A Guide To Common Medications For Cats

Oct 28, 2021

This is not medical advice. Before pursuing feeding your cat a new food, supplement, or medication it’s advised to consult with your veterinarian.

Your kitty is like your family and you two probably spend a lot of time together cuddling and playing. So, when your cat is ill or has a health problem, you may spend some time researching the medications that your vet prescribed your cat. We here at Pet Releaf know how important your cat is to you. We’re a company of pet parents dedicated to making the best CBD pet products in the world, and we want to support you and your cat’s journey to better health. In this article, we’ll look at the common kinds of medications that your vet might prescribe your cat, to help familiarize yourself with terms before your next vet visit. 

Remember, with any medication for cats or humans always talk to your vet first before giving any medicine to your cat. Some medications have to be given at specific dosages, and others could just be completely unsafe. For example, even if your vet has given your cat a human medication like Benadryl, some Benadryl formulas for people may contain extra ingredients that could hurt your cat. 

Common Medications for Cats

1. Antiparasitic

You are most likely familiar with antiparasitics for cats since they include your cat’s monthly topical flea medication. Fleas are very dangerous to cats, in addition to being a nuisance. Whether through blood loss, or giving your cat worms after being swallowed, they can wreak havoc on your cat’s health. There are many different types of anti-flea meds that include pills, tablets, and flavored liquids. Some flea medicines also include heartworm prevention, making them especially good for your cat’s health. 

2. Hairball aid

These are medicines that help your cat have fewer hairballs. Although, if your cat has a lot of hairballs, that could be indicating a deeper medical issue. Talk with your vet at your next visit and see what they think. To treat hairballs, a lubricated laxatone gel, often flavored, is administered to cats. The lubrication helps hair pass through your cat’s digestive system and reduces the amount of hair stuck in your cat’s system. Capilex is another medicine that helps with hairballs. It’s a chewable medicine that takes out the fat in a hairball, which allows it to pass through your cat more easily.

3. Antibiotics

You are probably familiar with antibiotics and have likely taken some yourself. Antibiotics kill off harmful bacteria that cause infections. They destroy the bacteria outright, prevent them from reproducing and starve them of glucose, which they need to make energy. One type of antibiotic is called fluoroquinolones and includes brand-name drugs like Baytril, Zeniquin, Orbax, and Veraflox. These are broad-spectrum antibiotics and are considered to be safe by vets. They are often used for infections of the skin, respiratory system, and urinary tract. Amoxicillin/clavulanic acid is used for wounds and is especially good for treating abscesses. 

4. Antifungals

This class of medications is used to treat both internal or systemic fungal infections, and local, or external fungal infections. Griseofulvin is a common antifungal that’s used to treat the external fungal infection, ringworm. Most other antifungal medicines end with “azoles” and include the medications ketoconazole and fluconazole. These medicines treat both external and internal fungal infections but are especially helpful with internal or systemic fungal infections. They work by immobilizing the fungi, which allows the body’s immune system to kill them. 

5. Antivirals

Common viruses that your cat may contract are feline herpes and calici. Antivirals don’t kill viruses, but they can stop the viruses from reproducing. Famciclovir is an oral antiviral that your vet may prescribe to your cat. Feline herpes, or FHV, can cause an infection of the upper respiratory tract and is very serious, especially in kittens. This is a contagious virus. Signs of the FHV virus include loss of appetite, coughing, wheezing, sneezing, nasal discharge, eye infections, and fever. 

6. Antihistamines 

This is a category of drugs with some overlap between veterinarian and human use. The most common antihistamine drug your vet might prescribe your cat is diphenhydramine or Benadryl. Follow your vet’s instructions carefully and only use a formula with pure diphenhydramine, since other ingredients in human formulas can be toxic to your cat. Histamines are produced by your cat’s body to fight off irritants like pollen or mold. Histamines lead to allergic reactions like skin rashes, or a runny nose because they are trying to eliminate something that is bothering the body. The skin is one of the organs the body uses to eliminate toxins, so an itchy rash might develop. Benadryl can help with these kinds of reactions. 

7. Antiemetics

Antiemetics are a class of drugs that are also known as anti-vomiting or anti-nausea drugs, which relieve nausea and prevent vomiting. Cerenia and metoclopramide are both antiemetics your vet may prescribe if your poor kitty is suffering from nausea or vomiting. Signs of nausea in cats include licking, drooling, lots of meowing, and restlessness. Cerenia is thought to be the most effective anti-vomiting drug at the moment for both cats and dogs. 

8. Anti-inflammatory pain relievers

While humans also use non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), both ibuprofen (Motrin) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) are toxic to the point of death for cats. Always check with your vet before administering any type of medication to your cat. That said, if your kitty has a sprain or has a minor surgery, your vet will likely prescribe an NSAID for your cat, like robenacoxib or meloxicam. Meloxicam tastes better than most cat medications, so it is commonly used because it is easier to administer. As you know, it isn’t easy to give your cat medicine in most cases. Aspirin might also be prescribed by your vet for your cat. Aspirin can be dangerous if you give too much, so be sure to follow your vet’s instructions carefully. 0

9. Corticosteroids.

Corticosteroids are a more serious type of medication that reduces inflammation in your cat. A common corticosteroid is prednisone. Your vet may prescribe prednisone for anything from allergies on one end of the spectrum to cancer on the other. Short-term prescriptions are the most common way of using drugs like prednisone since long-term use can cause undesirable side effects, like hair loss, liver damage, or hormonal dysfunction.  Another common use for prednisone is for irritable bowel disorder, which is inflammation of the large intestine. Prednisone can also be used for allergic reactions in cats. 

10 Vaccinations 

While these fall under the preventative medicine category, vaccinations are one of the most common medications you’ll encounter as a cat owner. Vaccines stimulate the immune system before your cat is exposed to the disease. That way their body’s natural defenses are ready to go if they ever are exposed to a serious disease. Your veterinarian will know what vaccines your cat needs and when. Getting your cat vaccinated and maintaining those vaccinations is one of the most important things you can do to keep your cat healthy and happy. 

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