7 Home Remedies for Cats in Pain
When your cat is in pain, you want to do everything you can to get them relief. In many cases, this means prescription pain medicine from your vet, but there are several ways you can soothe your cat at home using natural remedies. Read on to learn the signs that your cat is in pain, as well as 7 natural remedies to relieve their pain from home.
How to Know if Your Cat Is in Pain
Just like humans, cats can develop pain as they age, whether that’s from arthritis, injury, surgery, or other causes. Unfortunately, a cat’s natural instinct is to hide or mask their pain symptoms, so it can be difficult to diagnose your cat’s pain.
The key to knowing if your cat is in pain is to pay attention to subtle changes in their everyday behavior. Cats are creatures of habit, and they prefer to follow the same routines. When your cat is experiencing pain, one of the first signs is a change in their daily habits like grooming, sleeping, and eating.
Other common symptoms that your cat is in pain include:
- Vocalization (like growling, meowing, or hissing)
- Changes in body posture
- Avoidance of being pet or held
- Changes to your cat’s potty behaviors
- Reduced appetite
- Rapid breathing
- Tail flicking
- Difficulty jumping
7 Ways to Relieve Your Cat’s Pain at Home
Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect that your cat is in pain to diagnose the cause and begin treatment. Once your vet has thoroughly examined your cat, you can use these at-home pain remedies in conjunction with your vet’s treatment plan.
Pain can understandably raise your cat’s stress and anxiety levels, leading to even more discomfort in their day-to-day lives. Synthetic pheromones like sprays and diffusers can work to reduce stress, helping to ease some of the pain your cat feels.
Synthetic pheromones work by mimicking the pheromones that cats release through their facial glands. They use these pheromones to mark their territory and make themselves feel safer and more at home in their environment.
While synthetic pheromones can’t directly manage your cat’s pain, they can help to lower their stress levels, which contribute to their overall pain level.
For many cats, pain is tied to arthritis or an inflammatory issue that they develop as they get older. Turmeric contains natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease your cat’s joint pain.
The active anti-inflammatory ingredient in turmeric is a superfood known as curcumin, which possesses antifungal, antibacterial, anticoagulant, antiseptic, astringent, and wound healing properties. It can even help with liver function in cats.
Mix a small amount of turmeric with a healthy fat, like fish oil or coconut oil, to make it easier for your cat’s body to absorb.
3. Cold and Heat Therapy
If your cat has suffered a recent injury, cold therapy can help numb the area and reduce swelling, redness, and pain. You can use ice packs, a cold towel, or even a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel on your cat’s injury for 10 – 20 minutes at a time.
If your cat is suffering from chronic pain or a long-term injury, heat therapy will be more effective. Use a warm towel, hot water bottle, or heating pad to relax your cat’s muscles and increase blood flow to the area. Heat therapy is great for soothing aching joints as well.
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 supplements like fish oil or specially formulated supplements help reduce inflammation, which can ease pain related to arthritis, allergies, kidney disease, and more.
The EPA (eicosatetraenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in fatty acid supplements are the main active ingredients that help control inflammation in your cat’s body. You can also buy some cat foods with added EPA and DHA.
5. A Change to Your Cat’s Diet
Obesity is a growing problem in cats and a major cause of pain in their daily lives. An estimated 56 million cats in the United States are overweight or obese. That added weight puts pressure on your cat’s joints leading to pain and health conditions later in life.
Talk with your veterinarian to determine an ideal weight for your cat and to develop a nutrition plan to get your kitty to that weight. For many cats, the cause of their added weight is a lack of proper feeding guidelines at home. Determine the appropriate number of daily calories that your cat needs, and portion out that exact amount for your cat every day.
6. Glucosamine and Chondroitin Supplements
Glucosamine and chondroitin are the two most common ingredients in joint supplements for cats. They are both naturally occurring substances in your cat’s body that help repair and protect their joints.
By adding glucosamine and chondroitin to your cat’s diet, you can help lubricate their joints, reducing friction and preventing cartilage in the joints from breaking down. Both of these supplements are available in capsule supplement form, or you can add them to your cat’s food or treats.
To ensure that your cat gets a safe and effective dose and formulation of glucosamine and chondroitin, be sure to choose a veterinary-approved supplement and follow the directions carefully.
7. CBD Oil
CBD oil is less prominent for cats than it is for humans and dogs, but many pet parents have still found success when introducing it to their cats. Clinical research is still limited, but there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence available to suggest that CBD oil is effective for pain management in cats.
The CBD oil works with your cat’s endocannabinoid system, the receptors in their body that are responsible for maintaining many of their regulatory systems, including their reactions to pain.
CBD oil may change the way your cat’s body reacts to pain, helping to relieve many types of chronic and acute pain. CBD oil may also be effective at helping to manage anxiety, inflammation, seizures, and more.
Before giving CBD oil to your cat, always be sure to consult with your veterinarian.
Why You Should Never Give Your Cat NSAIDs
While you may be tempted to give your cat an over-the-counter pain reliever, many of the most common nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), as well as acetaminophen, can be extremely toxic for your cat.
Your cat’s body does not process NSAIDs in the same way that humans or even dogs do. In fact, cats are 2 – 5 times more sensitive to NSAIDs than dogs. This means they are at risk for side effects like ulcers, impaired blood clotting, and kidney damage.
Never give your cat over-the-counter pain relievers without talking with your veterinarian first. If you're concerned about costs related to vet-prescribed medication, pet insurance may be able to help. Click here to learn more.
Which Home Remedy Is Right for Your Cat?
Many of these home remedies can help your cat manage their pain symptoms, but only if you know the underlying cause first.
If you suspect that your cat is in pain, always consult with your veterinarian. Your vet will run diagnostics and develop a plan to get your cat back to their pain-free self, enabling them to live a long, happy, and healthy life.