Is Tylenol Safe for Cats? 

As a pet owner, you want to keep your beloved fur babies happy and healthy. When faced with an injury or discomfort, it’s natural to reach for the most readily available pain relief – but should that be Tylenol? While we often use acetaminophen-based drugs such as Tylenol with few second thoughts when treating our human family members, the same isn’t necessarily true for cats. Understanding whether or not acetaminophen is safe for feline friends is important in determining how best to care for them in times of need.  

Risks of Giving Tylenol to Cats 

Cats are especially sensitive to acetaminophen because they cannot properly metabolize the drug. Cats can even be poisoned by much lower doses than dogs. Signs of toxicity can occur within 1-4 hours after ingestion. Tylenol can quickly decrease the red blood cell’s ability to carry oxygen. Liver damage may occur, and possible symptoms include dark urine, jaundice, bloating, and an increase in urination and thirst. If left untreated, fatality can occur.  Potential signs of acetaminophen poisoning include: 

  • Lethargy 
  • Swelling of the face 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Brown or blue gums 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Jaundice 


If your cat has ingested Tylenol, you must treat it as an emergency and seek help immediately. Start by calling your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 for life-saving advice. Take your cat to the veterinary clinic for treatment. If ingestion was recent your veterinarian may induce vomiting. It’s important to note to never attempt to induce vomiting in cats at home. This can cause further harm and should only ever be done by professionals. After vomiting, your cat may receive activated charcoal to bind the toxins. 

IV fluids will be provided to aid in hydration. N-acetylcysteine is used to treat acetaminophen poisoning. Intensive treatment is necessary if liver damage or methemoglobin levels quickly rise. Vitamin K or plasma transfusions may be needed and dextrose in fluids help stabilize blood sugar. Your cat may be hospitalized to receive supportive care and be monitored. To avoid any scary poisoning incidents, contact your veterinarian before giving your cat any medication so they can determine if it’s safe and can recommend pet-friendly alternatives.