Can You Give Cats Human Antibiotics?

Antibiotics are an effective drug to treat bacterial infections in humans. Antibiotics are used to kill bacteria by inhibiting the creation of bacterial cell walls. If human antibiotics work so well for humans, would they be as effective for cats? There is not a definite answer to that question. Antibiotic doses for humans and cats are very different. Your veterinarian may prescribe an antibiotic used in both veterinary and human practice, but at a different dosage compared to the human medication. Always consult your veterinarian before attempting to self-diagnose and/or administer any medication to your cat. 

Symptoms of Antibiotic Toxicity

Severe clinical signs can develop if your cat is experiencing an overdose or negative reaction from an antibiotic. Toxic doses of antibiotics can cause mild to severe signs of gastrointestinal disorder, metabolic malfunction, or disruption of the central nervous system. Depending on the type of antibiotic ingested, cats can experience different negative effects. Possible clinical signs include: 

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


If your cat is having a negative reaction to an antibiotic, it is important to seek veterinary care right away. Contact the trusted team at Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 for potential life-saving advice. Treatment of antibiotic toxicity may include inducing vomiting and administration of activated charcoal to bind the toxins. IV fluids may be given to flush the system and replenish fluids. Your cat’s recovery will depend on the type of antibiotic ingested and the dosage. Your veterinarian will have more information regarding the recovery process and supportive care. To avoid any overdose accidents, always closely follow your veterinarian’s instructions when administering the medication and always be certain you’re giving your cat the right medicine as well.