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Cats: acetaminophen and other toxic drugs


In humans, it is the standard part of the medicine chest: paracetamol. Cats should not take the pain reliever under any circumstances. Here you can find out why the product is toxic to your cat and which medications can also harm the house tigers. Paracetamol and other medications should never be accessible to cats - Andrii Muzyka / Shutterstock

If we humans have a headache or feel a little feverish, we like to use a pain reliever like paracetamol. Cats, on the other hand, are highly sensitive to the drug - in the worst case even small doses can lead to the death of the animal. Therefore, you should definitely act according to the following rule of thumb: Never give human medication to animals! If your cat looks sick, take her to the veterinarian, who will prescribe a medication that is specially designed for the sensitive organism of four-legged friends. Experiments with drugs from the human pharmacy, on the other hand, harm your darling more than they are of use.

Why acetaminophen can poison cats

The active ingredient of paracetamol is processed in the body of animals and humans in the liver. However, while this is usually easy for people and when used properly, cats' livers have the toxic degradation product gluthation when they take paracetamol. Due to the material, the cat's blood can bind less oxygen, and there is also serious liver damage.

Symptoms of paracetamol poisoning in cats

If a cat eats paracetamol, severe signs of intoxication quickly appear. The heart rate increases, at the same time the cat has difficulty breathing. Your mucous membranes become bluish-pale and swelling on the paws and face can result from water retention, so-called edema. Damage to the liver can also cause a so-called "jaundice", which causes the skin and mucous membrane to turn yellow.

In the event of severe poisoning, the cat vomits, and its urine turns dark brown. You should take your cat to the vet as soon as possible with the first symptoms of acetaminophen poisoning - there is a risk to life. It is important that you can tell the doctor what your cat has taken and how long the poisoning was. This way, the veterinarian can help your pet faster and easier.

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Which drugs can still be toxic

It is not only acetaminophen that is dangerous for cats. Numerous other medications, which we humans usually tolerate well, can cause serious damage to our velvet-pawed companions. These include:

  • ● contraceptives ("birth control pills")
  • ● Beta blockers, such as those used to treat heart diseases
  • ● thyroid hormones
  • ● ADHD drugs like Ritalin
  • ● Antidepressants in large quantities
  • ● Ibuprofen (pain reliever)
  • ● Diclofenac (pain reliever)

It is best to keep all medication in a well-closed pharmacy cabinet. This means that neither your room tiger nor your children can accidentally take harmful medication.


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