Pain Management for Cats

Opioid drugs can be safe and effective but can also cause side effects. When given at appropriate dosages under the supervision of a veterinarian, they can be used with confidence.

For localized pain, your veterinarian may be able to inject a local anesthetic. For chronic pain, such as that of arthritis, massage therapy, application of heat (being careful to avoid accidental burning), physical rehabilitation, and medication specific for pain relief can help many cats. Joint supplements formulated for cats can also be beneficial — just make sure the formulation is safe for cats. Your veterinarian can recommend the right products for your cat. Acupuncture has also been credited with pain relief in many instances.

At home, provide a soft warm bed placed where the cat doesn't have to jump to get to or from it. Also place the litterbox, food bowls and water bowls where the cat need not jump to get to them. Be aware that litterboxes with high sides can be difficult for the cat to get in and out of, and stairs can be uncomfortable to go up or down.

Although pain medication must be used with caution in cats, don't let fear of side effects prevent you from giving your cat the pain relief he needs. Just make sure you relieve his pain safely and under the advice of your veterinarian.

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