Post-Neutering Pain Medications for Cats

by Carlye Jones, Demand Media
    Most cats just need extra rest to recover from neuter surgery.

    Most cats just need extra rest to recover from neuter surgery.

    Luckily for your cat, neuter surgery is one of the least invasive surgeries he can have, so it isn't as painful as other types. Even so, being cut open with a scalpel in such a delicate area is not without pain. Medication can help your kitty feel better.

    At the Clinic

    Most veterinarians will give your cat pain medication before surgery. Even though it's administered before the anesthesia, this type of pain relief lasts up to 12 hours, so that your cat isn't hurting after surgery. Ask your vet what the usual procedure is for pain management so that you know whether your cat has already been treated for pain before he leaves the clinic. You certainly don't want to overdose your cat on pain medication.

    At Home

    Neuter surgery is not invasive like a spay surgery, so there's a lot less pain afterward. Most cats are pretty tough and won't need any pain medication. In fact, most vets don't send home pain pills unless there's a good reason. Keep an eye on your cat and if he seems to be suffering call your veterinarian for advice. Cats can be very sensitive to some medications and it's better for your guy to be a little uncomfortable than to get sick from too much medicine. Baby aspirin can be given in very small amounts, but you should talk to your vet first, since aspirin can easily cause liver damage and intestinal bleeding. A dose of aspirin intended for a human adult could be fatal for your cat. Your vet might prescribe the pain relievers meloxicam, tramadol or robenacoxib, but even these can have serious side effects.

    Human Medications

    Most human medications are toxic to cats, especially acetaminophen, which is commonly sold as Tylenol. These medicines can seriously harm and even kill your cat because his body does not produce the enzymes necessary to break down most pain relievers. Ibuprofen and naproxen—also sold as Motrin, Advil and Aleve—should never be given to cats. Phenylbutazone, often called "bute," which is used for horses and dogs, can kill cats. Talk to your veterinarian about options for pain control. Vitamin E, cod liver oil or salmon oil can help reduce inflammation, which in return reduces pain and won't pose a serious health risk to your cat. The supplement MSM may also give your cat temporary pain relief.

    Other Options

    Since there are few safe and effective feline pain medications available, even to your veterinarian, it's important to do what you can to make Kitty comfortable after surgery. Give him a cool place to lie down. A flooring tile that has been chilled in the freezer or refrigerator works well. Keep any other pets or young children away so that he can relax and recuperate without being pestered. Moisten his food with a little warm water and encourage him to eat in small amounts.

    Pain Level

    You definitely don't want your cat to suffer, but a tiny bit of tenderness can actually be a good thing. If your cat doesn't feel a thing at the surgery site he might get a little too active too soon and pull apart the incision. It's better if he feels just a tiny bit uncomfortable when he runs, stretches and jumps for the first few days so that his body can heal. Don't let him suffer needlessly—severe or constant pain is not necessary for healing—but don't worry about medicating him for every little twinge either. Your cat shouldn't be in pain when he's resting, especially since rest will help his body bounce back faster than nearly any other treatment.

    About the Author

    Carlye Jones is a journalist, writer, photographer, novelist and artisan jeweler with more than 20 years of experience. She enjoys sharing her expertise on home improvements, photography, crafting, business and travel. Her work has appeared both in print and on numerous websites.

    Photo Credits

    • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images