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Painkillers for Cats

Many pet owners are interested to know about safe painkillers for cats in a bid to ease the discomfort of their feline friends. The following article will help clear some doubts pet owners have about painkillers for cats.
CatAppy Staff
Last Updated: Feb 7, 2018
Cats try not to display any signs of pain as an ill, lame or weak animal in the wild is prone to attack by other animals. Therefore, this shatters the old myth that cats do not feel any pain. This has prompted the American Animal Hospital Association Journal, 2007 to inform all vets to consider pain as the fourth vital sign after temperature, pulse and respiration. Thus, vets try to provide pain management and pain relief during medical procedures. Cats are very sensitive creatures and can develop allergies to many painkillers that are frequently used for humans and dogs. It is always better to use safe painkillers that are advised or prescribed by the veterinarian.
Safe Painkillers for Cats
If you observe the above symptoms of pain in your cat, then NEVER ever medicate your cat based upon your own assumptions of right or wrong. You will need to take your feline friend to the vet and let him diagnose the problem. Many pet owners think Tylenol (Calpol), a medication for little children, can prove to be a safe painkiller for cats. Few cat owners are also under the impression that medications for dogs, small animals or minimal amount of household painkillers may be helpful to cats. But remember, these medications can cause severe damage to the cat's liver and can prove to be fatal. One should never ever give Tylenol to cats, as the cat's liver breaks down the medication into different components that are toxic to the animal.
Cats may suffer from pain due to injury, even simple medical procedures like ear cleaning, dentistry, surgery, etc. Many diseases affecting cat health like urinary tract infections, arthritis, cancer, etc. may cause pain in these felines. A veterinarian will prescribe over the counter medications depending on the above mentioned causes that will be safe and helpful to the cat.
The veterinarian may prescribe opiates, synthetic opiates, steroids and NSAID's as painkillers for cats. The only NSAID prescribed painkiller is Metacam, as cats are intolerant to NSAID medication. Yet, Metacam is used sparingly as it can also lead to severe side effects like acute kidney failure and even death.
Natural painkillers include homeopathic remedies like Traumeel and Arnica that help in pain relief. The results of natural painkillers is very dicey and therefore one should consult a holistic veterinarian, regarding whether these pain killers can help in successful treatment for cat pain.
Many veterinarians may also prescribe safe painkillers for cats in form of patches. These patches for pain include fentanyl patches that helps provide pain relief for up to four days. Injection like buprenex can also be used in form of a patch that helps in pain management for up to 12 hours. Immodium AD is used as a painkiller in case of diarrhea.
Drugs and Chemicals to Avoid
Cat liver has a partial enzyme pathway called the gluconidation pathway, which is also present in both humans and canines. This partially functional pathway causes a low intolerance of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) class of medications. This means you should totally avoid giving your cat acetaminophen, carprofen and aspirin as painkillers. Before we move into the details of over-the-counter painkillers for cats, let us understand signs of pain in cats.
Signs of Pain in Cats
As mentioned earlier, it is a very tricky task to understand whether a cat is in any kind of pain. The following general signs of pain in cats will help you determine if your ball of fur is in distress.
  • Your cat may sit hunched up.
  • Lethargy
  • The cat shows disinterest in its surroundings and people
  • The cat reduces self grooming sessions or cat grooming is very poor
  • The cat urinates or defecates outside the litter box.
  • Increased aggressive cat behavior
  • Fast and shallow breathing.
  • Unprovoked agitation, restlessness
  • The cat does not allow you to touch or pat its body
  • The cat keeps licking the area of injury or pain
  • Excessive vocalization like growling, hissing and purring
  • The cat remains hidden under the bed, sofa or any place it feels safe
Word of Advice
One should never attempt to give any kind of painkillers to cats without the consent from a well-qualified veterinarian. Many people think of giving medications like Tylenol, Atasol, Paracetamol, Aspirin, Ibuprofen to their cats. But, do you know one strong tablet of Acetaminophen can take away the life of your precious cat!!
Cats are special creatures with special needs. Their flexible and athletic body is actually very sensitive to various chemicals. Even though cats are low maintenance creatures that may come home only for dinner, you need to be alert regarding the cat's health problems. Cats are very clever in hiding their pain, but a loving and alert owner will understand if something is amiss and take the cat to a veterinarian.
Cats are like little children who act as if all grown up, but need a lot of attention and care. Never, never, never give your cat painkillers meant for human consumption, canine medications or drugs for small animals. Canine painkillers and other drugs can have adverse effects on your kitty's health. Medical advice is the best way to help treat your cat. A cat is a stealthy creature who needs an owner who can understand the unspoken words of joy and pain and help it live a long, happy and fulfilling life.
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