Watching your furry friend struggling with pain is heartbreaking! But it is encouraging to know that, whether your cat is suffering from arthritis, physical injury, or pain after surgery, there are natural and holistic options available to provide some comfort.
This guide will reveal some natural pain relief options for cats that are proven effective, so read on to learn more!
Subtle signs your cat is in pain
Cats are excellent at hiding their pain and discomfort. In the wild, they have adapted to masking illnesses and vulnerabilities to avoid attracting predators. Depending on the ailment, this survival tactic can make it very challenging to diagnose a cat’s pain.
However, as a cat parent, no one knows your fur baby better than you. Even though cats can be stoic, you should be able to identify subtle changes in your own cat’s behavior and realize that something is not right.
Some common signs of chronic pain in cats are:
- Increased sensitivity when touched
- Excess vocalization
- Reduced appetite
- Less affectionate
- Avoiding activities that might cause pain, such as jumping onto the bed
- Decreased or increased grooming of a particular body area
- Frequent sleeping and hiding
- Being withdrawn
- Decreased interest in playing, exploring, and socializing
- Heavy panting
- Increased irritability
Top natural pain relief for cats
While there are natural pain relievers available to ease your cat’s pain, you should never use these as an alternative to your vet’s prescriptions. Have your feline checked over thoroughly to determine what is causing the pain, so that it can be addressed appropriately. Do not give any treatments or therapies to your cat without veterinary approval.
Natural pain relief for cats includes therapies, herbs, and supplements which you can add on top of prescribed medications. Some of the most effective ones are as follows:
Turmeric is a common spice found in many traditional Indian dishes. It has also long been used for medicinal purposes due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antioxidant properties. The ‘golden spice’ is excellent at treating several skin problems, bacterial infections, digestive issues, and pains, thanks to its active ingredient – curcumin.
Aside from being used as a medicinal herb for humans, turmeric can be safely consumed by animals as well. Several studies have shown that turmeric can effectively alleviate pain in dogs and cats. It can also help reduce the symptoms of feline arthritis and cancer.
The best way to administer turmeric to your suffering pet is to create a paste. In a pan, add a half cup of turmeric powder and one cup of water. Mix well over low heat until it forms a thick paste. If the paste is too thick, gradually add more water and mix again. If it is too runny, add a bit of turmeric until you achieve the desired texture. Then, add one and a half teaspoons of ground pepper and one-quarter cup of medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, or coconut oil. Mix thoroughly and turn off the heat to cool the paste mixture. Store the turmeric paste in a jar with a tight lid; it should last in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Start adding a quarter teaspoon of turmeric paste into your cat’s food daily. Keep in mind that turmeric paste is a bitter spice, so make sure to use only a small amount at a time. Discontinue if your cat shows signs of gastrointestinal upset or vomiting. Always consult your vet before giving turmeric to your cat to ensure that it does not interfere with other medications.
Chamomile is a herb known to be an effective muscle relaxant, sedative, and anti-inflammatory supplement. It is often used topically to treat skin inflammations, as well as orally to treat gastrointestinal issues like inflammatory bowel disease and stomach ulcers. Sometimes, chamomile is also used to manage mild anxiety due to its mental relaxant properties.
Although there are still limited studies of chamomile use in cats, some anecdotal evidence suggests that chamomile does indeed help in managing gastrointestinal issues and inflammations. Cats struggling with anxiety can also benefit from taking chamomile due to its calming effect.
Chamomile can be given to your furry friend in the form of powder, capsules, or tea extract. You can also purchase chamomile oil or cream to be used topically for skin inflammations.
Add chamomile powder or liquid to your cat’s food regularly in small doses. Do not give more than has been approved by your vet – large doses of chamomile can be toxic to cats! If you miss a dose, do not give your cat two doses at once; skip the missed dose and proceed to the next scheduled dose.
3. Fish oil
Fish oil is another supplement that can be given to cats to treat a wide variety of inflammation issues. Aside from promoting healthy skin, hair, and immune system, fish oil is also an excellent pain reliever for cats, thanks to its omega-3 fatty acid content.
It contains DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), essential fatty acids that help to reduce body inflammation and improve brain development and cognitive function. If your cat is struggling with joint pain or skin inflammation, then fish oil can be used along with the prescribed pain medicines to maximize pain relief.
Fish oil is available in pill or liquid form. We highly recommend choosing the best quality fish oil brands for your cat, such as Nordic Naturals. You may also ask for advice from your vet before choosing the brand and dosage. If your cat does not like swallowing pills, you can break them up and mix the contents with food.
4. CBD oil
Cannabidiol, or CBD oil, is a chemical derived from the marijuana plant. However, it does not contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis plants that produces a high. This natural supplement is great at reducing inflammation, managing pain, and supporting gut health.
At the right dosage, cats can benefit from this supplement to alleviate symptoms linked with various ailments. You can use CBD to manage conditions like feline anxiety, epilepsy, low appetite, and arthritis pain.
However, obtaining CBD can be tricky since it is illegal in some areas, so make sure to discuss this option with your vet.
The appropriate CBD oil dosage for cats might vary depending on your cat’s condition. Vets usually recommend giving one milligram of CBD per ten pounds of your pet’s body weight. It should usually be given every eight hours or so, depending on the condition. Make sure to monitor your cat’s symptoms closely while using the treatment, and adjust the dosage as needed.
5. Glucosamine chondroitin supplements
Supplements containing glucosamine chondroitin can help your furry friend cope better with pain. So, if you have a senior cat struggling with osteoarthritis or joint inflammation, glucosamine might be a great choice.
Normally, as your pet ages, the cartilage that protects the joints and bones degrades, sometimes causing unbearable pain and inflammation. Glycosaminoglycans, the active ingredient in glucosamine supplements, have excellent anti-inflammatory properties to help your furry friend feel a little better.
As with all other supplements, make sure to contact your vet before giving glucosamine supplements to your cat.
6. Heat and ice therapy
Heat promotes increased blood flow to a particular body area which can be helpful to reduce stiffness and pain. Cold compresses, on the other hand, reduce blood flow and are thus a good therapy to reduce swelling.
Depending on your cat’s condition, you might want to consider heat or cold therapy as a short-term relief for muscle spasms or soreness, pain, swelling, and stiffness. Make sure to talk with your vet for proper guidance.
Here are some additional tips for using heat or cold therapy on your cat:
- Use a hot water bottle or an ice pack as a heat or cold compress.
- Do not apply the bottle or ice pack directly to your pet’s skin. Instead, wrap it with a washcloth before applying it.
- Make sure that the temperature is tolerable for your cat. Try it first on your own skin to ensure that the compress is not too hot or too cold.
- To avoid thermal burns, avoid using heating pads, especially if your pet has mobility issues.
7. Massage therapy
Massage therapy is the practice of manipulating the muscles and other soft tissues to relieve body stress or pain. Thankfully, our whiskered friends can benefit from massage, too – provided it is done correctly.
Several massage techniques employ kneading or rubbing of particular body parts to reduce muscle soreness, increase muscle strength, and help restore muscle function after surgery or injury. Cats struggling with stress and anxiety can also benefit from a massage, as it produces a relaxing effect for your fur-buddy.
Massage therapy can be done at home or in a vet’s office. Make sure that the practitioner handling your furry friend is certified in medical manipulation, rehabilitation, or acupuncture.
Can catnip help cats in pain?
Catnip, also known as Nepeta cataria, is a common herb that belongs to the mint family. This potent, lemony plant has long been associated with cats due to its behavior-changing effect on them. Lions, tigers, as well as your adorable house cat, can all be driven instantly crazy the moment they sniff this fragrant herb.
Nepetalactone is the main chemical responsible for your cat’s intense and weird reaction to catnip. However, not all cats are sensitive to catnip. In fact, about 30 percent of cats do not respond to the plant’s alluring oil at all. This is because some cats are not born with ‘catnip genes’.
The catnip-induced bliss does not last long, though. On average, cats usually react to catnip for about 10 minutes. This makes the herb a great addition to toys so that your furry friend can enjoy playtime for a short period without getting too exhausted.
Aside from making your kitty hyper or mellow, it is said that catnip can have both calming and medicinal effects. Some experts claim that catnip can be used as a natural analgesic to relieve body pain and muscle soreness. Surprisingly, the potent herb also contains anti-inflammatory properties, making it an excellent topical treatment for skin irritations.
As mentioned, catnip can be added to your cat’s toys to provide relief from anxiety and pain. The recommended dosage is about 0.5 ounces. If you are using catnip tea, we recommend two to three tablespoons to maximize relief.
No loving fur parent wants to see their kitty suffer! Although prescription medications can help alleviate your cat’s symptoms, natural options are also available to help your pet feel better. Remember always to consult your vet before medicating your cat with any of these options, to prevent overdosing or unwanted drug reactions.
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