cat relaxing

Cat Acupuncture

If your cat has been in pain due to an acute or chronic condition that hasn’t responded well to traditional veterinary treatments, your veterinarian may have recommended cat acupuncture. As a loving pet parent, you’ve likely turned to the internet to find out more about this treatment. Here at Zia Pet Hospital, we recognize the need for factual information for cat owners, which is why we’ve taken these frequently asked questions on acupuncture for cats and answered them as thoroughly as possible.

Please keep in mind that while the information below is factually correct, it’s always best to consult with your own veterinarian regarding your cat’s healthcare needs. If you need a vet and are in Rio Rancho, NM, we can help! Schedule your cat’s first appointment by reaching out to us at (505) 314-8024.

What is cat acupuncture?

Cat acupuncture is the placement of tiny needles in specific areas on the pet's body to help preventing pain and inflammation.

How can acupuncture impact the health and well-being of my cat?

Just as with humans, the Chinese believe that putting pressure at some of these points can move blood, serum, and qi to help increase energy and decrease inflammation in the body.

What are some symptoms and conditions that cat acupuncture may be able to treat?

We see a vast improvement in cats with a variety of diseases after feline acupuncture.

Some of the conditions that we see improvement in cats after acupuncture are:

  • Renal disease
  • Kidney and liver disease
  • Lumbosacral disease, or arthritis in their lower back
  • Asthma
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • Easing the symptoms of cancer treatments

Veterinarian holding acupuncture needle near cat's back on white background

How effective is cat acupuncture?

Feline acupuncture is very effective. Many veterinarians will even tell you that they’ve seen blood work improve on cats that are getting acupuncture treatments.

What is the typical range for the number of treatments required for cats receiving acupuncture?

Like most veterinary treatments - mainstream or integrative medicine - the number of treatments needed can vary from cat to cat and what disease we’re treating. Sometimes we'll use acupuncture in the late stages of kidney disease in cats. We’ve tried everything else, so we add in acupuncture, and they might be on it monthly. Other cats have perhaps had an acute crisis. We might do three treatments—once a week for three weeks—and then that's all they need.

How will a veterinarian diagnose the need for cat acupuncture?

Being aware that acupuncture is available to cats is the first and most important thing. And then, once veterinarians see firsthand that this treatment causes improvement in their blood work, general attitude, and energy, they’re more likely to reach for this in their veterinary toolbox.

Are there any risks or side effects associated with cat acupuncture?

There are no risks associated with cat acupuncture, although some cats aren't big fans of it. In general, they're pretty tolerant. The veterinarian will go slow when using the tiny needles, and if the cat shows any discomfort, we'll remove the needle, release points elsewhere on the body, and then go back to that point. Cats are pretty amenable if you go slow and do it that way.

Small cat is having acupuncture

What should I expect before, during, and after my cat's acupuncture session?

We usually do acupuncture on cats on an exam room table with a technician holding them. Once we place the needles, we typically turn off the lights and let them relax in a nice dark space, keeping them from moving around to avoid getting the needles out too quickly. We let them sit for about 10 minutes, remove the needles, and then send them home. Cats who have had acupuncture are typically a little sleepy for the rest of the afternoon, but that's really it.

How will I know if acupuncture treatments are helping my cat?

Sometimes you can clinically see the improvement with cat acupuncture as the blood work improves. In general, though, cat owners have pretty good intuition. If you’ve reached out for other treatment modalities and ended up doing acupuncture, you'll see if your cat is either eating better, has more energy, or perhaps is drinking less water—some of the signs we see with kidney disease, for example—the signs and symptoms of the disease that we're treating improve.

If you still have questions about cat acupuncture? We can help! As veterinarians in Rio Rancho, NM, we’re here to discuss your cat’s situation, determine if acupuncture is a good option for your furry feline, and address any questions or concerns you may have. Send an email to or call (505) 314-8024 today.