About Acetaminophen & Cats

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Cat laying on bed.
Cat laying on bed. (Image: Argument/iStock/Getty Images)

If your joints ache or you have a fever, you might pop a Tylenol or generic version of acetaminophen to ease your discomfort. What works for you could kill your cat. If you think your cat has eaten acetaminophen, get him to a veterinary emergency hospital as soon as possible. Acetaminophen offers you prompt pain relief because the body metabolizes it quickly. That means its toxic effects can do in your pet within half an hour.

Acetaminophen Toxicity

In cats, acetaminophen damages red blood cells and the liver. Signs of acetaminophen toxicity in cats include vomiting, appetite loss, breathing difficulties and abdominal pain. Your cat's face or paws might swell, and his gums could turn either brown or blue. His skin and the whites of his eyes could turn yellow, due to jaundice from liver damage.

Feline Acetaminophen Treatment

If you realize right away that your cat has swallowed an acetaminophen pill or capsule, your vet might tell you to induce vomiting -- if you have emetics on hand -- to prevent absorption. Do not induce vomiting without veterinary consultation. Once at the veterinary hospital, your vet might put your cat under and flush out his stomach contents, along with giving him activated charcoal to soak up toxins. Your vet can give your cat N-acetylcysteine, an acetaminophen antidote. Your pet also might require intravenous fluid therapy or blood transfusions to save his life.

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