If your cat is exhibiting signs of allergies you might consider giving them Zyrtec, and wondering if there are any side effects or dangers of doing so. Any time you start mixing human medication with the feline system you run a risk, so really the question is do the benefits outweigh the risks.
Allergies are rarely life threatening to your cat, and if they are they need to be taken to the vet, not treated at home. At most they will be an annoyance to your pet, but getting annoyed is a human reaction that we transfer to our pets. You might get annoyed watching your cat itch and scratch themselves, but chances are they don’t register this same kind of emotion, it just happens to be what they’re doing in that moment.
It’s good that you want to help your cat have a great experience, but sometimes you can end up over-treating them for things that would otherwise be left alone if they were surviving out in the wild. The case can be made that allergies are something that domesticated cats would have a bigger problem with, living indoors with things like dust and pollen instead of being surrounded by fresh air.
Can I Give My Cat Zyrtec? Answer: Not Recommended
Zyrtec used to be available only by prescription. Now it can be bought over the counter, but it is still the same strength as it was. You don’t want to risk giving your cat prescription strength medication, because it can cause them bigger problems then just an allergic reaction. When drug manufacturers produce a drug they invest thousands and thousands of man hours researching and testing the effects, but they do so on humans. There’s an entirely separate line of feline medication, with companies investing just as much research and testing on cats, to be sure that it’s OK for them.
Your cat deserves to be treated like a separate entity, and given medication that is designed for them. They don’t deserve to be treated like an experiment that you can guesstimate on and hope that things work. In many instances pet medications are more expensive than humans, and of course aren’t covered by healthcare plans, but it’s just part of the cost of ownership.
There are owners out there that will try to give their cat Zyrtec, but will only be guessing as to how much to give them. You can go by weight, but that’s not an apples to apples comparison, because you’re comparing cats and humans. A 10 pound cat is different than a 10 pound human in several different ways. It’s akin to playing mad scientist with your cat and their health, and it’s not something that you want to play the trial and error game with. If your cat’s allergies are bad enough to want to give them medicine then you’ll want to take them to the vet to get the right kind.
The Do Nothing Approach
If your cat just as the occasional outbreak you might simply consider not taking any action at all. Us humans get really frustrated with our allergies and won’t tolerate anything more than a few irritating symptoms. But cats don’t really care, and it’s not putting a dent in their life experience, so in many instances you might be giving them drugs just to make yourself happy and not them. So the rule of thumb here is if their allergy symptoms aren’t very severe just let them ride it out, and if they are severe take them in to get them tested and treated appropriately.
Chances of Success
Your chances of making a mistake and endangering your cat are higher if you start reaching into your medicine cabinet thinking you’re going to help them. By monitoring the situation and taking calculated action and inaction you have a very high chance of your pet being just fine, or getting the care and attention that they deserve when the time is right. It’s a much better way to be a good cat owner, and can help you disregard the bad advice that’s out there with pet owners and vets alike saying to use human medication on a cat, without knowing all of the facts.