Gray cat lying down in pain.

Cat Pain Management

No pet parent wants to see their feline friend in pain. Unfortunately, much like humans, cats can experience pain for many reasons. Whether it’s caused by an underlying health condition, an injury, surgery, or the natural aging process, finding cat pain management solutions is likely your top concern.

When your cat is in pain, wanting answers is natural. You may have been looking online for some trustworthy information, and we are glad your search led you to us! We strongly recommend reaching out to your veterinarian regarding your cat’s pain, but we understand the need for dependable online information. That’s why we decided to share our answers to some of the most common questions about cat pain management. If you need additional information or your cat requires treatment, and you don’t already have a veterinarian in Rio Rancho, NM, let us help. Schedule an appointment with us today by calling (505) 314-8024 or dropping us a line at

How will I know if my cat is in pain?

Cats tend to be very stoic and hide signs of pain. If you notice your cat becoming less social than usual or spending more time tucked away in their favorite hiding places, they could be in pain or experience a health issue. For this reason, it’s crucial to schedule an appointment with us if you notice any changes in your cat’s behavior or disposition.

A few symptoms that could indicate pain in your cat include:

  • Hiding more than usual
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Aggression, especially when picked up or touched in certain places
  • Changes in litter box behavior
  • Difficulty climbing stairs, jumping, etc.
  • Decreased activity levels
  • Increased vocalization
  • Eating or drinking less than usual

Old cat hunched over in pain

Why is it important to avoid self-diagnosing pain in my cat?

If there is any chance that your cat could be in pain, they need veterinary care. Trying to diagnose the problem yourself could cause additional pain or other problems for your precious pet.

Plus, pain often causes animals to lash out. If you press on an injury or an area of your cat’s body that is sore for another reason, you will likely get hurt. Even loving cats are prone to biting and scratching when in pain. For your cat’s safety and your own, please give us a call at (505) 314-8024 immediately if you think your feline friend is experiencing pain.

How will my veterinarian know if my cat is in pain?

When sharing your cat’s history, the information you provide vital clues that help us determine if they are in pain. We’ll also conduct a complete physical exam and look your cat over from their nose to tail. During this exam, we’ll assess the range of motion and check for painful spots.

Depending on our findings or the suspected issue, we may recommend advanced diagnostics to help us get to the bottom of what’s going on with your cat. Each case is different, and we consider this to develop the best plan for diagnosing every patient.

What are some possible conditions that can cause cat pain?

Pain is most commonly caused by injury or trauma. In older cats, arthritis is another common cause of discomfort and pain. If your senior kitty isn’t as active and playful as they once were, or they have trouble getting on furniture or going up, and down the stairs, arthritis is likely to blame.

Cats can also get cancer, which can be quite painful depending on the type and severity of the disease. Your feline friend could experience pain due to gastrointestinal disease, too.

Cat in pain being cradled by human hands

What types of pain medications might a veterinarian prescribe for my cat?

We usually prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to injured cats and those who have arthritis. In cases of arthritis, we may also recommend supplements to help improve their joint health.

NSAIDs are not appropriate for cats with GI pain. In these cases, we’re more likely to prescribe something like Gabapentin.

Again, every cat and every case is different. There is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution for managing pain. Instead, we’ll consider your cat’s symptoms and medical history to determine the most suitable medication (or other treatment).

What's the most important consideration when it comes to cat pain management?

Veterinary medicine is much more advanced in pain management for canine patients than feline patients. At this time, there is not a single medication that is effective in treating all cats. This is largely due to how cats’ bodies process medications.

When attempting to manage pain in your cat, we’ll likely need to take a multiple modality approach. This may include pharmaceuticals and/or alternative therapies. In many situations, we need to try multiple treatments to find the best one for a patient.

With geriatric cats and those with serious illnesses like cancer, we must consider their quality of life. We always try to treat or manage pain, but humane euthanasia is often the kindest option when that is not possible. As veterinarians, we are here to help you do what is best for your beloved pet.

If you have additional questions or your cat needs to see a veterinarian for pain management, we are here for you. Send an email to or call (505) 314-8024 to schedule an appointment.