How do I know if my cat's in pain?

Cats are skilled at concealing issues, particularly subtle ones like chronic pain. Some signs of chronic pain in cats include hiding, lethargy, reduced mobility, increased aggression, inadequate grooming, increased vocalization, or hesitations before jumping. They may also avoid stairs, take frequent breaks while climbing stairs, or show signs of inappropriate elimination, such as difficulty using the litter box or avoiding it altogether.

Dr. Kelley Wallace DVM
Catawba Heights Animal Hospital

Why should I avoid self-diagnosing pain in my cats?

Cats are adept at masking many conditions. It's important to ensure their kidneys are functioning properly, especially since older cats are prone to kidney problems, before starting any medication. A veterinarian can detect signs of pain through a physical examination and by considering information you provide about your cat's behavior.

What are some medicines for cats' pain management?

Various medicines are available for pain management in cats. These include supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin, anti-inflammatories such as Oncior (a cat-specific NSAID), and a new drug called Solensia, a monoclonal antibody injection administered about once a month.

To learn more about Solensia and treatments for feline osteoarthritis pain, visit

Pain medication options are limited in cats because they cannot metabolize many anti-inflammatories that dogs can. The NSAIDs that are available for cats should only be used for a limited time due to their slower processing ability. Cats should never be given human pain medications, such as Tylenol, ibuprofen, or Advil, as these can cause severe harm or even death.

What are some steps taken when we see pain in cats?

When we suspect pain in cats, we typically start by taking x-rays to rule out other issues. We may then prescribe an anti-inflammatory for a few days, add in glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, and administer the Solensiainjection, which has proven effective in cats.

What is the most important consideration when it comes to managing your cat's pain?

The most crucial factor in managing your cat's pain is implementing a treatment plan that is feasible for you and comfortable for your pet. For example, if your cat dislikes oral medications and administering them causes additional stress, we will avoid that route. Injections can be an excellent alternative because they are administered monthly. Our primary goal is to make your pet more comfortable.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (704) 827-0616, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram