Wondering what medications you can give a cat for pain? Short answer is none.  Your vet, on the other hand, may prescribe one of these many pet and human meds! Read on to learn more!

Wondering what medications you can give a cat for pain? Short answer is none. Your vet, on the other hand, may prescribe one of these many pet and human meds!


Pain meds are a big part of treating animals, be that cats, dogs, horses, or other livestock. Like human medicine, pain management is one of the big components of medical treatment for animals. Even though cats are stoic creatures, rarely showing pain, they do experience it, and a good vet will always recommend pain management if you cat has been injured or is suffering from a problem that causes pain. Let’s take a look at the different pain meds that could be prescribed for your kitty.

Many Pain Meds for Cats

Before we go any further, I want to make sure all cat owners have one thing in the forefront of their minds. NEVER give any sort of medication – pain or otherwise – to your cat before consulting your vet. Only your vet will know what’s wrong with your cat and how to treat your furry friend. In addition, some medications are toxic to cats, even though they’re perfectly fine for humans. For example, acetaminophen, the NSAID most commonly known as Tylenol, can be fatal to felines. It’s always a priority to contact your vet before administering any sort of medication. Now, without further ado…


NSAID stands for Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug. These are medications that reduce inflammation in the body and bring down fevers. However, not all NSAIDs are safe. Your vet will tell you when and NSAID is called for and which one to use. NSAIDs most commonly used by vets are:

  • Robenacoxib – Available in pill and injectable varieties.
  • Meloxicam – Most commonly used after surgery. Available in injectable and liquid.

While these NSAIDs are considered relatively safe pain meds for cats, in some instances, they can cause damage to your cat’s kidneys, liver, heart, stomach, or intestines. Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Low energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in water intake and urination
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea or dark feces, which can indicate blood in the GI tract
  • Yellow of the skin, eyes, or gums, which are signs of jaundice

2- Opioids

Opioids are another option in pain meds. These are most often prescribed after surgery or for painful conditions like chronic arthritis or advanced stage cancer. Common opioids include:

  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydromorphine
  • Morphine

3- Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids, most commonly referred to as steroids, are often prescribed for pain due to the inflammation caused by arthritis, soft tissue swelling, and allergies. These drugs are all about reducing inflammation. Common corticosteroids are:

  • Dexamethasone
  • Prednisolone

4- Gabapentin

One of the more targeted pain meds, gabapentin is a seizure medication that is also prescribed for pain in the nerves, muscle, and bone.

5- Amitriptyline

This is a human anti-depressant but serves to treat nerve pain in cats.

6- Buprenorphine HCI

This is one of the safest of all pain meds. As an opiate partial antagonist, it doesn’t fit into any other category. It comes in both injectable and oral forms and is a preferred pain management med due to its safety.

Always Call Your Vet for Advice on Pain Meds

If you cat seems to be in pain, do not try to treat her at home. Call your vet immediately. You’ll need your vet’s expertise to figure out exactly what’s wrong with your cat and how to treat the problem. Only your vet can accurately assess your cat’s problem and decide what medications to give her. That includes pain meds. You’ll notice that all the pain meds listed above are only things you can get through your vet.  That’s because vets should be the first and last word in what medications go into your cat’s body. Even if you have some of these meds at home for yourself (almost all of them are also human meds), DO NOT attempt to treat your cat on your own. The dosage for you is A LOT higher than it will be for your 8-pound kitty!


Has your vet prescribed any of the pain meds for your cat? Share your experiences below.