Opioids have an unjustified reputation for causing mania in cats, but with refinements in dosing they are now used successfully in this species. The mu-opioid agonists are generally considered the best analgesics. Morphine (0.1-0.3 mg/kg) is effective in a clinical setting. Methadone (up to 0.5 mg/kg) has a similar profile to morphine. Pethidine (Demerol, meperidine; 2-5 mg/kg) is a useful analgesic with a faster onset but shorter duration of action than morphine. Oxymorphone and hydromorphone (0.05-0.1 mg/kg) are widely used in the USA. These opioids are more potent (up to 10 times), and longer acting than morphine in cats. Butorphanol (0.1-0.4 mg/kg) is a mu-opioid antagonist that produces its analgesic actions through kappa agonist activity. It rapidly reaches a ceiling effect, is short acting and is a weaker analgesic than pure mu opioids. Buprenorphine (0.01-0.02 mg/kg), a partial mu-agonist, is the most popular opioid used in small animal practice in the UK, other parts of Europe, Australia and South Africa. In clinical studies it has produced better analgesia than several other opioids and appears to be highly suitable for perioperative pain management in cats. NSAIDs are also used in cats for pain management, although cats metabolise these differently from other species. With appropriate dosing, carprofen (1-4 mg/kg) and meloxicam (0.3 mg/kg) have proved highly effective with few side effects. The use of ketoprofen (2 mg/kg), tolfenamic acid (4 mg/kg) and vedaprofen (0.5 mg/kg) has been reported in cats. Other less traditional analgesics such as ketamine, medetomidine and local anaesthetics are also used for clinical pain management. The transmucosal, transdermal and epidural routes offer novel methods for administration of analgesic drugs and have considerable potential for improving techniques in feline pain management.