Is it poisonous?

Understanding the Potential Dangers: Is Sertraline Poisonous to Cats?



Cats are curious creatures who often come across various substances around the house. As responsible pet owners, it is essential to be aware of the potential dangers these substances can pose to our feline companions. Sertraline, a commonly prescribed antidepressant medication, is one such substance that can be toxic to cats if ingested. In this article, we will explore the effects of sertraline on cats and how to keep our furry friends safe.

What is Sertraline?

Sertraline is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) commonly used to treat depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders in humans. It works by regulating the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, in the brain. While sertraline is generally safe for humans when used as prescribed, it can have severe consequences when ingested by cats.

How does Sertraline affect Cats?

When cats accidentally consume sertraline, the drug interferes with their serotonin levels, leading to a range of symptoms and potential complications. Common signs of sertraline toxicity in cats include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Agitation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dilated pupils

In severe cases, sertraline poisoning can even lead to seizures, difficulty breathing, and organ failure if left untreated.

What to do if a Cat Ingests Sertraline?

If you suspect that your cat has ingested sertraline or any other medication, it is crucial to seek veterinary attention immediately. Time is of the essence in treating toxic ingestions, and prompt action can make a significant difference in the outcome. Do not attempt to induce vomiting or administer any home remedies without professional guidance, as they may do more harm than good.

Preventing Sertraline Poisoning in Cats

Prevention is always better than cure, and knowing how to keep sertraline and other medications out of your cat’s reach is essential. Here are some tips to prevent sertraline poisoning:

  1. Store all medications, including sertraline, in securely closed containers and cabinets.
  2. Keep medications out of low cabinets or countertops accessible to your cat.
  3. Avoid leaving pills or tablets on tables, nightstands, or other surfaces your cat can access.
  4. Dispose of unused medication properly, following local guidelines.
  5. Do not share your own medications with your pets, as they can have different reactions and tolerances.


Sertraline, an antidepressant commonly used in humans, can be toxic to cats if ingested. It is crucial to keep all medications, including sertraline, out of your cat’s reach and seek immediate veterinary attention if you suspect a possible ingestion. By being proactive and informed, we can ensure the safety and well-being of our feline companions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can a small amount of sertraline be harmful to cats?

Yes, even a small amount of sertraline can be harmful to cats. Cats have different metabolisms and tolerance levels compared to humans, making them more sensitive to the effects of the drug.

2. How long does it take for sertraline toxicity symptoms to appear in cats?

Symptoms of sertraline toxicity in cats can appear within a few hours of ingestion. However, the onset and severity of symptoms may vary depending on the individual cat and the amount of sertraline ingested.

3. Can sertraline poisoning be fatal in cats?

Yes, sertraline poisoning can be fatal in cats if left untreated. Severe cases can lead to seizures, difficulty breathing, and organ failure.

4. Can I give my cat sertraline if prescribed by a veterinarian?

Only a veterinarian should prescribe medication for your cat. It is essential to follow their instructions and never give your cat any medications without professional guidance.

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