Flea medicine for dogs caused the death of a cat: it’s not just human medicines that can be fatal for them

Hangai Lilla

2023. May 2 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

We ran into the following very instructive story on Facebook. All our respect goes to the owner, who, despite her deep grief and gnawing remorse, took the strength and courage to provide help to other owners through her own fault.


Treating a kitty with medications or other concoctions made for dogs may seem like a small thing. Benevolence and the desire to help can often obscure the whole picture, and there is already trouble.

The heartbreaking story

After an afternoon walk, the owner found a flea on the belly of her pregnant dachshund. She immediately called the veterinarian, because the parasite can pose a greater than average danger to expectant mothers. After considering the situation, the doctor chose a medication that exposes the pregnant dog to the least risk.

He gave the owner a vial from his own stock, wrapped only in foil, without the original box. They thoroughly discussed the application, not a word was mentioned about the kitty. Upon arriving home, the owner rubbed the product into the dog’s neck and spine. The whole; lmost all of it. The cat was curious all the time about what was going on, and at the end of the action, he ventured even closer. That’s when the owner noticed that there was still a drop of flea medication at the bottom of the vial. In order not to waste it, and worried about the cat, she rubbed it into the cat’s neck. It was a great product, there’s nothing wrong with it, just not for cats.

The tabby and dachshund wrestled one more time, then sat down to watch TV. After an hour, they noticed that something was wrong with the cat. Unfortunately, it was too late by then. They immediately called the vet, who said that it was a big problem, that the cat should be bathed immediately. But then there was nothing to do. By the time he was wrapped in a towel, the doctor had already arrived. He brought with him everything that might help, but he could not offer hope.

The medication had already been absorbed by then. And the liver of cats does not produce a certain enzyme that could break down the active ingredient called permethrin in the product. They fought for his life for two hours, but could not save him. There was only one thing they could do for the convulsing cat: to give him a merciful death.

The lesson

It takes a lot of courage to share such a story with the public. The owner admitted that she made a mistake, but she was guided by good intentions, that’s for sure. And before you judge, ask yourself honestly, did you know that a simple flea medication could cause such a tragedy? Would it have occurred to you to treat the other little mate with the medicine you received? After all, if the flea is in one, the other may be there as well.

We have already repeated until boredom that human drugs can kill dogs and cats in the blink of an eye, but it is true that less is said about the fact that drugs intended for dogs can kill cats.

More and more households have both cats and dogs. From now on, if you have to treat any of them with some kind of medicine or other preparation, ask your doctor about the effect this may have on the other and what you should pay extra attention to in terms of application. The flea and tick season is here, let’s take care of our four-legged family members!

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