Pain Relief for Cats

Cats are physiologically different than dogs.  Because of this, they are more prone to developing potentially life threatening side-effects from the most common class of pain relievers used in dogs –NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories). This makes keeping cats comfortable in the face of both acute (i.e. post-surgical or traumatic injury) and chronic (i.e. osteoarthritis) pain challenging.

When cats are hospitalized, veterinarians have a wide range of options to choose from regarding pain medication. But once a cat is scheduled to go home, the choices become more limited.  Below are a few of the more commonly used pain relievers for cats commonly available from retailers like  Many are also good options for dogs.

  • Buprenorphine – good  for acute and chronic pain but can get expensive with long-term use
  • Tramadol  – good  for acute and chronic pain
  • gabapentin – good for chronic pain
  • amantadine – good for chronic pain
  • Joint Supplements – good for chronic pain associated with osteoarthritis and possibly some other conditions
  • Metacam (meloxicam) – this is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory that has been used in cats, but repeated use increases the risk of side effects.  It may still be an option for some individuals.

If you think your pet is in pain, talk to your veterinarian and ask if any of the aforementioned pet medications might be appropriate.