Can Cats Have Ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is a NSAID, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, commonly used for pain and inflammation relief. Ibuprofen is a great option to relieve arthritis, headaches, menstrual cramps, and mild fevers in humans. It’s safe for use in humans, but cats are very sensitive to this drug, and it’s not recommended to administer it to them. You should never give your cat any medication without consulting your veterinarian first. Your veterinarian can recommend or prescribe a medication that will help your cat relieve any symptoms and keep them safe. 

Dangers of Ibuprofen

It’s not uncommon that pet owners give medications like ibuprofen to their cat without knowing the danger they’re putting them in. There are dog-specific NSAIDs, but unfortunately there are no NSAIDs specifically designed for long-term use in cats. Cats are very sensitive to ibuprofen and ingestion can cause severe symptoms, such as gastrointestinal ulceration and severe kidney failure from an overdose or repeated doses. 

Clinical Signs of Ibuprofen Poisoning

Small ingestions of ibuprofen can result in poisoning in your feline friend. Common signs to watch out for include: 

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Pale gums
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody diarrhea 
  • Vomiting
  • Black tarry stool
  • Lethargy
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure

Large doses of ibuprofen can result in kidney failure, liver failure, and neurological issues such as tremors and seizures. 


If you’ve given or your cat accidentally ingested ibuprofen, contact Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 and your veterinarian to assess the situation. Early treatment and decontamination are key to reducing the risk for serious signs to develop. Your veterinarian may induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal to absorb the remains. Antacids and anti-nausea medications are commonly administered. More intensive therapy and hospitalization may be required in cases of severe poisoning. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact Pet Poison Helpline to ease your mind.