Discovering your cat is in pain can be a very difficult thing. How can you help them? Are there medications you can administer to them? How do you know these medicines are safe? It can be easy to panic when your cat is in pain, but it’s important not to. This article will explore some ways you can help your cat heal and feel better quickly.
What Causes Pain in Cats?
Pain in cats is caused by a few different problems. This can range from them accidentally spraining their leg to something more serious, like an infection.
Trauma to an Area
One of the most common causes of pain in cats is that there is some type of trauma to an area. This could be due to them spraining or jamming a bone or even an area that has not fully recovered from previous surgery.
Surgery can be another cause of pain in cats. If your cat has recently had surgery, they more than likely will feel a bit sore, although sometimes this soreness can be very intense. On the other hand, sometimes pain can creep up from previous surgeries, especially if it was done on a bone or sensitive area.
Cat arthritis is a common ailment in cats and can cause them extreme pain. Arthritis causes soreness, swelling, stiffness, less flexibility, and lameness in certain body areas. This medical issue can range from giving your cat occasional soreness to intense pressure on many areas.
Pain in cats can also be caused by cancer. This can be due to lumps being formed in their body which can press on tissues and bones. Inflammation from this terrible disease can also make it hard to move around or do the things they love to do.
Neurological problems are usually caused by your cat having a spinal cord injury. One of the most common forms of pain with this problem is lameness in the hind legs as the injury has destroyed the nerve cells in this area.
A common digestive issue is peritonitis which causes severe inflammation in the stomach. This can make it difficult for your cat to keep their food down or even cause the stomach to shift around. This is not only painful for your cat, but could cause them to become incredibly dehydrated.
Ways to Tell if Your Cat is in Pain
There are many symptoms you can look for to help tell if your cat is in pain. Below are some of the most common signs to keep an eye out for.
They Have a Loss of Appetite
Loss of appetite is a common sign that your cat might be in pain. This could be because their stomach is inflamed or because they are too weak to move and eat their food.
They are Making Loud Vocal Noises
Cats tend to be very vocal when they are irritated or in pain. This could range from high-pitch howling or moaning sounds. If you find that your cat is making strange noises such as these, it’s a good idea to get them immediately to the vet.
They are Weak
Lethargy is a common sign in many animals that something is wrong, especially with cats. If your cat is too weak to stand up to eat, explore, or play, that is a suspicious sign.
They are Restless
While some cats might be weak due to pain, some might instead be restless. This could include them moving around strangely while making noises. Restless cats don’t want to sit down, eat, or play. Instead, they just keep walking around and act confused or agitated.
They are Limping
Another sign that your cat could be in pain is that they are limping. This could be a sign that there is numbness or stiffness in their legs or that it could be painful to put weight on them.
Can You Give a Cat Aspirin?
So, can cats have aspirin to help with pain? Unlike many animals, cats can be given aspirin. However, this needs to be done very carefully as the dosage amounts are different. For most cats, you can give them a dose of about 10 mg but this should be given every 48 hours, rather than every six hours as with humans.
While you can give your cat a dose of aspirin, it’s very important to try a different medication if possible. Aspirin should only be given to your cat rarely as it can cause significant health problems and sometimes be fatal.
If you plan to give your cat aspirin, look for an aspirin dosage for cats chart. This way, you can find the right amount of aspirin to give your cat depending on aspects such as their age and weight.
As with any medication, it’s always a good idea to ask questions or voice your concerns with your vet. This way, you can be confident that you will help your cat without accidentally causing further problems.
What Can You Give a Cat for Pain: Can I Give My Cat Tylenol?
When many ask “What can I give my cat for pain and swelling?” their mind wanders to common human painkillers, like Tylenol. While cats can take aspirin, they absolutely cannot have Tylenol. In fact, even one dosage of Tylenol could be deadly to your cat. This is due to the high levels of acetaminophen in the pills which can destroy your cat’s liver and healthy hemoglobin.
What Can I Give My Cat for Pain? Medications to Give Your Cat
While it can be a little difficult to find the right medications to give your cat, there are a few over-the-counter options you can consider. This cat pain medication list explains some of the most commonly prescribed painkillers and what to give cats for pain.
Opioids are a quick pain reliever for cats and include medications such as fentanyl and morphine. These medications are ideal to give your cat after they have had surgery or if they have a chronic disease, such as cancer or severe arthritis.
These can be given to your cat through the form of a pill or with a unique fentanyl patch which will slowly release the medication into your cat. However, the patch is not usually the first go-to method as it has a few drawbacks, such as reducing hormone production and causing your cat to drink heavily.
While used with humans to help with depression, Amitriptyline can also be given to cats to help with nerve pain. It also can help them with symptoms of stress, such as excessive licking.
This painkiller for cats is not commonly used due to the long-term side effects it brings, but it can be administered to cats for allergies or arthritis issues as it reduces inflammation in the body.
This FDA-approved muscle-relaxant drug is ideal for cats who suffer from tremors which can cause pain in specific areas of the body. It works to help stop shaking and give your cat relief from the constant movement.
While these are the most common painkillers for cats, there are various others your vet might prescribe depending on their needs and medical conditions. Because of this, it’s always important to discuss medication usage with your vet so they can tell you the right pain reliever to give to your cat. They will also be able to tell you the dosage to give them so you don’t accidentally cause an overdose.
Symptoms of NSAID Overdoses in Cats
Below are common symptoms of possible NSAID overdoses in cats you need to watch out for if you’ve given your cat over-the-counter medications. If you find your cat has any of these symptoms, immediately take them to your vet.
Fevers are common if your cat has an NSAID overdose. This can be caused due to the inflammation getting worse or the components of the medication interacting negatively with the bacteria in your cat’s body.
NSAIDs can sometimes cause seizures in cats due to them interacting strangely with the liver which then releases an excessive amount of protein particles. If your cat has many medical problems, certain NSAIDs could interact negatively with them which can cause seizures even if it might help with their pain.
NSAIDs can cause your cat to vomit if taken in large doses, sometimes even with blood mixed into it. This is because the medication is causing abdominal pain and could be creating inflammation in the liver and stomach.
If you find that your cat suddenly starts to have dark and discolored stool, it could be a sign of NSAID toxicity. This often is a sign of digested blood which is a very concerning problem.
Another sign of NSAID toxicity is pale gums. This is caused by anemia due to the medications causing severe blood loss in their body.
What Can You Give Cats for Pain? A Medical Solution
Besides medications, veterinarians can also offer other cat pain relief solutions. If your cat is extremely irritated, your vet might give them a few puffs of gas anesthesia. This will not harm them, but rather help them to relax so your vet can get a better look at their body to see where the cause of the pain might be.
While this isn’t a long-lasting treatment, it can help to relax your cat’s body for a short period of time to give them quick relief.
Home Remedies for Cats in Pain: Natural Pain Relief for Cats Solutions
If you’re a bit hesitant to buy pain medicine for cats, there are some natural and home remedies you can consider using.
CBD Oil is quickly becoming one of the most helpful ways to heal pain in animals. The oil is taken from the flowers of hemp and cannabis plants but does not contain the psychoactive component THC. This makes it safe to administer to your cat without fear of it causing problems to them.The oil will help to reduce the inflammation which causes pain and provide instant pain relief for cats. It can be used especially to help with pain caused by cancer, arthritis, nerve pain, and seizures. In addition to this, it can also work to keep your cat calm because it can help with any anxiety or depression your cat might be having due to their pain.
This non-toxic option can be put on your cat with a dropper, rubbed on their skin with a cream, or even given to them via a treat. Make sure to buy organic CBD oil and from a reputable seller. Otherwise, non-organic options might contain pesticides or the dose might not be as strong as your cat might need.
Add Supplements to Their Meals
Supplements can help your cat to stay strong and reduce possible inflammation in their body. These supplements usually contain vitamins, such as C and D, which are known to help common painful ailments like arthritis.
You can find supplements in a chewy tablet or you can get it in a liquid form to mix into their food. The liquid option often contains fish oil which is high in Omega-3s which help to naturally reduce inflammation throughout the body, including the heart, skin, and kidneys.
It’s important to be careful though when giving your cat supplements as giving them too much could cause some health problems. For instance, if the supplements contain high levels of certain vitamins, especially D3, it could end up being toxic to your cat. Because of this, it’s important to read the directions of the supplements to find the right amount to give them. You also should talk your plans over with your vet to ensure that the supplements you plan to use are safe and if they have other supplement recommendations for you to use.
Turmeric is one of the best natural pain relief forms for cats. It will not only naturally reduce inflammation, but it can calm symptoms caused by issues such as arthritis and cancer. Turmeric can also work to improve blood circulation and improve your cat’s liver function so they can stay healthy.
You’ll find special pre-made turmeric oil mixtures you can use with your cat which can be applied topically or mixed into their food. You can also make a turmeric paste to give your cat. You can mix about a tablespoon or two of turmeric with a cup of water, bring the mixture to a boil over a stovetop, and mix until it starts to form a thick paste. Once it does, remove it from the stove and let it cool before you feed it to your cat.
Be careful to not overdo this paste though. Once every so often is ideal as too much of it could cause your cat to feel sick.
For cats who have swelling tissues or trauma to an area, chiropractic work might be helpful. Many veterinary chiropractors can help cats with pain in most areas around the body, including the legs, arms, and neck. Besides providing them with pain relief, adjustments can also help with preventing future inflammation and swelling in the body. Older cats with age-related pain can also benefit from chiropractic work as it can prevent their body from rapidly aging and help them to stay flexible and active for a longer period of time.
Many animal chiropractors can additionally do massages on your cat to help with providing pain relief. This will involve therapeutic movements around the body to release tension and reduce inflammation.
Acupuncture is ideal for cats with chronic pain as it will calm irritated nerves. This method is very safe and sessions can last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Acupuncture will help not only with relieving nerve problems, but other painful health issues as well such as liver issues and even cancer. A veterinary acupuncturist will either use lasers during their treatment or the traditional method with needles.
A new pain relief method many veterinarians are using is magnetic therapy. While it’s still being studied, it is believed that using special magnets on painful areas of the body will create charges that help with improving the bloodstream. This in return will increase oxygen levels in the body. For this method, many cats will be required to wear a magnetic collar.
Chamomile extract can help with healing stomach problems in cats, skin irritations, and even severe anxiety. You can put about six drops of it into your cat’s food to help with these issues.
If you prefer to not give your cat this extract in their food, you can mix it in some water and then rub it over their skin where their pain is.
Keep in mind though that’s it’s important to not overdo the chamomile extract as too much can be toxic to your cat.
It can be very disheartening to discover your cat is in pain. However, thankfully, there are a few ways you can help to relieve it. While you can sometimes use over-the-counter medications with a vet’s approval, there are also many natural anti-inflammatory for cats pain relief methods, such as CBD oil and turmeric. If you find your cat is in pain, definitely keep the tips mentioned above in mind. They will ensure you can help your cat get instant relief but in a safe way.
Dr. Ivana Vukasinovic
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade
Ivana Vukasinovic grew up in Serbia and attended the University of Belgrade where she received a degree in Veterinary medicine in 2012 and later completed surgical residency working mostly with livestock. Her first year of practice was split between busy small animal practice and emergency clinic, and after two more years of treating many different species of animals, she opened her own veterinary pharmacy where an interest in canine and feline nutrition emerged with an accent on fighting animal obesity. In her free time, she acts as a foster parent for stray animals before their adoption, likes to read SF books and making salted caramel cookies.
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