The last thing a vet wants to tell a cat owner is that the cat’s pain treatment killed the cat. Yet, it does happen, even to people who are the most loving cat owners. Here are some tips for recognizing your cat’s pain. Before you reach for that bottle of over-the-counter pain medication in your medicine cabinet, consider using natural products that are proven to relieve cat pain.
Cats are notorious for hiding pain. After all, they sleep most of the day and when they wake up they immediately give themselves a good stretching tune-up. As you watch her execute a perfect “down dog” and “half moon” position, you wonder if cats actually invented yoga.
However, now you notice that she is hesitating a bit before she jumps off the couch. When she lands, you note that there is a bit of a limp in her gait. If this is the first time you noticed the limp it may be a temporary cat pain, but with cats over 5, the limp may be a symptom of feline arthritis.
Sadly, some people make the mistake of giving their cat the same medication they take for pain relief. One of these, Tylenol, can kill your cat. Don’t be tempted help your cat with people-meds. It is bad medicine.
There is not a clear way to know if your cat is having pain. However, there are some clues:
1. Abnormal sleeping posture
2. Unusual gait
4. Persistent licking
5. Unusual litter box behavior
6. Decreased appetite
7. Stops grooming
When a cat is comfortable, you’ll notice that she curls up into a ball or even stretches out as if she is flying through the air like Supercat in her dreams. These are signs that your cat is comfortable. However, if you notice your kitty is lying upright with her feet under her body, but to you it seems that she is not relaxing, then she is uptight about something. It could be an external influence, like another cat bothering her, or it may mean that she is fighting discomfort or pain. She isn’t comfortable enough to relax and this is apparent in her posture.
Of course, if you cat is limping or yowls when she moves then that’s a sure sign of cat pain. However, if you notice that she is persistently licking an area, like her shoulder or toes, then this is a sign that she aches in her cat joints. Your cat doesn’t have fingers so she uses her tongue to massage her aches and pains.
The opposite of this is when your cat stops grooming. This is a sure sign that something is wrong. If she is leaving her food bowl full of food and not eating, again another sure sign of a problem.
If your cat’s litter box behavior has taken a turn for the worse, this is another sign something is wrong. It can mean that she has a feline urinary infection, but it can also mean that there is another physical problem. Don’t immediately assume this is a behavior problem, especially in an older cat. You should suspect a physical problem first. Cats are notoriously clean animals; when they stop grooming or properly using the litter box it’s her way of giving you a clear message–get me help!
The good news is that you don’t have to immediately turn to drugs to give your cat relief. However, before you start any protocol, talk with your veterinarian. Vets are accustomed to prescribing analgesics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat cat pain. Talk to your vet about options that don’t involve prescription medications, but are proven to help reduce cat pain.
More vets are open to using homeopathic solutions to help kitties deal with illnesses and pain naturally. One benefit of using natural remedies is that you can use them for long-term treatment of cat pain, like feline arthritis. Osteoarthritis in cats is a progressive disease and your kitty will need long term pain relief. Your vet may sell these products, but you can also find them online from homeopathic resources.