Dear Christopher Cat: My 10-year-old cat, Chester, no longer jumps onto the furniture, and I’m concerned he has arthritis. Would it help to give him a small amount of Children’s Tylenol liquid medication? What is the appropriate dose for a medium-sized cat?
Christopher Responds: Arthritis is surprisingly common in us cats, especially as we age. Equally surprising to many people is that Tylenol is toxic to cats. So don’t ever give even a tiny dose to Chester.
Tylenol is a trade name for acetaminophen, which we cats don’t metabolize like you humans do. In us, the drug causes red blood cell destruction, liver failure and death. Recent evidence suggests the drug has similar effects in ferrets.
Fortunately, veterinary medicine offers safer and more effective therapies for cats like Chester.
Supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin and Adequan nourish joint cartilage and joint fluid. Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) have anti-inflammatory effects.
Medications such as Onsior and meloxicam decrease inflammation and relieve pain. Gabapentin also relieves pain in cats.
Acupuncture and laser treatments benefit many cats with arthritis.
So make an appointment with your veterinarian to confirm Chester’s condition and ask how best to manage it.