How Acupuncture May Benefit Your Cat
Used for therapeutic purposes in China for over 5,000 years, acupuncture is an ancient treatment modality widely performed on people and pets spanning the globe. Cat acupuncture is safe, effective, and used to treat a wide range of conditions and symptoms. However, only licensed veterinarians who have completed the appropriate training should perform acupuncture on cats.
Here at GeniusVets, we believe that information about caring for your cat should come directly from veterinary professionals — not Dr. Google. We understand, though, that you might be curious about acupuncture and wonder whether scheduling an appointment is the right option for your feline friend. That’s why we sent some of the most frequently asked questions about cat acupuncture to renowned veterinarians throughout the U.S. and compiled their responses to provide you with accurate, trustworthy information.
The information below comes directly from veterinarians, but we still encourage you to reach out to your own veterinarian for additional advice. If you don’t have one, use the GeniusVets Directory to locate a trusted vet near you.
Cat acupuncture is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) principles and involves the insertion of tiny needles at specific points on the patient’s body. It is a safe and effective treatment modality used to decrease pain and inflammation. Acupuncture also triggers your cat’s body to release pain-relieving hormones.
Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners believe that applying pressure to specific body points improves the flow of blood, serum, and qi, or vital energy that flows through the body. Acupuncture is often performed in conjunction with Western veterinary care to improve a cat’s quality of life by easing pain and addressing various health issues.
You might be surprised to learn the variety of ways that acupuncture can benefit cats.
Veterinarians use acupuncture to treat several symptoms and conditions in cats, including:
- Chronic pain
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Lumbosacral disease
- Gastrointestinal disease
- Metabolic disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Acupuncture can also increase appetite in cats who have lost interest in food.
Cat acupuncture is highly effective, especially when performed in conjunction with other treatments. Many cats experience pain relief and a marked improvement in symptoms. Acupuncture can even improve a cat’s blood work. However, it is essential to note that it may take several treatments spread over a few weeks for results to become apparent.
The number of acupuncture sessions needed varies depending on several factors. If, for example, your cat is in the late stages of kidney disease, your veterinarian may recommend monthly acupuncture sessions. If, however, your feline friend has an acute problem, they might just need one session per week for a few weeks. Your veterinarian will determine how many treatments your cat needs to achieve the best results.
In most cases, veterinarians rely on Western veterinary medicine to diagnose health problems in cats. Once they have reached a diagnosis, they may recommend acupuncture as part of an overall treatment plan. In other instances, they recommend acupuncture when other treatments have failed. If you are interested in finding out whether acupuncture is right for your cat, talk to your veterinarian.
Are there any risks or side effects associated with cat acupuncture? Acupuncture is not painful, and it poses no risk to your feline friend. Most cats tolerate the treatment very well, and because the needles are so tiny, many patients do not even feel them. If your cat shows any signs of discomfort, your veterinarian will remove the needle and move to a different area.
When you bring your cat in for acupuncture, your veterinarian will perform a physical exam and determine which acupoints to stimulate based on your cat’s symptoms and any conditions they have been diagnosed with. The veterinarian will carefully insert the needles then let your feline friend relax in a dark space for a predetermined period. This could range from 10 to 60 minutes.
Once the time has elapsed, your vet will remove the needles, and your cat will be ready to head home. There is no need for any special aftercare, but your cat may seem a bit sleepy and relaxed for the rest of the day.
You can see improvement by comparing your cat’s blood work before and after treatment in many instances. As a pet parent, you will also likely notice improvements in your cat’s overall health, appearance, and behavior.
Signs that cat acupuncture is working include:
- Improved appetite
- Increased energy
- Enhanced range of motion
- Decreased symptoms
Contact your veterinarian if you still have questions about cat acupuncture or wonder whether it’s suitable for your feline friend. If you don’t have one, we are here to help you find a local veterinarian.