Cats are excellent when it comes to hiding pain, which makes it even more challenging for cat guardians to tell what’s happening or if something is wrong. By nature, cats are predators, so they should never become vulnerable and a potential meal for another predator.
Most cats tend to hide when they are in pain, but some can become aggressive, can yowl, or exhibit a variety of other symptoms. In this post, we’ll look at some signs that can tell you that your cat is in pain and what you can do about it, especially at home. We’ll also discuss how pain in cats is treated by veterinarians.
How can you tell if a cat is in pain?
There are some obvious signs that you can notice if a cat is experiencing pain, but it goes without saying that the likelihood of this happening is high if she has gone through surgery or sustained an injury. Some cats might lie on one side without doing too much, while others might try to avoid engaging in unnecessary exercise since even the effort of jumping on the couch might be too much.
Geriatric cats might experience arthritic pain, which is why it is a cat parent’s responsibility to try to make their life as easy as possible. Here are some things that you might notice in a cat that experiences pain:
- Hiding in dark places
- Avoiding activities that wouldn’t otherwise call for much effort
- Resisting handling
- Aggression when being approached
- Behavioral changes, even to people she knows very well
- Decreased or lack of grooming
How do vets treat cat pain?
Pain management can be conveniently provided by a veterinarian if you have taken your cat to the clinic. Medications are available and will be chosen depending on the cat’s health status, pain degree, age, and complications.
Corticosteroids are often used in acute pain as they are powerful, but also come with a series of side effects. They can be used for short-term pain management, but they have to be utilized with caution, especially in geriatric cats (since they could easily develop diabetes). Some examples of corticosteroids are prednisone, dexamethasone, or actual cortisone.
NSAIDs can be used for mild to moderate pain, but they also have some adverse effects. NSAIDs have side effects in humans, too, such as ketoprofen or ibuprofen, which can both irritate the stomach lining. However, these medications also have side effects on the other organs, including the liver, intestines, and kidneys.
Opioids should only be used for severe to very severe pain. Codeine and morphine are two widely known opioids, for example, and they are used to treat the pain that shows up after surgery or in advanced cases of cancer. They can be utilized in cats that have chronic and severe pain, but they should always be administered carefully as even though they are very effective, they are also quite risky.
Alternative pain relief
If you want to adopt a holistic approach to treating your cat’s pain, we’ll tell you that most of the suggestions you might come across are not only ineffective but also don’t do much other than aggravating your cat. Trying to give a cat that is in severe pain pills can be extremely challenging, so in these situations, you should always take your feline friend to the vet.
There are some research studies that have suggested that, like in humans, CBD oil can provide pain relief. Unfortunately, it also has some drug interactions. If your cat is undergoing treatment with any other medication, you should seek out the assistance of a veterinarian before deciding to put your companion on CBD products.
The CBD dosage recommended for cats and dogs, although the exact optimal one is still unknown, is approximately .25 milligrams for every pound of body weight (0.5mg per kg of body weight). In any case, if you want to initiate treatment with CBD, you should first consult your veterinarian.
Some products that can improve the health status and decrease pain in the long term are omega 3 fatty acids and cranberry juice products. The latter can be used for alleviating the pain experienced by a cat with urinary problems while the first act by reducing joint inflammation. Unfortunately, none of these two provide immediate results.
Vitamins cannot be used for pain relief, no matter what some people might suggest. They are extremely important when it comes to sustaining a cat that has chronic health problems or that has sustained injury or surgery. But they cannot be used for pain management.
Adding some supplements to your cat’s diet can provide the materials for cartilage repair if she is suffering from arthritis. These are glucosamine sulfate, turmeric, and a variety of alternative anti-inflammatory formulas, but they take time to do their job.
You also have the option of choosing acupuncture, laser therapy, or pet massage. Veterinary chiropractic care is available, too, and most services are quite affordable. Needless to say, these work only in some situations, but not for all types of pain and conditions.
Prescription medication that can be used at home
We’ve already discussed the types of drugs that can be used by vets in treating pain. However, some of these can be prescribed to cat guardians, especially those that are trying to manage the pain of a chronic illness. Not all of them have to be administered at the clinic.
Some of the safest NSAIDs that can be given to cats are Meloxicam and Robenacoxib. Some corticosteroids that can be used in cats are methylprednisolone, prednisone, and cortisone, but once again, they should always be prescribed by a vet.
As you can see, alleviating a cat’s pain can be quite challenging. Look for the symptoms that we have showcased in this article to know whether your cat is in pain, and be sure to consult a veterinarian before opting for one treatment or another.