Cat Medications - Vital Information on Cat Medications

What guidelines does the veterinary industry follow to determine if medications are safe and effective for treating cats?

We go by many guidelines, and we base the medications that we use on this research. And they put these meds through vigorous testing. They do many trials to look at how effective things are and how cats tolerate them. We look for things like side effects, and we make sure they're safe for our little fur babies.

Dr. Trish Johnson
Compassionate Care, Charlotte, NC

What are the different types of cat medications used to treat?

There are a ton of medications on the market. We have everything from stuff to help with hairballs to prescription medications used to treat various diseases, including thyroid disease and kidney disease. Those are two of the more common conditions that we can see in kitties. There are medications that we use for inflammation, like steroids.

There are also things like antibiotics, antifungals, and topicals. There are so many different forms of these medications as well. Everybody knows about pills and that's usually some of the trouble that we have with these guys is getting pills into them. But some prescriptions could be in liquid form or others that can potentially be in transdermal form, where we have a little lotion that goes on the ear, right here, so they're getting little "scritches". But secretly you're giving them their medicine. So that's always nice when we can do that, as it's not so traumatic for either party involved.

Do you have any tips on how to give our cats their medicines?

It can be very challenging for cats. And every cat is a little bit different, as far as their personality and what they'll tolerate. We have very food-motivated cats like Meems here. She will take anything in a treat. But other cats know the medicine is in there, and they will go around it. We have pill guns that we can use. These are little devices where we can put the pill in the end, and that can hold their mouth, pull open their jaw, and put it in that way—the good old fashioned method. But that little transdermal formulation that I was telling you about before—rubbing it on the inside of that ear—is one of the easier things. You can also get the medication compounded through a pharmacy, and that has been extremely helpful for a number of our cases, as we can do chicken chews or liquids or that sort of thing to make it a little bit easier. We know it can be a challenge, especially if the cat needs something long-term.

Why is it important to avoid self-diagnosing my cat's need for pain medication?

Cats are very finicky creatures and they can hide and mask pain very well. And so it can take work to figure out where they're hurting and get a better understanding of what's going on. If you have an older kitty, there are many other metabolic diseases they can be experiencing, such as thyroid disease and kidney disease. Or your cat can also have arthritis or even cancer. There are many things we need to rule out and make sure that, number one, that medication will be a safe option for them. We get a dosing schedule together for them, and we make sure we're addressing all of the needs in one fell swoop.

Why is early detection so crucial in getting a good result from cat medications?

Early detection will be the best way to go for cats and get them in on a regular basis. And it's difficult, as we understand that many cats are hard to get into a carrier, and they're hard to get in here. We can talk about many things, such as easier ways to get them seen, but those exams are vital to know what exactly is going on with the cat. The sooner we treat and identify those issues, the better chances we have controlling that pain or the disease state or whatever's going on. Early detection also helps us to ensure that we can get it under control. In many of these instances, the sooner we intervene, the longer they live, the better they do, and the happier and more comfortable they are.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (704) 847-4796, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Cat Medications - FAQs

Dr. Trish Johnson
Compassionate Care, Charlotte, NC

Do I always need to seek the guidance of a veterinarian when giving my cat medicine?

I think that it's a fabulous idea, and there's an excellent reason for that. Many of these cats can have multiple things going on, and they are very good at masking their signs until they're super sick. It's going to be vital that we get a good head-to-toe exam on these guys to get a feel for what's going on with them. Then we can identify any pain or disease to properly set up a medication if needed and get those things in order.

Can I give aspirin or NSAIDs to my cat?

There are some over-the-counter medications out there, but we have to be extremely cautious because they can cause problems in our kitty friends. There are very few things that we use these sorts of things to treat. Before starting any over-the-counter medications, we recommend consulting with your veterinarian just to make sure that it's safe that we get proper dosing and that we're treating them for the right thing.

Are there any human medications that are safe for cats?

Yeah, there are a few on the market. The vast majority are not going to be safe. We don't want to be giving pretty much anything at all unless we know for sure that you've run it by your vet. Many medications on the market can cause potentially life-threatening or gastric changes, so call your vet before giving anything.

What are the medications that my veterinarian may prescribe if my cat is in pain?

The big one that we use here is a medication called Gabapentin. It's safe for almost all cats. It is perfect for arthritis pain, especially in kitties with other underlying disease processes—thyroid, heart, or kidney stuff. There are some nonsteroidals out there that we use too. We use them on a case by case basis, depending on the kitty's overall health. We want to make sure they're healthy before we start those, and we monitor blood work while they're on those sorts of meds to see if we need to take them off it or adjust dosing.

What is the best way for me to give my cat medication?

That's an excellent question, and it's one that a lot of people struggle with. It depends on your kitty and what they like. Suppose the kitty is one that just loves treats and is very food-motivated in general, like this little girl here. In that case, we can get medications compounded into a chew—sometimes even into a liquid that's flavored with chicken or tuna or something like that. A lot of those cats will take it right up. Other kitties aren't so easy. Sometimes we have to give pills if that formulation is not an option for cats. We can pill them by holding their head here, opening up, and popping the pill down the hatch. Now, she is a very good kitty, as not all kitties do that. There are other little things that we can do, like transdermal formulations for medications where we can just rub a little bit of a lotion on the inside of the ear. They think they're getting “scritches,” but we're giving them medicine. There are injectable medications. There is a whole list of different options. Again, it depends on that cat.

Is CBD oil considered a safe and effective cat medication?

CBD is a super hot topic right now, and there's a lot of research going into dosing schedules, how effective it is, and when to use it. I wish I had a straightforward answer for you, but certainly, if it's something you strongly are looking into, talk it over with your vet. I think looking at the pros and cons would be very beneficial. There are many different products on the market right now. It’s not regulated very well, so we've got to be extremely cautious about this, especially in sensitive creatures like kitty cats.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (704) 847-4796, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.