Metacam for cats is one of those drugs that raises more than a few eyebrows in the veterinary world. A Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug or NSAID, it is a moderately strong painkiller typically prescribed for arthritis, pain
What Is Metacam for Cats?
Metacam is an NSAID. NSAID stands for Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug. You may be familiar with human NSAIDs like Ibuprofen. These drugs reduce inflammation by reducing the production of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins promote inflammation, pain, and fevers in the body. However, these chemicals (prostaglandins) also have some good functions. They help platelets clot blood and also protect the stomach’s lining.
Metacam has anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, and fever reducing qualities. These features make it a useful drug for dealing with certain medical conditions in cats.
How Long Does It Take to Work?
As a pain killer, you should see the maximum effect approximately 8 hours after administration. However, if your cat is just using Metacam for the first time, it may take 3 or 4 days to see a response. If nothing happens in 10 days, you have a chat with your veterinarian about trying another pain medication.
Treating Injuries and Post Surgical Uses
Meloxicam is most commonly prescribed for post-operative pain in cats. Vets administer it as an injection after surgeries. It is often given after spaying, neutering or orthopedic procedures. It is also potentially useful as chronic pain management in much lower doses, usually to treat feline osteoarthritis.
How to Give Metacam to Cats
Metacam is available in two forms for cats: an injection or an oral suspension. In the U.S., the oral suspension is not officially approved for use in cats. However, it is frequently used off-label to treat chronic conditions. And it is approved for use in Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
You can add it to the food or pour directly into your cat’s mouth, if they let you! Metacam oral suspension usually comes with a dosing syringe.
Metacam Dosage for Cats
Since Metacam is prescription only, your veterinarian will provide you with an appropriate dosage for your cat. Adjusting your cat’s dosage based on information you’ve found online is tempting, but can lead to adverse side effects.
Sometimes, veterinarians veer from the standard dosage based on other factors, like other health issues. Your pet physician will always give the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time.
No medication is without potential side effects. Cats metabolize certain drugs slowly. This, combined with the high rates of kidney decline in felines, can lead to serious adverse effects when using NSAIDs.
The most common side effect of Metacam for cats is GI upset. Your cat may experience vomiting, diarrhea, soft stools, and a loss in appetite. They may also develop changes in behavior, like increased or decreased activity levels. Skin irritation and stomach ulcers may also occur.
Single doses of Metacam injections in cats can occasionally lead to decreased kidney function. They may also experience anemia, and in rare cases, pain at the site of injection.
Some cats are more at risk for adverse effects than others. Cats who have shown themselves sensitive to other NSAIDs in the past may be at an increased risk of complications. The same applies to cats with a history of kidney problems.
You can’t use Meloxicam in cats with impaired liver, heart, and kidney function, bleeding disorders, and hypotension. Experts have not established safe use of Metacam in pregnant or nursing cats or for cats under four months old.
Is Metacam Safe for Cats?
In 2010, the US FDA gave a black box warning for meloxicam. While this sounds scary, a black box label does not necessarily mean that a product is harmful to your cat. In this case, the FDA had concerns that meloxicam was associated with renal failure and even death in cases of repeated use.
In Case Of Overdose
One of the largest concerns cat owners have about medications is the risk of overdose. An overdose of Metacam, like other NSAIDs in cats, can lead to kidney failure and death.
Your vet will administer single injections for
Metacam for Cats
If your veterinarian has prescribed Metacam for cats, we strongly advise that you go with their decision. Metacam is a safe medication that helps cats manage pain, inflammation and fever. Although there can be a range of side effects, these are often rare and associated with an overdose of the medication.
Has your cat received Metacam? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments section below.
James Klapper says
I’ve been using Ostilox, a meloxicam suspension for dogs, for my 15 year old cat Spot for 5 months with zero side effects. The dose is less than 1/4 of the recommended canine dose, only .01 mg. of Meloxicam per lb., about the dose recommended for cats in other countries, and Spot is doing very well on it. She was completely crippled by arthritis, simply refused to walk or even get up, and is now more limber and active than she’s been in years.
Apparently cats kidneys can’t tolerate anything near the amount a dog can tolerate, the reason Meloxicam got a bad press for cats, but these tiny doses are both easily tolerated and effective.
Holistic Goddess says
On 15th April 2018, my beautiful 14 yr 8m old cat was given a Metacam injection for a mere (albeit painful) shoulder injury, together with several other injections of Amoxicillin clavulanate (antibiotic) and Buprenox (opioid) in case of infection and to calm her.
Soon after the first dose my cat struggled to eat her food and started drinking copious amounts of water. She was lethargic and apathetic, and lost her interest in life. Not being trained in veterinary medicine, I suspected her symptoms to be a result of the medication, assuming that she would be fine once the medication wore off. I syringe fed her for several days, not realising that she had an Acute Kidney Injury caused by Metacam.
We were given a secondary oral dose of metacam, this was the one that did the trick, after which she deteriorated even more rapidly.
She ended up on a drip, talk of oxygen tents and oxygen therapy went nowhere and she was PTS on 24th April.
This was a cat who had been given a clean bill of health just 12 days previously on 12th April 2018.
Please learn from my experience and never ever allow your cat to go on metacam or any other NSAID without prior blood and urine analsysis.
I have recently had to send off an Adverse Medication Report to VMD. MY beautiful girl died to soon and is now is buried in my garden.
Neither my usual vets or the OOH Vets we attended have bothered to send off an Adverse Medication notification. In fact, my own vets told us that our cat had eaten rat poison! Meanwhile they told my insurers that my cat had to be PTS as a result of ‘suspected steroid toxicity’. Neither can possibly be true since my cat has never ingested rat poison , nor had she ever been on steroid medication.
I’m so sorry you and your baby went through this. I so appreciate your candor and information as my baby is currently having multiple problems. She was diagnosed with a bladder infection and hyperthyroidism. Since then she was given an injected antibiotic and medication for the hyperthyroidism (tapazole). Her arthritis flared up and she is having trouble negotiating the pet stairs. I wanted to give her a low dose of metacam for pain, but upon reading your post will hold off, particularly since I am already wondering if her urine/bladder infection is actually more indicative of kidney problems that were not diagnosed. Thank you again and I hope things are better for you now.
Jennifer the cat lady says
Try prednisone for 3-5 days instead. 2-4mg per kilo of body weight
I have a little female cat going on 23 years old. Her arthritis is pretty bad in her hind legs, but she eats amazingly well! Think her fluid intake has remained the same. I put her on Metacam probably 7 months ago. At this point in her life there are risks, but not don’t worry abt her in pain. Just got the Meloxicam and am wondering if the dosage would be the same. This is not marked “for cats” but was told there is no difference. Is the dosage the same for the two medications? I was told .02 for her weight and age/condition. Almost out of the other bottle so n I d to figure this out. BTW she only sees the vet if “really” sick, no choice. Cannot do shots. Indoor only. Maybe that would s why she is almost 23 and pretty darn good teeth!
Thanks for help in advance.
She is probably about six lbs
Hi Lexi’s Mummy. Wow what a good old age of 22. My old boy Noz is 14. He’s been on Metacam for 6 months now. It’s hard to tell if it is making a difference or not. I’d like to think it is. He’s got arthritis. He is on 0.6 daily. Is lexi quite a small cat? And in the last 8 months had both his thyroid glands out. Today I noticed blood in his poo again. He had the ops last time this happened. I’m so scared and worried for him. I go on holiday in 36hrs.
Hope your furry baby has plenty left in her ?
I’ve just been given metacam by my vet today for my cats legs as she can’t move them, I was told that this medication is both a pain killer and will help heal up a bit of fur that’s been rubbed raw. She’s very dazed and quiet but still loves cuddles. However it seems to let off a scent as her sister has been so aggressive to her.
Suzette Floyed says
My little girl Pickle died yesterday that is to say pts.She was prescribed Metacam early this year as she had arthritis in her hips.She was 19 years and 8 months old and till very recently had a good appetite and was happy. I reluctantly gave her some Metacam to ease her pain but after giving her this for 3 weeks she very suddenly last Sunday stopped eating I called the vet and was told to bring her straight in once there i was told she had gum disease and tooth decay i don’t know how she came to that diagnosis as Pickle didn’t let her examine her mouth . She was given an injection of antibiotics. I took her home and she spent Monday sleeping by the evening she had not eaten the food from the vet i found her the following morning after having eaten some food convalescing and in pain, i rang the vet and she was immediately rushed into the vet where i was told she was beyond saving and that the kindest thing to do was to put her out of pain.I could not hold my baby while I said goodbye as we are in lockdown because of the virus. I now wish so much that I had not put my trust in the original vet, as I am convinced that Metacam caused her kidneys to fail. I am heartbroken and wish that I had followed my own instincts.Up till now Pickle had only seen a vet twice in her life.6th May 2020
JEROME B. LOISEL says
I LOST MY CAT SHE WAS 12YEARS OLD SHE HAB BAD TEETH THE VET REMOVED 7 TEETH AND GAVE HER METACAM THEN SENT HER HOME AND SAID TO GIVE HER METACAM 1.5 MG ONCE A DAY FOR 3 0R 4 DAYS THE SECONE DAY I GAVE HER 1.5 MG 3 HOURS LATTER SHE HAD SEIZURES EVERY 3HOURS I TOKE HER TO THE VET AND HE PUT HER DOWN I THINK THE VET KILL MY CAT WITH TO MUCH METACAM THANK YOU
My cat has just commenced Metacalm treatment. I wasn’t aware of side effects apart from being warned about diarrhea. Been using it for 3 days and have been prescribed for 12 days.
No adverse effects, cat is a bit sleepy, which is good as Metacalm was prescribed after an absess burst. He is now on “lockdown” with us for the next week or so and cant get outside.
Carole MacLeod says
My 8 yr old cat is on Metacam for pain. The last 3 days, I’ve noticed excessive drooling (milky and thick) coming from both sides of his mouth. Could this be due to the Metacam? He wants to eat but is very reluctant to eat his favorite foods and only eats a small amount. Should I continue with the Metacam?
M. Simons says
My 15 y.o. Cat was just started on Meloxicam for chronic arthritis. The vet initially ordered an opioid, but I requested a NASAID as I don’t want him drugged. He is taking 0.1 cc for 7 days then every other day. I’ m hopeful he tolerates it and gets some relief without side effects.
Tim Cawthorne says
My little man was just 7 and had a bad tooth he was waiting for a date to remove his tooth he was super fit just had a bad tooth the vet gave him an injection metacam then sent him home with oral metacam 3 days in and he had stopped eating went very lethargic so we took him back to the vet who administered another injection of metacam and told us to continue with oral metacam 10 days later he is been put down due to chronic kidney failure so my advise is DO NOT USE METACAM unless you have no other option if i had not let the vet give it him he would be here today so yes i also believe the VET KILLED MY CAT
Lawrence Neely says
My cat has bad arthritis (12 years old) and had a hard time getting around. The Vet offered up meloxicam. He explained the side effects and what to look out for. I decided that in her best interest to try it. It has been 3 years and we go to the Vet often to check her blood levels and so far she is doing great. She get .3cc every 2 days (which sounds like a small amount but the Vet did not want to overwhelm her system). So to me it has worked out great and she is much better moving around.
Good for you, caring cat mommy.
Good info w dosage every 2 days. Does she take liquid orally,
or mixed in small amount soft food?
Miranda kliemantat says
Giving melozicam oral for 5 days post-spay for 6 month old kitten
She eats well but has been very drowsy & goes to bathroom less odten.
My cat was given Metcam injection two days ago for some leg pain. he is 3 years old. He has been very lethargic but is eating and doing well otherwise. I am concerned about the sleeping because he is doing it all day. Today he refused to even come outside to stretch his paws. Haven’t seen any other effects but will contact the vet because I am concerned about him sleeping all day. Sorry to hear about some of your experiences with this medication. Has anyone had the issue with excessive sleeping
Clare Jackson says
I have a semi feral cat who I cannot catch, she appeared this morning as she does most days but today was growling and obviously in pain but did eat a bit, holding her back leg up off the floor, tried to go up our very steep stairs, got 2 stairs up, howled, then rolled back downstairs and went out the cat flap. I have a bottle my neighbour gave me (she breeds dogs), of 1.5mg/ml meloxaid so meloxicam for dogs but I am worried about using it, how do I guess her weight? she is 3 years old and very fluffy, looks fat. Don’t know as cannot pick her up! How do I work out how much to give her please? I rang a local vet but they wouldn’t help and said that that was for dogs, it’s the same drug,but for cats use should be 0.5mg/ml. Please help as I need to get some down her but do not want to OD her, she’s a sweet thing who sits on my feet of an evening! TIA
G Delay says
The Meloxaid (for doggies) is 3 times stronger than the Metacam (for kitties). I have been prescribed that exact doggie version as the vet was out of the kitty type. The normal dosage of metacam 0.5mg/ml (for kitties) is:0.1 mg/kg weight of kitty. A normal adult feral kitty is around 6-8 pounds. Let’s take the average…. 7 pounds. 7 pounds divided by 2.2 (the conversion of pounds to kilograms) = 3.18 kg. So that would be 0.3 ml of METACAM (for kitties) now divide by 3 and it would be 0.1 ml of the MELOXAID 1.5mg/ml (fordoggies).
So you would give 0.1ml of the Meloxaid one time a day with food. Hope this helps.
G Delay says
I have found Metacam to be a God send for my aging kitty. First given to him following a dental procedure. He has actively been taking this medication for the last 3-4 years. He has arthritis and has difficulties with climbing the stairs, onto the bed and couch. Have even purchased a few types of different plush stairs for him to use to get up where he wants to nap. The Metacam was recommended to use in him daily to control his pain and stiffness. It has been an amazing medicine. In small doses it has proven to be perfectly safe. In Germany it is a “go-to” medication that is routinely prescribed. Here in the USA too much bad publicity has surrounded this medicine and made people wary of using it. Now being 2023, there is a new injectable medication that is given monthly for kitty arthritis called, Solensia (frunevetmab injection), which I am eager to try. It should replace the daily
Metacam but surprisingly the Metacam may also be used in addition to this new medication. The only thing I would suggest for those still on the fence is to listen to your vet and double check the drug and dosage of any medication you are going to give your furry child and lastly, have yearly blood work to see how your kitties organs are doing. Thanks for taking the time to read my long winded comment.