Human analgesics suitable for a cat? Veterinarian input desired.

Okay, here’s the skinny: The cat from this thread has become a fixture chez '99. He comes around most mornings, yowling to be let in and fed. Failing a morning arrival, he’ll show up in the afternoon or evening. We always let him in, and keep him around until he pesters us to be let out. I presume he pesters us because he wishes to relieve himself, although he generally doesn’t come right back, so the great outdoors obviously holds other attractions for him as well.

His last departure was on Saturday morning at about 3 a.m. (kaylasmom and I were sleeping too soundly, so he woke up Michaela, and she let him out). We were kind of worried that he didn’t show up Saturday evening or all day Sunday, but he’s skipped a day before, so I wasn’t too worried. But this morning he showed up at around 10 a.m., and had his breakfast as though nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. Until kaylasmom put him on her lap and started stroking him.

Every time she touched his tail, he would howl in protest, and nip at her hand. I examined his tail, and noticed that it seems sort of bent and swollen at the base. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with his ability to walk or jump up onto our bed, so I’m not concerned about a serious spinal injury. I’m thinking he’s just plenty sore, possibly with a broken or sprained tail. I’d like to try to make him more comfortable. So here’s my question:

Are there any made-for-humans pain relievers that actually are safe to administer to a cat? ISTR hearing from a doctor that a certain pain reliever was “accidentally” discovered by vets trying to formulate a form of ibuprofen that’s safe for dogs, but my memory is hazy on the details. The point is that we have several OTC analgesics in the apartment, and if one of them is safe to give to a cat, I’m prepared to try getting a portion of a pill down inside him.

We have aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Also some leftover Vicodin, Fiorocet (which, based on its name, contains acetaminophen), and Tylenol 3.

In the event that swelling indicates the use of an antibiotic, we also have a little cephalexin, and some amoxicillin.

Is any of this stuff safe to try on a ten-pound kitty? I’m going to be googling for the answers as well. Thanks in advance for any responses.

Not sure about the other drugs you mentioned, but I know that Aspirin should NEVER be given to a cat. If you call any vet, if you don’t have one, they might be able to recommend something for you, or maybe see the cat.

Based on the table labeled NSAIDs on this page it looks like 1/4 of an aspirin tablet might be safe. Can anyone give me an “Amen” on that?

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is dangerous for cats. Don’t give him anything containing acetaminophen.

I’ve been told by my vet that no human pain killer is safe for cats. Last I knew, there were very few pain killer options for cats.

Are you going to keep him inside until he heals?

No to all. I’m not a DVM, I am a technician who works at an animal ER and deals with cats and dogs receiving toxic doses of everything you mentioned. The nsaid you’re thinking of for dogs is Rimadyl, and there’s a new one called meloxicam that’s for cats and dogs, but not available OTC, and still risky to cats (I know 2 vets that won’t give it to cats even though it’s labeled for them).

While a 1/4 tablet of aspirin won’t necessarily hurt the cat once, it also has little analgesic properties at that dose. It’s really a low-cost blood thinner for cardiac patients and can only be given once every three days. You’re more likely to cause ulcers and bleeding problems with aspirin than anything else.

I know that’s not an answer you were hoping for. Based on your description, I’d be more suspicious that it might not be his tail but his rear end. It’s common for cats to get in fights with other toms, and the most common place where they get bitten is along the backside, usually along the top of the back near the tail. I’m betting on an abscess from a bite wound, which needs antibiotics. If left long enough, it will burst and slough on it’s own, but that’s not ideal as it could leave a big gaping wound that’s still infected, and from there the infection could spread.

You won’t find anyone here who will give you a dose of leftover antibiotic to use. Neither of the ones you mention you have are going to be small enough doses for a cat, anyway, or splittable to make small enough doses. I’m doubting either is appropriate for an abscess.

Anyway, get thee to a vet, yadda yadda. I hope he gets better!

As a general rule, I would never give any human medication to my cats unless my vet OKed it first.

That is very true. The only pain killer suitable for cats that I can think of off the top of my head is ketamine, but you can’t exactly get that stuff over the counter. I suppose Kaylasdad could go to a rave and ask the guy with the most face piercings if he can score some “special K”, but methinks going through the vet would be easier.

There’s also corticosteroids and opiates.

And they will if they have to. Our vet, when we called him on a weekend with a urinary tract infection for an older cat, asked us if we had any leftover human antibiotics on hand. We didn’t, oddly enough, so he called one in for us. Now I keep some Veterinary grade antibiotics on hand for just this sort of thing. Of course, we’d ask first if possible.

over the counter medicines like ibuprofen are actually poisonous to dogs and cats (in slightly high doses). something to do with the liver i think.

When an aunt’s cat had cancer, it took tramadol until it was too far gone and had to be put to sleep. It isn’t OTC, but Wikipedia confirms tramadol can be used on cats and dogs.

SeaDragonTattoo said it well. Take it to the vet, or if you have a personal vet for other of your pets, call her/him and explain.

To put in perspective… if you have a broken bone, would you want just an aspirin (even worse, an aspirin with increased side effects), or would you prefer to be taken to the doctor for the good prescription drugs? On the other hand, if it is an abscess near your butt, wouldn’t you rather want to have it cleaned/debrided/yanked/flushed whatever it takes to make it go away ASAP? It is somewhat anthropomorphic, but it is true.

Veterinarians can and do use human-approved drugs in animals (tramadol, aspirin, corticosteroids, amoxicillin, cephalosporins, etc.). And they’re usually well within their rights to do so, thanks to an act called AMDUCA. That said, no veterinarian will (or should) approve a dosage without having a veterinary-client-patient relationship first, particularly in the case of aspirin or other drugs that are known to have serious side effects if overdosing happens (or even idiosyncratic reactions).

In the case of the antibiotics, the same thing applies, plus remember that they may have a concentration that may not work for the size of the animal.

Fentanyl – Available as a patch tolerated by most cats.

But seriously, go to a vet…

Not a vet, here. But interested and involved in cats for many years.

As I read, the thing is that cats evolved almost exclusively eating other animals, and their physiology relies somewhat on other animals not eating anything toxic. That is, they let their prey do their poison avoidance for them.

Consequently, they are very poorly equipped to handle many pharmaceuticals. It’s already a problem that human meds were developed specifically for humans, but even as nonhuman animals go, cats are unusually vulnerable to medical poisoning.

Untrue. Our cat has been taking aspirin – on a vet’s suggestion – for over 12 years to prevent blood clots.

The dosage is one low-dose aspirin (81 mg) every three days. No more.

I don’t know how much of an analgesic it is for them, but have noticed that when he seems to be moving slowly – as though in pain – he seems much better after an aspirin day.

Okay, thanks to all for the responses. We’ve just returned home from my mother’s funeral/wake (slept over at Dad’s house), and little Brock is still doing all right. He did pretty well with the food and water we left for him, and he doesn’t seem to be quite so averse to having his tail stroked.

I’m gonna get a shower and bring him in to the vet for a look-see.

ETA: and yes I DID hold off on trying to give him any meds.

I used to live below a pharmacist who was a veterinary pharmacist. She said there were only about 100 people in the US who specialized like she did, she worked at the NC State vet school. She said a lot of vets didn’t know much about drugs for animals, this was 20 years ago. I hope their knowledge is better now.

Wow, SeaDragonTattoo, it’s almost like you were there!* We did get him to the vet, although I’m a little pained to say that we weren’t able to do it until today. Funeral and brake job in the same week, who could have predicted? Thank Og for annual leave.

Anyway, he had begun discharging a foul-smelling pus from the wound area, and his appetite was depressed. We kept him quietly on the bed for most of the past few days, and got him a litter box so he could relieve himself indoors (I see that I’m losing the box-of-shit-in-the-house battle), and much to our relief, he’s been pretty cooperative about using it. So when we got him into the vet’s office, the first thing they did was take his temperature, which, thankfully, was normal. Vet came in and gave him a lookover, then took him away for a few minutes. He got a good clipping/debriding, and a shot of anti-inflammatory, and another of antibiotic. They sent us home with some Panalog ointment, and some pink amoxicillin liquid.

The clipping shows just how bad the injury was. He has a tiny little scratch on the top of the base of his tail, and about a 1cm bite wound (round) with what looks like a 3cm strip of epidermis flayed away down the back of his right buttock.

Anyway, thank you very much, all, for your concern and your responses.

*I’m going to have to ask to see the underside of your fingernails. :wink:

poor fellow. does he have to wear the megaphone collar?