Cat Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy - FAQs

Dr. Debra Voulgaris
Two Hands Four Paws

What is involved in cat physical therapy and rehabilitation?

There are many things involved in cat physical therapy and rehabilitation. We have to consider the cat's mindset as they are a bit different than dogs. We primarily address mobility issues, which may not always be easily recognized in cats. The methods we use for helping them with mobility and comfort include laser treatment, acupuncture, underwater treadmill, and sometimes manual therapies like massage. What we do greatly depends on what the cats will allow us to do, but usually, we can significantly improve their comfort with physical rehab.

How can physical therapy and rehabilitation help my cat?

Physical therapy and rehabilitation can help with pain and mobility issues. If you notice changes in your cat's behavior, such as a decrease in jumping or activity, that is a clear indication to seek help. We first address pain and then work on strength and mobility, which improves their mobility and overall quality of life.

What ailments or issues are helped by physical therapy and rehabilitation?

Physical therapy and rehabilitation can help with a variety of issues. We often see animals with pain issues, but most commonly we're dealing with mobility issues related to joint problems, orthopedic issues, arthritis, tendon problems, soft tissue problems, or muscle issues. We also handle neurologic issues. Anything that's causing a mobility issue is something that we would aim to treat.

Do I need to find a physical therapist, or can my veterinarian do rehabilitation on my cat?

Physical rehabilitation for animals requires specialized training, so it's recommended to find someone who is certified in this field. It's not as simple as just using a laser. I highly recommend finding someone certified in physical rehabilitation to work on your cat.

How is the need for physical therapy in cats diagnosed?

The need for physical therapy in cats is diagnosed through working with your general vet. We may need to get x-rays or perform advanced diagnostics. When we do our physical rehabilitation assessment, we measure limbs, assess muscle mass, check the range of motion of the joints, and observe their walk. We use our experience and training to determine what needs to be addressed first. It's always good to have as much information as possible. Therefore, I recommend seeing your veterinarian first, doing whatever diagnostics need to be done there, and then coming to see us where we're highly trained in this particular area.

Are there any risks or side effects associated with physical therapy for cats?

Physical therapy for cats is generally very safe. If your cat is very nervous or has a heart issue, it's best to contact us first because cats can get very stressed out. But generally, this is about as safe as it gets.

Is physical therapy and rehabilitation painful for my cat?

No, physical therapy and rehabilitation is usually very comfortable for cats. While they may feel some methods like acupuncture a little, it's not painful. Other methods like laser treatment and massage are not felt at all. This is all about comfort, so there shouldn't be any pain involved.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (310) 475-8555, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram