Frequently Asked Questions

Help to answer some common questions about cat arthritis

Can I give my cat aspirin for arthritis pain?

Aspirin is not recommended for arthritis pain in cats. It can make pre-existing and often unknown kidney issues worse and is known to cause digestive side effects, such as bloody vomit and tarry stools. Aspirin can also interact with other medications your cat may be taking. Aspirin can be prescribed by veterinarians in low doses for very specific illnesses. Talk to your veterinarian about which pain medication is right for your pet.

Can I give my cat cod liver oil for arthritic joints?

Yes. Fish oils often found in commercially available joint supplements are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, an essential fatty acid that is linked to improved joint health. Cod liver oil can be purchased easily online. It is often sold in pre-packaged capsules or in a liquid pump – just add the recommended amount to your cat’s food daily.

What are the side effects of traditional medications for arthritis?

“Traditional” medications for arthritis typically include pharmaceuticals like NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), narcotics and Gabapentin.

Narcotics can cause side effects such as drowsiness, digestive upset, liver or kidney problems in patients with compromised liver or kidneys. A common drug prescribed for arthritis pain is Buprenorphine.

Gabapentin is less commonly used in cats, but it can cause side effects such as vomiting (best to give with food to avoid this side effect) and drowsiness.

What is Cosequin for cats?

Cosequin is a joint supplement produced by Nutramax Laboratories. It is often recommended by veterinarians due to its easy-to-dose formulation as a tuna-flavored powder. Cosequin contains high-quality glucosaminoglycans (GAGs), glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. A sister product is Dasuquin, also a tuna-flavored powder. Dasuquin contains the same active GAGs as Cosequin, but it also contains avocado/soybean unsaponifiables, which have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body.

Can I give my cat Tylenol for arthritis pain?

No, cats should not be given Tylenol. Tylenol’s active ingredient is acetaminophen and it is toxic to cats. There is no safe dose for cats. Tylenol ingestion can lead to severe red blood cell injury, liver damage and death within 36 hours if treatment is not given quickly.

What is Metacam for cats?

Metacam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), labelled for use in cats in the USA, Australia, the UK and many other countries globally. It is a veterinary-labelled product from Boehringer Ingelheim. Metacam’s active ingredient is meloxicam. It is used in cats for pain control associated with feline osteoarthritis and surgery. It is typically given by mouth once a day and is typically more affordable than other NSAIDs for cats. Liquid and oral spray formulations are available. Long-term use in cats is controversial in the USA. It is licensed for long-term use in many other countries.

What is meloxicam for cats?

Meloxicam is a generic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It is the active ingredient in Metacam, an oral veterinary-labelled NSAID product for cats (Boehringer Ingelheim). Meloxicam is used in cats for the pain associated with surgery and feline osteoarthritis. Meloxicam is sometimes available for cats from compounding pharmacies. Generic human-labelled products are also available.

Helping cats with ArthritisWritten by Dr. Deborah Shores. B.S. in Animal Science, Berry College, Georgia. D.V.M. – Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine.