Steroid-based medications are powerful enough to have some detrimental side effects, even when used correctly. That's why most vets won't keep your kitty on them indefinitely in most cases. Ask your vet about possible alternatives like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to help with pain. NSAIDS work differently than steroids and don't suppress the immune system, according to the "Irish Veterinary Journal." This means they are not an appropriate substitute for them in some cases. Even with an appropriate substitute, you must still wean your kitty off steroids before starting a new drug -- always following your vet's instructions.