Pet Consider

Can I Give My Cat Aleve?

Can I Give My Cat Aleve?

One of the best things about being human in the modern world is medical science. While our ancestors were left with “just deal with it”—or worse, leeches— we have a wide variety of over-the-counter medications meant to treat our everyday ailments. Whether we are dealing with nausea and vomiting, a heck of a head cold, or standard aches and pains, we have many options to ease or even eliminate our symptoms. Many people who deal with pain on a regular basis have fallen in love with Aleve and drugs like it.

But there are other creatures who benefit from modern medicine, too: our pets. When illness or injury leaves our furry friends limping, we become their personal pharmacists. But are our go-to pain drugs safe for our pets? Can my cat have Aleve?

The answer is no, Aleve is not safe for felines. Though Aleve, also sold under the generic name naproxen, is generally considered a safe way to treat pain and fever in humans, it can be extremely poisonous to our pets. Though some cats may ‘get lucky’ and survive their first dose of naproxen, no amount of this drug is considered safe for our pets. If you find your cat eating Aleve tablets out of your purse, it would be wise to seek veterinary care. Naproxen overdose can cause permanent damage and even death, so quick intervention is crucial. Your veterinarian may be able to induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal to head off any negative effects.

Health Benefits?

AleveNaproxen, much like ibuprofen, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Both of these drugs are used for the relief of pain, swelling, and fever in humans. They work by reducing the body’s production of prostaglandin, one of the chemicals that serve as a catalyst for the body’s defensive inflammatory response which leads to these symptoms. By putting a damper on the inflammatory response, we are able to reduce swelling and alleviate pain.

Whereas people often use ibuprofen for sprained ankles or the occasional headache, people who deal with more chronic conditions such as arthritis often opt for naproxen, which tends to last longer in the body. Many people who use Aleve regularly find that it offers relief from their arthritis symptoms. Because arthritis is a fairly common ailment, it’s likely to be one of the drugs we have on hand when our cat starts to limp in the mornings.

If our cat suffers from the same condition we have, it’s understandable that we would use our own experiences to try to help alleviate their suffering. Despite the fairly low risk of heart problems, most of us consider Aleve to be safe for human use, so we may make the mistake of assuming that it is safe for our cats, too. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

It is true that pet owners who give their cats Aleve in an attempt to treat their arthritis symptoms often discover that their cat appears more comfortable shortly after the drug starts to kick in. After all, the inflammatory response evolved quite a while ago, so many creatures share a system that works in pretty much the same way. Aleve can successfully reduce inflammation in felines, which will take the edge off their pain symptoms. This would make it appear that giving your cat naproxen is an effective way to treat pain.

It’s the side effects that put this drug on the off-limits list. The body absorbs this drug pretty quickly, so symptoms can show up in as little as an hour. Because this drug damages the protective lining in the digestive system, it often results in gastrointestinal bleeding, which can show up as stomach pain, as well as bloody vomit or diarrhea. Naproxen can also cause ulcers. In the most severe cases, cats who eat Aleve may suffer from stomach perforation, a potentially fatal condition that happens when a hole develops in the stomach. Stomach perforation allows stomach acid to leak out of the stomach, which can poison other organs.

Things to Consider

Giving your pet naproxen can also damage the kidneys, which is often permanent. In severe cases, kidney failure may ensue. Cats are even more susceptible to the effects of naproxen poisoning than dogs are, so it would be wise to make sure that all of your Aleve tablets are sealed in child-proof bottles.

Final Thoughts

In sum, no, you should not give your cat Aleve. Though this drug may effectively tone done the inflammatory response that causes their pain symptoms, the risks associated with giving it to cats are not worth it. Giving your cat Aleve may result in gastrointestinal bleeding, stomach ulcers, stomach perforation, kidney damage, and organ failure. If your cat ingests any amount of Aleve, take them to a vet or contact a poison control center.

If your cat has arthritis, ask your vet to prescribe painkillers suitable for felines.


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