Killing Stray Cats With Tylenol

Are you in favor of or criticize the fact of killing stray cats with Tylenol?

Yes, our hearts bleed for all the stray cats in the hood. Have you forgotten the recent incident that happened in Florida? The colonies of stray cats resting under the 17th Street Bridge in Fort Lauderdale have become a problem for the municipality that must decide how to deal with them. Moreover, legislation has been passed about the way feral cat colonies are managed.

All the cat lovers usually support a phenomenon of “TNR,” i.e., Trap, Neuter, and Release. What is it? It demands cats to be captured, then taking it to a vet, implanted with a chip, neutered carefully, and then freed. So, as a result, the current generation of wild cats roam free but ensures they can’t produce progeny further.

Moreover, a strange thing happened in January after a report was released when the cat-loving crowd took a hit. It is based on the work of different scientists at the Smithsonian and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The report claimed that free-ranging domestic cats kill approx. 1.4 billion to 3.7 billion different birds and 6.9 billion to 20.7 billion mammals every other year.

Cat lovers condemn this published report and anti-cat PR, but in Florida, the report influenced a piece of legislation heavily. This year, Florida House Bill 1121 got published, also known as the “Community Cat Act”.

It was written by an attorney with Best Friends Animal Society and later introduced in the House. It would establish a fact further that those community cat programs which practice TNR would not be guilty of an unlawful act or release. The bill is supported by the Humane Society but heavily criticized by the Florida Veterinary Medical Association.

Why is everybody against Tylenol use for cats?


For your information, Tylenol contains the active ingredient, i.e., acetaminophen. It is normally known as paracetamol in other countries. It is popularly used for over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication and anti-fever medication used by humans. While this drug is quite safe for human use, but it has a low chance of safety in dogs and cats.

How does it affect cats?

Unfortunately, when dogs and cats ingest acetaminophen, whether accidentally or the pet owner gave it intentionally to them, they might develop poisoning at very low doses. The severity of acetaminophen poisoning dosage depends on the species, as different dogs and cats develop different clinical signs, issues, and problems with poisoning.

Moreover, cats have altered liver metabolism, also normally known as glucuronidation; it metabolizes acetaminophen in a bad manner, making them much more susceptible to poisoning.

The toxic dosage is being observed in cats as very low. You may observe it as little as 10 mg/kg. It shows a little amount is enough to kill a cat. In cats, the intake of acetaminophen poisoning affects the red blood cells (RBC) count. Moreover, the cats develop the phenomenon of methemoglobinemia (metHb), which means that their red blood cells can’t carry oxygen.

Signs of poisoning in cats through Tylenol

It leads towards the result, where clinical signs of poisoning in cats include the following:

  • Feeling lethargic
  • Lack of Eating
  • Swollen face or paws
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Breathing issues
  • Open-mouth breathing problems
  • Continuous Vomiting
  • Anemia
  • Abnormal colored gums (deviating from blue to brown instead of pink)
  • Liver failure (in the rare case)
  • Death

If your cat intakes Tylenol, what to do?

If your cat gets into acetaminophen, it gets complicated and sometimes even impossible to induce vomiting, as this drug is highly absorbent. It rapidly gets absorbed into your stomach. Then what to do? The suitable treatment includes the following at your nearest veterinary clinic:

  • Use of Activated charcoal, which bind up the poison from the stomach and the intestines.
  • The process of Blood work to evaluate the Red Blood Cell count, to look for the presence of methemoglobinemia, and helps to monitor the liver values.
  • Intake of IV fluids
  • The use of Liver protectants (for example, SAMe, n-acetylcysteine)
  • Oxygen supply, if needed.
  • Blood transmission, if needed.
  • The constant monitoring of oxygen levels and blood pressure thoroughly.
  • A Symptomatic supportive care unit.

Extra Tips:

  • Not only this, with acetaminophen poisoning, there’s also an antidote called n-acetylcysteine (which is commonly known as NAC). All the veterinarians don’t have this antidote, so if your pet intakes a toxic amount of acetaminophen, rush towards an emergency hospital or specialty clinic might be specified.
  • If you are doubtful and you suspect your cat got into acetaminophen, contact your nearest vet or emergency veterinarian right away and seek some medical help. Don’t make any delays. It’s the case with any kind of poisoning, the sooner you treat it with utmost care and attention, the better results, less amount of damage, and cost-effectiveness you and your pet face.
  • For any query, confusion, or problem, always contact your vet, because they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
  • It is also to note that never give the same medication to your pet which is designed for normal people until and unless you are instructed to do so by the vet.

Key points to remember, if you face killing stray cats with Tylenol

  • Acetaminophen can be severely toxic to cats, and cats are 7 to 10 times more susceptible to acetaminophen’s poison as compared to dogs are.
  • Once acetaminophen is swallowed, and reaches the bloodstream within 30 minutes; toxic effects are quite rapid and damage the liver system and red blood cell count.
  • In Tylenol, acetaminophen is the most active ingredient and along with that some other related medications are there used to treat severe pain and fever in people.
  • Unfortunately, it doesn’t suit cats and dogs. It can severely poisonous for them. Acetaminophen’s poisonous nature is identified only when a cat or a dog swallows the specific drug having it.

How you can identify the toxic nature of Acetaminophen?

In many cases, it is not recognized initially but accidentally. Unfortunately, there are some more problematic cases too where the medicines designed specifically for humans are given to pets, which is not recommended at all. It is only doable when your vet asks to do so.  And make sure you follow the correct amount of dosage your vet asks you to. Also, report any of the after-effects you see in your pet to your vet.

As cats are extremely sensitive to the drug’s toxic effects, acetaminophen is not given to cats at all.

What Are the Clinical Signs of Tylenol’s Toxicity?

Once it is swallowed, Tylenol acetaminophen is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and intestines. It can achieve significant levels in the blood within just 30 minutes. The main toxic effects take two major forms:

  • Liver damage: The compounds of Tylenol get bind to liver cells, further damage them, and can result in liver failure.
  • Damage to red blood cell count: The substances of acetaminophen binds to red blood cells. Once it gets bound, this substance changes the hemoglobin into a molecule. Now, it is not able to carry oxygen levels to the essential organs of the body.

Cats and dogs both tend to develop toxicity from Tylenol.  In cats, mostly the hemoglobin gets affected while in dogs suffer from liver damage usually. The main clinical signs associated with is that it results from liver injury and a failure of the blood to carry oxygen levels include:

  • Continuous Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Brown/ Blue discoloration of the gums
  • Brown urine
  • Swollen face/ paws
  • Shock/ Collapse
  • Death

How Is Tylenol’s Toxicity Diagnosed?

The dependency of Tylenol’s poisonous nature and its diagnosis is relevant to the patient’s history. How many pills the patient had been taking recently. Your vet may recommend diagnostic testing to assess the extent and level of the damage.

Final Words

Tylenol’s poisonous nature can take lives. Killing stray cats with Tylenol is harsh. However, pets can survive these conditions if it is recognized, diagnosed, and treated quickly and timely.

Mostly the problems and after-effects caused by acetaminophen’s toxicity are in control and can be prevented through precautions. Never give medicines meant for people to your pet unless you are asked to do so by your vet, and keep all the medicines in the home secured to help prevent accidental swallowing.

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