Acupuncture for Cats

PetMD Editorial
By PetMD Editorial
Published: August 29, 2012
Acupuncture for Cats

The Holistic Science Behind Acupuncture for Pets

By Diana Waldhuber

Acupuncture for your cat? It’s not as strange as it might sound at first, especially if you’ve had no experience with the treatment. And no, kitty will not look like it is part of a Dr. Frankenstein experiment.

The ancient Chinese treatment arose from the belief we all have energy cycles that move through our bodies and keep us healthy. When one of the energy points becomes blocked, the person, or animal, would become ill or diseased. Unblocking the energy point through the act of inserting needles at these pressure points is the way to free the energy and thus heal.

Interestingly, the ancient Chinese also believed this technique would work on cats. Our furry feline friends have similar energy points on their bodies to people, so a skilled veterinary acupuncturist (TCM) is able to treat your cat properly.

If you’ve been the kind of big scaredy cat (no pun intended) who’s always kept far away from people wielding long thin needles, you might want to take a deep breath and think again.

How Can Acupuncture Help My Cat?

Acupuncture is safe and painless for both you and your cat (getting your eyebrows waxed hurts way more!). The needles, when inserted properly (the reason you go to a real acupuncturist), don’t send any pain signals to the brain. In fact, most kitties will relax during the procedure, and lots take catnaps.

While this is not an overnight remedy, you will see changes in your pet. Kitty may be more alert, social, relaxed, and moving about like its old self in as little as one or two sessions. For chronic conditions, your kitty may have to have sessions for the rest of its life to keep the pain and discomfort down.

Depending on the ailment, you may want to use the therapy in conjunction with traditional medical treatment, as a backup, or simply as an alternative. It can be used to help cats with almost any disorder, including chronic pain, arthritis, asthma, allergies, and even kidney and liver problems. Acupuncture has also been found to ease the side effects of cancer treatments, too. 

Treatments can last anywhere from less than a minute to thirty minutes. And of course, you are allowed to be there with your pet throughout the whole procedure. There are a few different methods a veterinary acupuncturist may use. The traditional use of needles that are rotated by hand is the one most people know, but some therapists may use lasers with injections of sterile fluids, or even use short bursts of an electrical current to stimulate the area. The kind of acupuncture your kitty receives will depend on the therapist. 

Now that you know a little more about acupuncture, it might be something to discuss with your veterinarian at the next visit.

Image: pathwithpaws / via Flickr

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