If your cat gets sick, can they take human antibiotics? The tricky answer is it depends. Antibiotics are drugs used in treating bacterial infections. This class of drugs may be used in killing bacteria, but the mechanism they use to achieve this aim is almost always different. Most antibiotics work by inhibiting the creation of bacterial cell walls. Antibiotic doses for humans are much different than antibiotics for cats. If your cat is sick, your veterinarian will prescribe the correct antibiotic, which may be ones used in humans, but much different amounts. Owners should never skip a vet visit and self-diagnose their sick cat. Common antibiotics for cats are amoxicillin, ampicillin, and tetracycline. It is dangerous to give your cat any sort of medication that has not been prescribed to them by a medical professional. 

Symptoms of Antibiotic Toxicity 

Your cat can experience antibiotic toxicity clinical signs from both their own antibiotics and from ingesting human antibiotics. Toxic doses of human antibiotics may cause mild to severe signs of gastrointestinal disorder, metabolic malfunction, or disturbance of the central nervous system. Depending on what type of antibiotic was consumed can cause different negative effects. These symptoms may include the following: 

  • Drooling  
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Lack of appetite 
  • Teeth discoloration 
  • Liver failure 
  • Kidney failure 
  • Tremors 
  • Nausea 
  • Seizures 

What To Do If Your Cat Ingests Human Antibiotics 

If your feline friend has accidentally consumed familiar or unfamiliar antibiotics, it is important that they see a veterinarian as soon as possible. You can contact Pet Poison Helpline®’s 24/7 online support at (855) 764-7661 for emergency medical assistance. Treatment of antibiotic toxicity may include induced vomiting and administration of IV fluids. Your cat’s recovery will depend on the type and amount of antibiotic ingested. In general, your cat should be able to recover quickly, but your veterinarian will have more information once they assess your cat.