Giving aspirin to cats

Cats are unique in how they metabolize medications

With the strains of an economic slowdown in our country, as well as the increasing cost of veterinary exams, many animal guardians are often looking to their own medicine cabinets to help ease discomfort in their dogs and cats. And while it is always important for an animal guardian to check with their local veterinarian before administering any over the counter medication at home, this is extremely critical for cat owners who often don’t realize that cats are unique in how they metabolize medications. This means that some medications, while normally well tolerated by humans or dogs, can cause health and life threatening consequences in our feline friends.

This is especially true when it comes to the pain relievers aspirin and Tylenol. Because of unique liver metabolism, cats do not handle aspirin very well if given at high doses, and even one adult Tylenol tablet (325 to 500 mg) could be lethal and deadly to cats. Even minimal levels of exposure to Tylenol can quickly cause depression, vomiting, difficulty breathing, brown discoloration of the gums, respiratory distress, and swelling of the paws and face.

Fulminant liver failure can occur with even minimal dosages. If you’ve made the mistake of giving your cat ANY Tylenol and/or your cat has been given aspirin that causes some of these symptoms, immediate and emergency medical attention is needed. In fact, to demonstrate how sensitive cats are to these nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents, when cardiologists prescribe aspirin to cats with certain types of heart disease, it’s at the reduced dose of one half baby aspirin every second to third day.

The take home point of this blog post is to never self medicate your cat at home, unless you FIRST check with your local veterinarian or emergency veterinary facility.   Interestingly, one of my favorite all time antioxidant supplements Proanthozone, has actually been shown to reduce Tylenol damage to cats who have been exposed. Proanthozone has a wide variety of usages in dogs and cats including as anti-inflammatory, as well as pain reducer. Many of our feline friends can be given dramatic pain relief with safe nutritional supplements such as Yucca Intensive and Cosequin for Cats. However, as in the case with any supplements, I always recommend feline guardians consult with their veterinarians before administering any over the counter supplements or medications.


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  1. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJuly 13, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Good advice for animal guardians.

  2. My cat got in a fight and has some bites on his ear. I can’t afford vet but have doxycycline at the house (from past experience, I am certain they will get infected). What is a safe dose for him? He is about 9 lbs. Thank you

  3. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 22, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    You can try doxycycline 50 mg once daily.


  5. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    You could try a natural remedy called traumeel which you can get at health food store 1 tab three times daily for 5 to 7 days.


  7. My 4 yrs old black pug has had some back problems for sometimes now. He hurt his back by playing with his new toy ball for his birthday yesterday and he played pretty much and wild with that ball then this morning his back is hurting so I put heating pad on his back which helps and gave him low dose of aspirin(81 mg) but can’t remember how many pills a day for a couple days before he should be feeling better again like we did the last time and it was successful than taking him back to vet like we did the first time it we know what to do from now on with him. How many pills a day?

  8. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJanuary 17, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    You could try one half to one baby aspirin once to twice daily with food for a few days at most. If no help see vet. Also consider yucca intensive by azmira from 1800petmeds, as well as putting him on supplements like super joint enhancer.

  9. Hi, I have a stray cat I’ve been feeding for the past 6 years but he disappeared for a week and came back with a scratch on the top of his hesd between the left eye and ear. I was able to catch him two days after I noticed it and have him in doors. But now I also noticed he has a lump on the right side of his cheek and it looks like he can’t hardly open his eye. . I can’t afford to take him to the vet… would there be anything I could treat him with or something I can give him… please I really need help for him. Thank you.

  10. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMay 1, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Most likely is infection or abcess that needs antibiotics from your vet. Not much you can do at home for this. You could try a dose of homeopathic remedy called silica at dose of 30c potency one pellot twice daily for 3 to 4 days to see if it helps likely abcess drain.

  11. I came home from work yesterday and my cat was limping and her hind foot looks swollen i have no money to take her to the vet but need some advise as what to do for pain and swelling.

  12. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJune 2, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    You could try natural pain remedy like traumeel from 1800petmeds, however otherwise best need to see vet for exam and evaluation.

  13. Hello 🙂

    My 1 year old cat returned from outside i noticed what appeared to me as one side of his male sac was hanging a little lower then normal.

    30 min. later i notice a little blood on floor. After seeing blood i picked him up and inspected closer to find a dime size wound. . . Strange Enough ( it does not look like a scratch from another cat) ( Nor does it look like an insect bite)

    This morning symptoms appear to be way worse.
    New symptoms are fever & pain. He now has a swollen mass about the size of golf ball located on the opposite side of hanging sac ( this mass does not appear to have a opening like the wound on the hanging side.)

    Whole right leg (near swollen mass) is swollen / painful so much so that he elevates when standing / walking .

    I have no income and not a single vet office will speak to me without bringing cat to office for visit. .. . nor give me any advise on at home treatment or information about what can cause these symptoms in a cat .

    Sandy M.

  14. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJuly 30, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Hi SAndy. Unfortunately this is not case a veterinarian can make home recommendations without at least first seeing the cat.

  15. First off, stop writing in all caps. You look uneducated. Secondly, if you don’t have the money to care for your pets, especially if an emergency should arise, you shouldn’t have pets.

  16. Hello, my cat got burned on his paws. I took a pot off the stove and he got up on the hot stove top. I’ve been taking care of him, applying Neosporin, aloe Vera, keeping them wrap as much as possible, keepin him from walking on them, anything I can. I think I can nurse him and he will be okay. My concerns are his pain. Do you have tips? Or things I could do better? And could you please recommend something for his pain? Thankyou very much.

  17. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianDecember 6, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    Try topical traumeel and/or oral traumeel from 1800petmeds as natural soothing agent. If still in pain or a problem, please see vet for exam and evaluation, as may need antibiotics, etc

  18. Hello, I found a stray cat out side my door it was hit by a car I believe its a male about a year old and he can barley use his back legs if he tries to walk he crys so I gave him small doeses of liquid baby tylenol and he seems to be better but then I read its fatal to cats what should I do? Please help, have no way of taking him to the vet but want the little guy to be better. He also wont use the bathroom and barley eats.

  19. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 18, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Sorry to be a bit late in getting back to you. Not much you could do at home in situation like this. Tylenol is very toxic to cats.

  20. My cat died February 17 2015 at 13 years old. He passed while the vets were trying to remove fluid from his lungs for a second time. His symptoms were frequent drinking excessive weight and muscle loss vomiting and occasionally he had diarrhea. He passed out twice but the emergency vet didn’t know what was wrong. I was unable to get a necropsy done before his cremation. All I have to go on is the vet had the fluid tested which was bloody and said he either had a heart or lung tumor. One of my vets placed him on a small part of a baby aspirin every 3 days to prevent clots because of his grade 2 heart murmur. I didn’t want to put him on it at first due to losing a cat to metacam but was scared into it by warnings his back legs might go. How likely is it that the aspirin caused his death?

  21. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 24, 2015 at 12:13 am

    I doubt the low dose baby aspirin every 3 days was involved with his death. Veterinary cardiologists for years have used aspirin for preventing blood clots in cats with heart disease. Your cat likely died of complications related to his heart disease and NOT the baby aspirin.

  22. I was standing and before I sat down my kitten 5 month old Bengal got in my seat and I sat on him. He is now limping but he does move and even climb his cat tree but limps pretty bad. I think I bruised him. What can I do to alleviate his pain?

  23. My cat sound all stuffy and are sneezing and coughing no money for the vet what can I give them to get them better?
    Thank you Barb

  24. My cat is not eating well and is limping as well as not leaping very well. I believe from watching him that he may have joint pain that is causing a lack of appetite. Is there something safe I can give him? I cannot afford a vet and I’m concerned about the lack of appetite.

  25. What can i give to my poor cat who recently broke her leg was taken to the vet clinic and Pop was applied twice, first time the PoP was to loose and second time was put too tight not the leg is swollen and she is not eating well
    So after getting an advise from the vet he recommended to cut the cast off
    We did but we couldn’t take it off we basically cut right in the middle (now its half cat) so the blood circulation can hopefully do the trick
    But i am worried about her (her name is Soot) that she is not eating well and loosing weight
    I just hope she is going to be alright

    Please help if you can
    Kind regards

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