Cat Medicine

Syringe and needle for medicine

Dealing with cat medicine is, at some point, a part of every cat owner's life.

Making vaccination decisions with your veterinarian, which flea medication to purchase online, or possibly treating an illness are all part of living with cats.

Below, we'll take a look at some of the issues and decisions you may encounter with respect to cat medicine and your kitty.

Cat Vaccinations

Orange tabby and white face

Vaccinations can offer protection for your kitty against common deadly diseases.

While no vaccine guarantees lifetime immunity (boosters are required), all house cats should be vaccinated as kittens with the "core" vaccines.

Even if your cat is an indoor cat and never goes outside, some vaccinations are required.

Some viruses can make their way into your home on your clothes or belongings, and others may survive in the air for a period of time.

If your cat has no immunity to these diseases, she could become infected while investigating your coat or your luggage.

If you take your cat to the vet, or your cat gets loose, or you ever take your cat to a location other than your home, your cat could become infected with a deadly disease.

The first vaccinations for kittens start at about 6 to 8 weeks of age. Additional vaccines are given based on either the vaccine manufacturer's recommendations for the particular vaccine, as dictated by law, or your veterinarian's counsel.

Vaccination decisions will depend upon a number of factors. There are risks and possible side effects to vaccination as well, and many experts are suggesting that we reduce the amount of vaccines we give to our cats.

To help you understand these risks and viewpoints, see this page on what you should know about cat vaccinations. I've also create a page outlining some of the risks, as well as a list of resources I've used to research the issues surrounding cat vaccination.

Medicine for Cat Parasites

Cat parasites come primarily in two forms, internal and external. Both internal and external parasites may attack domestic cats.

Internal parasites, such as roundworm and hookworm, make their way into your cat's body and often live and reproduce in the intestinal tract (worms in cats).

In younger cats, severe worm infestations can be deadly. Treatment of cat worms is typically administered to kittens, even if they test negative. Learn more about the treatment of cat worms here. In adult cats, while usually not life threatening, these creatures can rob your cat of nutrients and may cause anemia.

External parasites, such as ticks or the cat flea, can transmit other parasites or diseases to your cat. Fleas may transmit tapeworms, and ticks can spread diseases such as Lyme disease and rocky mountain spotted fever.

Some cat owners will regularly administer commercial worm and flea medicine to their cats. Others turn to home remedies and more natural treatments, such as yeast and garlic.

Some holistic vets are recommending you boost the immune system of your cat through better nutrition and supplements. A cat with a strong immune system will be more likely to be resistant to parasites.

Other than the initial treatments as kittens, my cats have never had any medication for parasites, and always test negative at exams. This would be the ideal to shoot for, using natural remedies where possible if needed.

Other Medications

In addition to vaccinations and parasites, there are other times your cat might need medication. Some examples include:

  • Pain medication (for injury or illness)
  • Chronic or acute illness (e.g. diabetes, hyperthyroidism)
  • Antibiotics (e.g. after surgery or for an infection)

Off-label use is where a drug designed to treat one condition or illness may be used to treat another. Your vet may resort to this if other, more conventional remedies have failed, or no drug therapy for your cat's condition exists.

Like vaccinations, other drugs have risks. Of specific to concern to cat parents are certain antibiotics and pain medications. Make sure you get all the risks and weigh your options when making decisions on what medications to give your cat.

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