American Association of Feline Practitioners

Veterinary professionals passionate about the care of cats

Chronic Pain Educational Toolkit

Chronic (persistent or long-standing) pain is a common, debilitating condition in all mammals, including cats. Chronic pain has a negative impact on health, behavior and wellbeing, and on the human-animal bond. Unfortunately, chronic pain can be difficult to recognize and treat. This Toolkit is designed to guide the veterinary professional through:

  1. An understanding of the pathology of chronic pain and a list of conditions and types of pain that will facilitate both prediction and identification of pain.
  2. A variety of tools for chronic pain assessment that will engage both the practitioner and cat caregiver.
  3. A description of science-based therapy goals with realistic applications for both the veterinary professional and cat caregiver.
  4. A science-based plan for patient support that will include critical information on pharmaceuticals, nutrition, and environmental modification.
  5. A discussion of caregiver support, which is often over-looked but critical for success.

Instructions for Use

This Educational Toolkit is an implementation tool for veterinary professionals to access and gather information quickly. It is not intended as a complete review of the scientific data for treatment of chronic pain in cats. We recommend that you utilize the information in the AAHA Pain Management Guidelines endorsed by the AAFP in combination with the information in this Educational Toolkit.

To use the Toolkit, click the tabs at the top in the navigation bar to access each page and learn more about each area, including defining chronic pain, types of chronic pain, its prevalence, conditions that cause chronic pain, assessment, therapy goals, role of each therapy, patient support, and caregiver support. Each page also has an associated printable PDF that you can use in your practice. Additionally, a link to a printable version of the entire toolkit, which contains information from each page, is included in the left side bar.


The AAFP would like to thank Zoetis for their educational grant to develop this Toolkit, and for their commitment to helping the veterinary community improve the lives of cats. We also would like to thank our Task Force for their hard work in developing this Educational Toolkit content – Kelly St. Denis, DVM, DABVP  (Feline), Chair; Tamara Grubb, DVM, PhD, DACVAA; B. Duncan X. Lascelles, BSc, BVSc, PhD, FRCVS, CertVA, DSAS(ST), ECVS/ACVS; Sheilah Robertson, BVMS (Hons), PhD, DACVAA, DECVAA, DACAW, DECAWBM (WSEL), CertVA, FRCVS; and Paulo Steagall, MV, Msc, PhD, DACVAA. The AAFP would also like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Steagall; Dr. André Desrochers, DMV, MS, DACVS; and Zoetis for figure use.

Conflict of Interest

The Task Force Members have consulted with various industry companies. The members of the Task Force received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this Toolkit.

  © American Association of Feline Practitioners, 2024