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Medicines that are dangerous to cats

If your cat ingests medicine intended for humans, there is a risk of poisoning. Although most cats are very careful with what they put in their mouths, it’s important to know the dangers and what to do if your cat ingests something it shouldn’t.
Medicines that are dangerous to cats

Poisoning is, as far as we know, not as common in cats as in many other animals. However, it can happen, and drug poisoning is one of the most common poisonings in cats.

This type of poisoning is mostly caused by humans, as many believe that they can give the same pain relief that they use to their animals. It is important to never give any kind of human medication to your cat unless your veterinarian has prescribed it.

How do you know if your cat has been poisoned by medicine?

It can be difficult to determine if a cat has been poisoned, so it is important to keep them under observation if poisoning is suspected. If there is the slightest suspicion of poisoning, you should always contact a veterinarian.

Symptoms of drug poisoning

  • Vomiting
  • Cough
  • Diarrhoea
  • Breathing problems
  • Cramps
  • Dizziness

Why are painkillers dangerous for cats?

Cats are extra sensitive to painkillers as they contain substances that are difficult for their organs to break down. Paracetamol, acetylsalicylic acid and ibuprofen are three dangerous substances. In some cases, a small dose can be life-threatening.

Common anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving preparations are registered for both dogs and cats. It is important to only use those that are registered for cats and nothing else.


In case of paracetamol poisoning, the substance affects the oxygenation capacity of the blood and cats often become tired. The colour of the mucous membranes can also change. Such poisoning can lead to anaemia and even death if the cat does not get help in time. Paracetamol can also cause liver damage, which is not immediately detected.

Acetylsalicylic acid

Acetylsalicylic acid is found in medicines such as aspirin. In case of poisoning, a cat may vomit, convulse and fall into a coma. Even this type of poisoning can be fatal if the cat does not get help in time.


In case of ibuprofen poisoning, a cat can become disoriented, have bloody stools, go into shock or die.

Treatment of drug poisoning

If you suspect your cat has ingested medication, they should be taken to the vet quickly. The vet should be able to quickly induce vomiting by giving it an emetic injection. We advise against trying to make the cat vomit yourself, it often does more harm than good.

If you suspect your cat has been poisoned, do the following:

  • Contact a vet straight away for advice
  • Take the package or information about the medicine to the vet
  • Try to determine if the cat has actually eaten the medicine.

Don't try to make your cat vomit. If your cat has been poisoned, it may be urgent to get help, as even small amounts of painkillers can be life-threatening for your cat.

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