Cat acupuncture is an alternative treatment option for your cat if they are experiencing pain or discomfort from a chronic illness or injury, helping to activate their natural healing abilities and improve their quality of life. If you’ve tried other treatment options, but your cat is still feeling discomfort, veterinary acupuncture may be an option for you. At Animal Farm Pet Hospital , we work diligently to bring you accurate information that you can trust. We’ve taken the most frequently asked questions about cat acupuncture and answered them here as thoroughly and accurately as possible.

When acupuncture is recommended for your cat, Animal Farm clients are referred to our nearby sister location, Seven Hills Veterinary Hospital. Our front desk staff can help coordinate care by providing your pet’s records to SHVH. To schedule a consultation directly, you may call Seven Hills at 415-642-7200.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an alternative medicine with deep roots in ancient China dating back 5,000 years. It refers to the insertion of tiny needles into pre-established points of the body. The needles stimulate acupoints, releasing natural painkilling chemicals called endorphins and stimulating the body’s defense system. Acupoints correlate to areas of the body that contain bundles of vessels and nerves. Needle insertion increases blood flow to those areas and releases anti-inflammatory mediators. Acupuncture can provide relief from pain and inflammation through your cat’s acupuncture points, activating their body’s natural healing abilities.

How can veterinary acupuncture impact the health and well-being of my cat?

Veterinary acupuncture helps alleviate a cat’s pain and inflammation, thereby making them feel better and improving their quality of life and long-term health. It can support your cat through chronic diseases, complementing their treatment regimen and possibly even reducing or eliminating the need for pain medications.

What are some symptoms and conditions that cat acupuncture may be able to treat?

Cat acupuncture is often used along with traditional veterinary medicine to treat several conditions, most commonly renal and gastrointestinal problems.

Conditions treated with cat acupuncture include:

  • Allergies
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Behavioral problems
  • Chronic constipation
  • Dermatologic problems
  • Hypertension
  • Inflammation
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Lumbosacral disease
  • Neurological problems
  • Pain
  • Renal disease
  • Thyroid issues
  • Traumatic injuries

How effective is cat acupuncture?

Cat acupuncture is very effective, even leading to improved blood work results for some cats.

What is the number of treatments required for cats receiving acupuncture?

The number of veterinary acupuncture treatments your cat needs varies depending on the condition we are treating. Each cat receives an individualized plan. For example, we will use monthly acupuncture treatments in the late stages of feline kidney disease after trying everything else. Cats that have experienced an acute crisis, such as a broken bone or other injuries, might only need three treatments of cat acupuncture in total – once a week for three weeks. While we may see a response after just one treatment, cats typically need multiple sessions.

How will a veterinarian diagnose the need for cat acupuncture?

Ensuring you have the correct diagnosis before proceeding with veterinary acupuncture is essential. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian or certified veterinary acupuncturist so they can assess your cat and determine if they’re a viable candidate for feline acupuncture. We’ll also need to evaluate your cat to see if they can tolerate the needles and safely remain still for the entire acupuncture process.

Are there any risks or side effects associated with cat acupuncture?

There are no risks or side effects associated with cat acupuncture. Some cats aren't a big fan of the process, but others are relatively tolerant. The process is done very slowly using tiny needles inserted into the cat's acupuncture points, and if your cat shows any discomfort, we'll remove the needle and then release points elsewhere on the body before going back to that spot. They're usually pretty amenable when we go slowly and pay attention to any moments of discomfort.

What should I expect before, during, and after my cat's acupuncture session?

At our nearby sister location, Seven Hills Veterinary Hospital, we perform cat acupuncture on an exam room table with a technician holding your cat. Once we place the needles, we typically turn off the lights and let them relax in a dark space, gently limiting their movement to avoid the needles coming out too soon. We supervise them for about 10-20 minutes, then remove the needles and send them home. They're usually a bit sleepy for the rest of the afternoon.

How will I know if veterinary acupuncture treatments are helping my cat?

Your veterinarian will sometimes see progress in your cat’s blood work from a clinical perspective. In general, cat owners have pretty good intuition and can see the benefits firsthand. You'll know that they are eating better, have more energy, may be drinking less water if the treatment is for kidney disease, and have a better attitude since they’re feeling better.

What is acupressure?

Acupressure is another traditional Chinese medicine tool that's similar to acupuncture, however, it is non-invasive, instead using gentle pressure on specific points on the body along what are referred to as “meridians”. Disruptions in the flow of energy through a cat’s body can cause a breakdown of the immune system, lead to illnesses, or even increase the likelihood of injury. The introduction of pressure on these points releases blockages and encourages the flow of energy.

Do cats respond well to acupressure?

Yes, cats do respond very well to various acupressure techniques. Of all animals that receive acupressure well, cats seem to enjoy it the most and will let you know very clearly when they want another session.

More information on cat acupuncture and cat acupressure

If acupuncture is recommended for your cat, Animal Farm clients are referred to our nearby sister location, Seven Hills Veterinary Hospital. Our front desk staff can help coordinate care by providing your pet’s records to SHVH. To schedule a consultation directly, you may call Seven Hills at 415-642-7200.