What Can You Give a Cat for Pain?

Its one of the most helpless feelings a pet owner can experience: Fluffy or Fido is in pain, and you dont know how to make it better. Maybe they stepped on a piece of broken glass and cut their paw. Or, they ate something that didnt agree with their stomach and are now lying in a ball whimpering. Or maybe theyre having an unexpected flare-up of arthritis. Whatever the case may be, they are hurting, the veterinarians office is closed for the night, and you just want to alleviate their pain.

Advil (ibuprofen) and Tylenol (acetaminophen) should never be used in your pet, says Kristi C. Torres, Pharm.D., a pharmacist in Austin, Texas, and a member of SingleCares Medical Review Board. While acetaminophen is toxic to both dogs and cats, felines are especially prone to poisoning death, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) , because they lack an enzyme to properly break it down in the liver.

Gabapentin , for instance, is an anticonvulsant and nerve medicine used to control seizures and alleviate pain associated with shingles in humans. According to Dr. Torres, gabapentin can be given as the oral capsule available for human use, but if your pet requires the liquid version, theyll have to prescribe a formulation especially for animals. Prescription medications arent the only option for pain relief in your petthere are a handful of natural remedies that may be worth trying.

Which human painkiller is safe for cats?

As little as one tablet of Regular Strength Tylenol contains enough acetaminophen to kill some cats.

What is good to give a cat for pain?

NSAIDs for Cats. NSAIDS are usually the first line of defense. The FDA hasn’t approved any NSAIDs for long-term pain management, but certain ones are cleared for short-term use in cats. Your vet may prescribe the pill robenacoxib, which is also available as an injection.

Is there a painkiller I can give my cat?

Opioids. 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.

Can cats have ibuprofen?

Although relatively safe in humans, ibuprofen and other NSAIDs can be extremely harmful to cats. Poisoning may happen when pets get into the owner’s medications. In some cases, owners may administer ibuprofen to treat their pet’s pain prior to consulting a veterinarian.

Your cat is more than a pet — they are part of the family. You don’t want to see them in pain. When you notice your furry friend sleeping more, limping, or suddenly unwilling to leap off the sofa, you want to make them feel better. But don’t open your medicine cabinet looking to help them. You may do more harm than good.

Acetaminophen — which is not an NSAID, but is a common medication found in products like Tylenol — can be fatal for felines. These include codeine, fentanyl, hydromorphone, morphine, and tramadol and are used for severe discomfort.

These drugs relieve pain from allergies or arthritis primarily by reducing inflammation. An opiate partial agonist that does not fit any of the above categories, comes in both injectable and oral forms. Continued Before giving your pet any medication, read the label closely and talk to your vet.

While some NSAIDs are deemed safe, they can sometimes damage your cat‘s kidneys, liver, heart, stomach, or intestines.

If you are searching for something that you can give your cat for pain, dont look to your medicine cabinet or your dogs medications for answerswhat you find there can be toxic to cats.

Veterinarians will occasionally prescribe the forms of NSAIDs that are formulated for people, such as aspirin and ibuprofen , for specific conditions, but you should never give them to your cat for pain relief without veterinary guidance. There are also NSAIDs made specifically for cats, but even these products needs to be used with extreme caution (if at all) and always under the close supervision of a veterinarian.

Research has suggested that this is because cats lack certain enzymes that help metabolize and eliminate certain drugs. As little as one tablet of Regular Strength Tylenol contains enough acetaminophen to kill some cats. The drugs metabolites (breakdown products) destroy liver cells, damage the kidneys and convert hemoglobinthe oxygen-carrying molecule in bloodto methemoglobin, which results in poor oxygen delivery throughout the body and tissue damage.

Chronic pain associated with inflammation, like that caused by degenerative joint disease (also called osteoarthritis or simply arthritis), tends to respond best to multimodal therapy (taking several approaches at once), which often may not include traditional pain medications . These guidelines explain that NSAIDs are an important class of medication in feline medicine, and that its worth looking into whether they can be used safely in cats in long-term treatment protocols. Giving them food that has a reduced caloric density with normal amounts of protein will help them lose weight while still allowing them to retain muscle mass and strength.

Excess body weight not only puts undue stress on arthritic joints, but it also promotes the inflammation that is at the heart of the disease.

As all cat owners know, cats are NOT small dogs. And when it comes to pain and pain management, this is certainly true. Cats are much less likely to show outward signs of pain, especially when they are suffering from chronic (long term) pain. Fortunately for cats and the people who love them, veterinarians have made excellent progress in understanding cat pain and how to manage it.

A cat may decide that the stairs are too difficult to navigate and remain on a single level of the home. A cat that begins to soil out of the litterbox may in fact be feeling pain and is avoiding the step or jump into a high walled litter box.

Keep in mind that arthritic pain is common in older cats and may be manifested in many different ways depending on the area of the body that is affected, yet it is very difficult for a pet owner to identify the source without professional help. resisting handling or being picked up withdrawal from family activity/anti-social aggression or unexpected reactions when approached or handled decreased grooming and unkempt haircoat (mats, dander, or greasy fur) OR increased grooming in specific areas stiffness or limping changes in personality Opioids may play a role in maintaining a good quality of life for a cat with severe chronic pain.

Are human drugs safe for pets?

Unfortunately, many of the common over-the-counter pain relievers for humans are dangerous for dogs and cats. “Advil (ibuprofen) and Tylenol (acetaminophen) should never be used in your pet,” says Kristi C. Torres, Pharm.D., a pharmacist in Austin, Texas, and a member of SingleCare’s Medical Review Board.While acetaminophen is toxic to both dogs and cats, felines are especially prone to poisoning death, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), because they lack an enzyme to properly break it down in the liver.Meanwhile, aspirin as a pet pain med is less dangerous, but Dr. Torres says it’s best not to risk it.“Some vets may say that using a coated, buffered aspirin would be acceptable in an emergency situation, but it will likely make your animal’s stomach very upset and possibly cause a stomach bleed,” she explains.Even if a human drug seems “safe” for a pet (for instance, Benadryl is typically okay for both human and pet consumption), the dosing will likely be very different for your furry friend. “It’s important to recognize that an animal dose of any drug is not simply a percentage of a weight-based dose in humans,” says Jeffrey Fudin, Pharm.D., the managing editor of paindr.com.“For example, if the dose of a drug is 75 mg in a 150 pound human, that does not mean that the dose is 37.5 mg in a 75 pound dog. Dogs and cats metabolize drugs very differently from each other and from humans,” Dr. Fudin explains. “What’s acceptable in one animal could be dangerous or even fatal in another. It is always best to seek advice from a veterinarian before giving any medication to your pet.”

Prescription pain relief for dogs and cats

While there are a number of OTC human medications you should never give your pet, your vet may prescribe a pain med for your pet that’s commonly prescribed for humans—albeit at a different dosage and a potentially different formulation. If it’s available at your local pharmacy, you can use your SingleCare card to save.

1. Gabapentin

According to Dr. Torres, gabapentin can be given as the oral capsule available for human use, but if your pet requires the liquid version, they’ll have to prescribe a formulation especially for animals. “The human liquid formulation contains xylitol, which would be toxic to your pet,” she says.

3. Rx-only NSAIDs

Though OTC NSAIDs are off-limits for your pets, there are a handful of Rx-only NSAIDs that can be prescribed by a vet. For the most part, each species has their own unique prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, but there are a few canine and feline prescription options that are also used in humans (etodolac, celecoxib, meloxicam). Prednisone, an Rx steroid medication used in humans, can also sometimes help pet pain.

Call the Vet

Talk to your vet before doing anything. They’ll want to find out what‘s causing your pet’s discomfort. There may be something going on that needs treatment beyond pain relief.Many medications people use can make animals very sick. That includes common nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen.Acetaminophen — which is not an NSAID, but is a common medication found in products like Tylenol — can be fatal for felines. Their bodies can‘t safely break it down.

NSAIDs for Cats

NSAIDS are usually the first line of defense. The FDA hasn’t approved any NSAIDs for long-term pain management, but certain ones are cleared for short-term use in cats. Your vet may prescribe the pill robenacoxib, which is also available as an injection. Meloxicam is another NSAID that’s injected, usually after surgery. It can also be administered orally in a liquid form.Your vet might also suggest aspirin, but in small doses and infrequently. Sometimes it’s given in liquid form. Make sure you give the medication exactly as recommended. Cats only need a little bit, and too much or too often can harm them. Don’t assume you know the right amount. And don’t over use the meds. NSAIDs for cats are approved for no more than 3 days of use.

Continued

Although NSAIDs are common, there are other types of medication, too:

NSAID Use in Cats

Cats are extremely sensitive to the side effects of NSAIDs. Veterinarians will occasionally prescribe the forms of NSAIDs that are formulated for people, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, for specific conditions, but you should never give them to your cat for pain relief without veterinary guidance.There are also NSAIDs made specifically for cats, but even these products needs to be used with extreme caution (if at all) and always under the close supervision of a veterinarian.

What About Tylenol for Cats?

Cats are roughly two to five times more sensitive to NSAIDs than are dogs.They are also not able to eliminate NSAIDs from their system as efficiently as dogs and humans. Research has suggested that this is because cats lack certain enzymes that help metabolize and eliminate certain drugs.Cats are therefore at increased risk for adverse drug reactions, such as:

What

Pain medications for cats should only be given to cats under close veterinary supervision.Acute (short-term) pain is often treated with a prescription opioid pain reliever called buprenorphine, but this medication can be costly over the long run.Chronic pain associated with inflammation, like that caused by degenerative joint disease (also called osteoarthritis or simply arthritis), tends to respond best to multimodal therapy (taking several approaches at once), which often may not include traditional pain medications.

What is pain?

As all cat owners know, cats are NOT small dogs. And when it comes to pain and pain management, this is certainly true. Cats are much less likely to show outward signs of pain, especially when they are suffering from chronic (long term) pain. Fortunately for cats and the people who love them, veterinarians have made excellent progress in understanding cat pain and how to manage it.Most cats instinctively hide their pain as a survival mechanism. Cats are, by nature, predators, and predators who can no longer hunt become another predator’s next meal. In the past, this led well-meaning experts to presume that cats did not feel pain the same way humans do. Veterinarians know that cats have a nervous system very similar to humans, and we know better how to recognize and manage their pain.