Orange tabby cat lying down.
Orange tabby cat lying down. Photography ©Anna Usova | Getty Images.

Drug Gabapentin May Improve Quality of Life for Arthritic Cats

A new study discovers that gabapentin can help provide relief for cats suffering from arthritis.


A recent study looked at the effects of the drug gabapentin on older cats with osteoarthritis. Veterinarians have increasingly become aware that painful arthritis is more widespread in senior cats than previously thought.

Gabapentin can be used for both seizure disorders and as a pain reliever. In this study, published in September 2018 in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 20 arthritic cats over 10 years old were evaluated by their owners for three mobility-impaired activities.

Cats receiving gabapentin had significantly greater odds of improved scores for client-specific outcome measures and quality of life.

About the author

Jackie Brown is a freelance writer from Southern California who specializes in the pet industry. Reach her at

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in Catster magazine. Have you seen the new Catster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting area of your vet’s office? Click here to subscribe to Catster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home.

Thumbnail: Photography ©Anna Usova | Getty Images.

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8 thoughts on “Drug Gabapentin May Improve Quality of Life for Arthritic Cats”

  1. I am interested to know how you decided it was the gabapentin that was contributing to weight gain for you and your kitty. Thanks.

  2. Gabapentin is used to calm a cat prior to vet visit. My speciality vet has me give my 10 lb kitty 100mg pill two hours before leaving for the vet office. It works fine and by the time she is back home the effects have worn off . We have 1/2 hour ride to vet and approximately 1/2 hour in office and back home again. Without pill cat is very anxious and hard to handle.

  3. Apparently calming anxiety is another use for Gabapentin. My dog is being treated by a veterinary behaviorist for anxiety, and he has been on Gabapentin, in combination with Sertraline (Zoloft), for about four months now. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be working yet, but I also haven’t seen any side effects. As a matter of fact, I don’t really see much difference in him at all, good or bad, and he definitely is not gaining weight (he’s super high energy and rail-thin). He’s about 55 lbs. and is taking 600 mg per day.

  4. I was prescribed Gabapentin and gained 30 pounds after taking it for 1 month. I have had my older dog on this drug and if he truly did not need it I would not use it because he has also gained too much weight. He is getting pain relief though and that is what is important. I would rather he get some relief and be overweight than in constant pain.

  5. I take gabapentin for nerve pain in my back. As far as people go, gabapentin is not used for arthritis. It does not do anything for that. I’d like to know if it works differently for cats.

  6. I would not give Gabapentin to any living thing without a doctor’s advice. I have taken it for over a year for tremors. I found myself falling all the time and not being able to get up myself. There must be other drugs available or maybe healthy eating.

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