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In acupuncture, small needles are used to stimulate specific points on the body’s surface. This is said to be helpful in various diseases. The concept of acupuncture and its application are explained below.

Acupuncture in cats: what is it?

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The term is made up of the Latin “acus” for point and “pungere” = to prick. The Chinese term is “Zhen Jiu”, which roughly translates to “sting and burn”.

The method of acupuncture comes from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Acupuncture has been used in humans and animals for thousands of years. It comes from a medicine whose way of thinking is holistic: every symptom and every disorder is classified in the big picture. Some ideas and concepts of TCM often seem strange to us and are briefly explained here:


Energy channels that run through the body are called meridians. They connect all organs like a network.


The Life Energy. If it is disturbed, dammed up or reduced, the animal becomes ill.

Acupuncture points

They are distributed over the surface of the body along the meridians. Through their stimulation, the flow of energy is stimulated and harmonized.

What acupuncture methods are there for cats?

The acupuncture methods for cats have the same theoretical foundations in relation to the acupuncture points, but then follow different paths: One method mainly uses points on the back, while another looks for exactly one point for each problem. Ear acupuncture, also known from human medicine, uses the effect that the entire body is represented in the auricle by acupuncture points (similar to the foot reflex zones in humans).

Acupuncture in cats: how does it work?

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Acupuncture in cats stimulates the self-healing powers. The needling gives the body impulses that should induce it to solve the problem itself.

There are already studies that show that acupuncture can have a soothing effect on some clinical pictures. There are also countless positive reports from practice and the method has been used for thousands of years.

How is acupuncture performed on cats?

Special acupuncture needles are used for acupuncture. Your cat sits on the veterinarian’s treatment table – some practices have also set up a slightly more comfortable corner for it. After a thorough examination, the veterinarian will decide which points should be stimulated. Depending on the disease, the acupuncture points in question can be painful when touched – they “show” the acupuncturist the way. The needles are then inserted 1-3mm deep into the skin. The pain this causes is short-lived and minimal, often the needling is painless and the cats tolerate it well. The needles are usually left in place for about 20 minutes, and the animal is allowed to lie down and rest. Even slight movements will not immediately dislocate the needles, as acupuncture needles are somewhat flexible. They do not break off or damage tissue when the patient moves. However, the cat is supervised at all times so that it does not try to pull needles. Some needles fall off by themselves during the exposure time – they have already done their work and are collected immediately.

In the case of acute illnesses, acupuncture is performed up to twice a week, otherwise usually at intervals of 2-3 weeks. The acupuncturist will decide this individually for your cat. Before an acupuncture treatment, you usually do not have to pay attention to anything special. If it does, the vet will let you know.


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There are other things that can be used to activate acupuncture points in cats. By means of laser or light acupuncture, or by what is known as “moxing” (moxibustion). A glowing mugwort cigar is held over certain points, the heat of which penetrates deep into the tissue and unfolds a healing effect.

Gold implantation is a method of permanent acupuncture: Small gold balls or wires are implanted at acupuncture points under sterile operating conditions. These then work over a longer period of time.

Acupressure points cat

A positive effect can also be achieved by massaging the acupuncture points (then also referred to as acupressure points). The advantage is that this method is open to everyone. In stress or pain, certain areas can be massaged. The pressure exerted is perceived as pleasant.

When is acupuncture used in cats?

Acupuncture in cats has a wide range of applications. Pain therapy is of particular importance. Their use can significantly reduce the amount of painkillers to be administered. (This also applies to other regulatory medical procedures, e.g. (homeopathy in cats.)

In addition, the following diseases can be positively influenced with acupuncture:

  • Problems with the musculoskeletal system and nervous system
  • respiratory diseases
  • digestive problems
  • Various organ diseases (liver, kidney, pancreas, etc.)
  • skin diseases
  • cardiovascular problems
  • gynecological problems
  • This list is not exhaustive. However, it does not mean that all diseases can be cured with acupuncture. As always, if your cat is sick, be sure to take her to the vet!

Some veterinarians have meanwhile acquired the additional qualification “acupuncture”: In an extensive, certified training program, the veterinarians learn the acupuncture points of the cat (and other animals, depending on the focus) and the correct needle technique. In this way you gain additional competence for the best possible treatment of your pet!

If a veterinarian is oriented towards naturopathy, he often offers several healing methods of complementary medicine. So it is that homeopathy and acupuncture are used together in cats (and other animals).

Acupuncture in the cat: Conclusion

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Acupuncture is an ancient healing method that still has its place in the treatment of cats.