The plant extracts from which aspirin is derived have been around since around 400 BC, but it was originally developed by Bayer AG in 1897. It’s a drug that has been with us for a long time, relieving fever and pain.
Whenever we feel sick, we’re likely to look into our medicine cabinets and take a few aspirin to feel better. Aspirin is practically a staple medication in every household. It’s understandable you might want to do the same for your cat. After all why should your feline friend suffer when all it would take is a few pills?
Pain medications that are safe for humans can be potentially lethal to cats. The active ingredient in aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid and in the dosage given to humans (1 pill) is fatal to small cats. Aspirin is broken down very slowly by the feline, so even a minimal dose can have adverse side effects. It can cause gastrointestinal bleeding, problems with the liver or kidneys. Additionally, it may cause swelling of the face and paws.
Can I give my cat aspirin? Answer: No.
In any case it should not be administered to your cat. In some cases a veterinarian may prescribe aspirin for you cat, since it does function as a blood thinner that can be used to deal with certain heart problems. Do not give your cat aspirin without a specific prescription by your vet.
My Cat Is In Pain
First of all, the indications of pain and suffering in cats are difficult to spot. Cats and other animals instinctively try to hide the fact that they are in pain because they do not want to seem weak to other predators. Since they cannot communicate directly to inform us of the fact that they are in pain, we have to rely on assessing their behavior. Unfortunately, a cat will try and mask their pain and the range of behavior they may display if in pain is as varied as strange posture, hiding, unusual vocalization and aggression. They might be lethargic and decrease the amount of time they spend grooming.
It is important to note that a cat acting ‘out of sorts’ is not necessarily in pain, therefore it is always best to consult a veterinarian. Nonetheless, even if you are confident that your pet is displaying indications of being in pain, it should be brought to a veterinarian rather than medicated with aspirin. A veterinarian can then provide medications that can effectively alleviate and address the reasons of the cat’s pain.
Other Types of Pain Medications
Other pain killers such as ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) are toxic to cats and should not be administered under any circumstances. Your veterinarian can also prescribe newer and more effective medicines than aspirin. There are nutritional supplements that can function as pain killers for cats. Steroid-based drugs, such as Cortisone, can work to alleviate pain and inflammation in cats and problems usually only occur after long term use. So these could be used for short term relief.
Store Medication Out of Your Cat’s Reach
As mentioned, a human dosage of aspirin is potentially fatal to a cat, so it is important to keep it out of their reach to prevent accidental ingestion. Curious creatures that they are, cats may find their way into your medicine cabinet if it is not properly sealed. If somebody in your household is ill, do not leave the medication lying around. Since aspirin and medication is generally not an appealing snack for cats, the risks are small that they would actually ingest it, but there have been cases where it has happened so it’s best to play it safe and prevent any toxic tragedies.
Play It Safe
Though not directly toxic in extremely minute doses, it is never a good idea to medicate your pet without consulting a veterinarian. Due to their size and the unique metabolic process of their liver cats can suffer from the use of aspirin. The margin for error on the dosage is small and the results of an overdose could easily prove fatal. In addition, aspirin is very harsh on the digestive system of cats and could cause gastrointestinal problems even with minimal doses. All in all, it is safer to bring your furry friend to the veterinarian if you suspect your cat is in pain.