Everybody hurts sometimes -- including your cat. If you sense that your cat is in pain, the first thing you should do is take them to the vet, since just like with people, the cause of their pain could be the result of a number of different things. Depending what your cat is suffering from, your vet might prescribe one of the following pain relieving medications.
NSAID Type Drugs
Commonly used to help manage chronic pain, such as that caused by arthritis, NSAID type drugs work by blocking the two different enzymes that are responsible for producing the chemicals that cause swelling and send electrical signals from the point of injury to the brain.
By preventing swelling and not telling the brain that, say, the knee is injured, your cat will be able to move around easier than if their knee was swollen and achy. Ranging in strength from mild, over the counter medications to incredibly powerful pain relievers, NSAIDs are among the most popular pain relievers on the market.
Some NSAIDs often given to cats to help them cope with chronic pain are…
Corticosteroid Type Drugs
Operating in much the same way as NSAIDs, corticosteroids help deal with pain by preventing swelling and dampening the body's ability to send signals of pain from the point of injury to the brain. Helpful when dealing with arthritis and other ailments stemming from inflammation, corticosteroids like methylprednisolone are incredibly useful when managing chronic pain in cats.
Muscle Relaxant Type Drug
Muscle relaxants do exactly what you think they do -- relax muscles. They help manage your cat's pain by reducing the severity of muscle spasm, which can cause a great deal of pain in the area of the spasm. If your cat is suffering from pain caused by spasticity, the vet may prescribe a muscle relaxant such as methocarbamol or cyclobenzaprine.
Opioid Type Drug
Opioids are drugs that are chemically similar to drugs of the opiate class, but are not limited to just those natural alkaloids found in the opium poppy. Opioids can (and often do) include drugs synthesized to be identical to opiates. These drugs manage pain by binding to receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems, as well as the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in a dampened ability to perceive pain.
These drugs are typically very potent, and potentially habit forming, so they should only be administered in a controlled setting, and only in cases of severe pain. One opioid commonly used to manage pain in cats is Buprenex, which is an incredibly powerful synthetic drug some 30x stronger than morphine.
Topical Pain Relievers
Sometimes the pain is right there on the surface, and when it is, as in the case of allergic reactions or irritation of the skin, a topical pain reliever can often be the least invasive means of alleviating said pain. Drugs like lidocaine/prilocaine or Neo-Predef can be used to numb an area before inserting an IV, or to take some of the edge off a bad rash.
If you notice your cat is scratching incessantly, it might be time to take them to the vet and get them some topical pain relievers.
More on Cat Health
Warning Signs of a Sick Cat
When To Take a Cat to the Vet
Antibiotics for Cats
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.