A client is surprised to find out from you that acetaminophen (Tylenol) is so toxic to cats. “So, aspirin must be poisonous, too, since they are really the same thing, aren’t they?” Answer her and explain why acetaminophen is so poisonous to cats.
This client needs to understand that aspirin is not Tylenol, which is not ibuprofen, which is not Aleve, and so forth. This is a common misperception by the public. The only safe one of these drugs for use in the cat is aspirin. Aspirin has to be used at a lower dose than for dogs because of the slow metabolism of cats, but it can still be safely used at the “baby” aspirin dose every 2 days. Acetaminophen, on the other hand, is converted by the cat liver into a toxic substance. Unfortunately, the cat’s liver does not have much of the necessary compound available to convert the toxic substance into a nontoxic substance. Thus cats can die from accumulation of the toxic metabolite of acetaminophen