Is Cerenia Safe for Cats?

Cerenia, the brand name for Maropitant Citrate, has been a subject of extensive discussion among pet owners and veterinarians alike. It’s renowned for its efficacy in treating vomiting in cats, but how safe is it? In this in-depth review, we delve into the nuances of Cerenia, its applications, precautions, and recorded adverse reactions to give you a holistic view.

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Understanding Cerenia: What is it?

Cerenia is an injectable solution used to treat acute vomiting in cats aged 4 months and older. Its active ingredient, Maropitant Citrate, works by inhibiting the substance P receptors in the vomiting center of the brain, thereby preventing the vomiting reflex.

When and How to Use Cerenia

Cerenia can be administered either intravenously over 1-2 minutes or subcutaneously at a dose of 1 mg/kg body weight once daily for up to 5 consecutive days. However, identifying and addressing the underlying cause of vomiting is crucial for effective treatment.

Safety and Precautions: What You Need to Know

Cerenia’s safety has not been established in cats with gastrointestinal obstruction or those that have ingested toxins. It should be used with caution in cats with hepatic dysfunction since it is metabolized by specific liver enzymes.

Adverse Reactions and Side Effects

In a U.S. field study, adverse reactions such as moderate to significant responses to injection, fever, lethargy, and anorexia were observed. Post-approval data have also reported events including depression, dyspnea, ataxia, and in rare cases, death.

Post-Approval Experience and Real-world Application

The real-world application of Cerenia has shown its effectiveness in treating vomiting due to various clinical conditions. However, it’s imperative to monitor cats closely and report any adverse reactions to ensure their safety.

Critical Evaluation: Weighing the Pros and Cons

To give you a clearer picture, we’ve created a table chart summarizing the safety and efficacy of Cerenia.

Aspect Cerenia Comments
Treatment of Vomiting ✔️ Highly effective for cats aged 4 months and older
Safety in Gastrointestinal Obstruction Not evaluated
Use in Hepatic Dysfunction ⚠️ Use with caution, as it is metabolized by liver enzymes
Adverse Reactions Including injection site reactions and systemic effects
Real-world Effectiveness ✔️ Proven to reduce vomiting in various clinical conditions

Key: ✔️: Positive/Confirmed ❌: Negative/Not Recommended ⚠️: Use with Caution


Cerenia stands out as an effective solution for managing vomiting in cats, but it requires careful consideration and monitoring. By being aware of its safety profile and potential adverse reactions, pet owners and veterinarians can make informed decisions, ensuring the well-being of our feline companions. Remember, a happy cat is a healthy cat!


Q1: What exactly does Cerenia do for cats?

A1: Cerenia is primarily used for its anti-emetic properties, effectively halting the vomiting reflex by blocking the binding of substance P—a neuropeptide associated with inflammation and the pain reflex—to its receptors in the cat’s central nervous system. This medication, therefore, serves as a pivotal aid in managing acute vomiting, ensuring that the feline patient can maintain hydration and nutrient levels, which are crucial for recovery and overall health.

Q2: Can Cerenia be used for conditions other than vomiting?

A2: While Cerenia’s primary indication is for the treatment of vomiting in cats, veterinarians sometimes employ it off-label to manage motion sickness and other conditions that may lead to nausea and vomiting. However, it is vital to consult with a veterinarian before using Cerenia for any conditions outside of its primary indication to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Q3: How quickly does Cerenia start working, and how long does its effect last?

A3: Cerenia typically begins to exhibit its anti-vomiting effects within 1-2 hours after administration. Its effects are sustained for about 24 hours, making it a once-daily medication for the treatment of acute vomiting. The prompt onset of action and extended duration of effectiveness make it a preferable choice in managing vomiting episodes in cats.

Q4: Are there any breeds of cats that should not receive Cerenia?

A4: Cerenia’s safety and efficacy have been established across a wide range of cat breeds. However, there is no medication that is universally safe for every individual in a species. Cats with known hypersensitivity to maropitant citrate, the active ingredient in Cerenia, should not receive the medication. Additionally, precaution should be exercised when administering Cerenia to cats with hepatic dysfunction or those that have ingested toxins.

Q5: Can Cerenia be used alongside other medications?

A5: Cerenia is highly protein-bound, which could influence its interaction with other protein-bound drugs. Commonly used medications that are protein-bound include NSAIDs, cardiac, anticonvulsant, and behavioral medications. While specific drug interactions with Cerenia have not been extensively studied, it is crucial to inform your veterinarian about all medications and supplements that your cat is currently receiving to ensure safe and coordinated care.

Q6: Is there a risk of overdose with Cerenia, and what are the signs?

A6: Like all medications, Cerenia should be administered strictly according to the veterinarian’s prescription to avoid overdose. Signs of overdose may include acute lethargy, lack of coordination, and excessive drooling. If you suspect that your cat has received an overdose of Cerenia, or if you observe any unusual signs after administration, seek immediate veterinary attention.

Q7: How should Cerenia be stored, and what is its shelf life?

A7: Cerenia Injectable Solution should be stored at controlled room temperature, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. It is imperative to check the expiration date on the packaging before use, as the efficacy and safety of the medication cannot be guaranteed beyond this date.

Q8: Can kittens or elderly cats safely receive Cerenia?

A8: Cerenia is approved for use in cats 4 months of age and older. There is no upper age limit for its use, but as with any medication, elderly cats may have an increased risk of adverse reactions. Therefore, it is essential to have a thorough veterinary evaluation to assess the risk-benefit ratio for kittens and elderly cats before administering Cerenia.

Q9: Are there any long-term side effects associated with Cerenia?

A9: Cerenia is intended for short-term use to manage acute vomiting episodes, and its long-term safety has not been extensively studied. The available data do not indicate any long-term adverse effects associated with the proper use of Cerenia. However, continuous monitoring and veterinary supervision are necessary when using this medication, especially for extended periods.

Q10: What should I do if I miss a dose of Cerenia for my cat?

A10: If a dose of Cerenia is missed, administer the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it’s almost time for the next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and resume the regular dosing schedule. Do not administer two doses at once to make up for a missed dose, as this could increase the risk of adverse reactions. Consult your veterinarian for guidance if you are unsure of how to proceed after a missed dose.

Q11: How does Cerenia compare to other anti-emetic medications for cats?

A11: Cerenia distinguishes itself from other anti-emetic medications by directly targeting the substance P receptors in the cat’s central nervous system, providing a robust and sustained anti-vomiting effect. Other anti-emetics might address symptoms at the level of the stomach or elsewhere in the body, which could be less effective in certain cases. Cerenia’s unique mode of action ensures it stands out as a first-line treatment for acute vomiting in cats.

Q12: Can Cerenia cause drowsiness or sedation in cats?

A12: While drowsiness or sedation is not a commonly reported side effect of Cerenia, individual responses to medications can vary widely in cats. Some felines may exhibit signs of lethargy or reduced activity levels after receiving Cerenia. It’s crucial to monitor your cat’s behavior post-administration and report any unusual or prolonged signs of sedation to your veterinarian.

Q13: Is it safe to use Cerenia in pregnant or nursing cats?

A13: The safety of Cerenia in pregnant or nursing cats has not been conclusively established. Maropitant, the active ingredient in Cerenia, has shown adverse effects in laboratory animal studies when administered at doses significantly higher than the recommended therapeutic dose. Therefore, its use in pregnant or nursing cats should be approached with caution and under the strict guidance of a veterinarian.

Q14: How should I administer Cerenia to my cat, and what if my cat resists?

A14: Cerenia is available in injectable and tablet forms. The method of administration depends on your veterinarian’s recommendation and your cat’s specific condition. If using tablets, they can be hidden in a small amount of food or a treat. However, it’s crucial that the entire tablet is consumed to ensure the correct dosage is administered. If your cat resists taking the medication, seeking advice from your veterinarian or a professional pet behaviorist can provide strategies to make the process smoother and less stressful for both you and your cat.

Q15: Are there any environmental or dietary considerations when using Cerenia?

A15: The effectiveness of Cerenia is not directly influenced by environmental or dietary factors. However, ensuring that your cat is in a calm and stress-free environment can aid in the overall recovery process when dealing with conditions that cause vomiting. Additionally, following any dietary recommendations from your veterinarian, such as providing bland or easily digestible food during recovery, can complement the effects of Cerenia and promote faster healing.

Q16: Can I crush Cerenia tablets if my cat has difficulty swallowing pills?

A16: Crushing Cerenia tablets is not recommended unless advised by a veterinarian. Altering the form of the medication can impact its effectiveness and may lead to incorrect dosing. If your cat has difficulty swallowing pills, you might consider using a pill pocket or asking your veterinarian for the injectable form of Cerenia if it is deemed appropriate for your cat’s condition.

Q17: What are the signs that Cerenia is working effectively in my cat?

A17: The most evident sign that Cerenia is effectively working is the cessation or significant reduction of vomiting episodes. You should also notice an improvement in your cat’s overall demeanor, with increased activity levels, better appetite, and normal hydration levels. Consistent monitoring and regular follow-up with your veterinarian are essential to assess the medication’s effectiveness and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.

Q18: How does body weight and age affect the dosing of Cerenia?

A18: Cerenia’s dosing is calculated based on the cat’s body weight, ensuring an accurate and safe amount of medication is administered. Younger cats, especially those below the approved age of 4 months, should not receive Cerenia. For elderly cats or those with existing health conditions, a thorough evaluation by a veterinarian is necessary to determine the appropriate dose and assess any potential risks.

Q19: Are there any breeds or types of cats that respond better to Cerenia?

A19: Cerenia’s effectiveness is not breed-specific; it works across various cat breeds to reduce vomiting. However, individual responses to medications can vary, and what works well for one cat may not be as effective for another, regardless of breed. Monitoring and open communication with your veterinarian are key to determining the most effective treatment plan for your specific cat.

Q20: What should I do if I see no improvement in my cat’s condition after using Cerenia?

A20: If there is no noticeable improvement in your cat’s condition after administering Cerenia, or if the vomiting persists or worsens, it is imperative to contact your veterinarian promptly. Vomiting can be a symptom of numerous underlying conditions, some of which might require different treatments or additional diagnostic testing. Your veterinarian can guide the next steps, ensuring that your cat receives the necessary care and attention for a swift recovery.

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