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Health & Wellness

Gabapentin for cats

Here's what you need to know about the side effects.

Sometimes the prescriptions you get for pets seem foreign, or you don’t get the full medication details because of busy schedules or quick vet visits. If your feline friend was prescribed gabapentin, we have a refresher for you, so you'll know what is and isn't normal when your cat takes this medication.

What is gabapentin for cats?

Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant and pain-relieving medication usually prescribed to treat chronic pain, seizures and any fear or anxiety cats may face while visiting the vet, Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch by The Dodo's on-staff veterinarian, explains. 

“Gabapentin comes in capsules, tablets and oral liquids,” she adds. “Some liquid formulations contain xylitol, which is toxic to dogs and should be kept out of their reach.”

It’s important to ask your veterinarian if your cat is allergic to gabapentin before giving it to them.

RELATED: Can cats have Benadryl?

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Gabapentin side effects in cats

The main side effects you can expect if your cat takes gabapentin include sleepiness, incoordination, nausea and vomiting. Gabapentin does have a sedative effect in cats, but if your cat seems overly sleepy, it’s best to reach out to your vet.

Dr. McCullough also says to call your vet if the effects of gabapentin last longer than 24 hours or if your cat experiences vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy or a decreased appetite. 

Gabapentin dosage for cats

Always follow the instructions and appropriate dosage recommended by your veterinarian for your cat. “Veterinarians will prescribe an appropriate dose based on the condition being treated, body weight and the cat’s health status,” Dr. McCullough says. 

Cats with kidney and liver diseases may take less frequent or smaller doses of the medication. Pet parents should consult with their veterinarian to determine whether gabapentin is an appropriate medication for their cat due to any liver and kidney issues, as it should be used cautiously in these situations, Dr. McCullough adds. 

If you have any questions about gabapentin, make sure to reach out to your vet, as they can help figure out the best alternatives to prescribe your cat.

How long should my cat take gabapentin?

Gabapentin is a short-acting medication and its effects are typically gone within 24 hours. If a cat has liver or kidney disease the effects can last longer in these situations too, Dr. McCullough notes.

Your veterinarian can tell you how to properly serve gabapentin, including how much to give your cat. You may have additional questions about the medication, and the best resource is your veterinarian. Always make sure to follow your veterinary's instructions, vet-approved dosages and get help if you think your pet’s reactions are abnormal.

The Dig is the expert-backed editorial from Fetch Pet Insurance. We're here to answer all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park.

Photo by Katie Azi on Unsplash

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