical care for these treatments.
Always consult and discuss pain management plans with your veterinarian before administering medication of any kind. It’s better to be safe than to be sorry.
How to Give Your Cat Pain Relief
Your vet will provide explicit instructions regarding how to administer your cat’s medication, especially if they are prescribing medications that are considered controlled substances.
The medication’s packaging will often include information as well, including how often to give the medicine, whether or not to give it with food, and other pertinent information.
Pills can be problematic for cats, as they’re often not keen on swallowing the pill. You can try to sneak it into their food if taking the drugs with food is required or not otherwise medically contraindicated, but cats are less likely to gobble it all up the way a dog might.
For that reason, pet supply manufacturers make syringe-shaped pill dispensers that let you load a pill and essentially shoot it down your cat’s throat. While it may seem a bit cruel, letting them refuse the medicine will often be the greater of two evils.
Liquid medications will similarly use a syringe. Be sure to be precise when measuring each dose, and clean the syringe thoroughly between uses.
Final Thoughts on Getting Your Kitty Pain Relief
Pain really puts a damper on things for your cat. To ensure they’re living their best, healthiest life, work with your vet to identify the type and cause of pain your cat is experiencing and, from there, create an effective plan for treatment.
It will be especially important to monitor your cat’s condition before, during, and after they receive pain management or treatment. That might not be easy to do along with your other responsibilities. Trust us at Space Coast Pet Services to pop in and give your kitty a little TLC while you’re out of the house. We’re available for a variety of services, including drop-in home pet visits, so we’re happy to visit your feline friend and make sure they’re doing okay while you’re away! Contact us today for more information.
Pain is never good, but it’s manageable with the right care. By taking the time to work with your vet and get an accurate diagnosis and corresponding treatment plan, your cat will be on their way to returning to their best life in due time.
Here’s to a healthy & happy kitty!
Melanie is the owner and founder of Brevard’s premier trusted in-home pet care company. With a Sociology & Criminal Justice degree from the University of Tennessee, she took her corporate security background and combined it with her lifelong passion for animals – that’s how Space Coast Pet Services was born in 2016! She is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR, insured, and proudly completed a full background check successfully. She is committed to ongoing training and education for herself and her team. To learn more, click here.
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