Can a Sleeping Pill Kill a Pet?

By Betty Lewis

Everyone experiences a tough night's sleep once in a while, tossing, turning and staring at the clock. When the problem adds up to too many hours staring at the clock, a sleeping pill is often the right answer to the problem. Unfortunately, if your curious cat gets her paws on your sleep aids, she can experience a variety of potentially dangerous side effects, including some that can lead to death.

Effects of Sleeping Pill Ingestion

Cats love to paw and pick at any little thing, a habit that's been known to get them into trouble every now and then. If your cat gets into your sleeping pills, her reaction depends on what and how much she ingested. The Pet Poison Helpline notes the symptoms of sleep aid toxicity include severe sedation or agitation, aggression, hyperactivity, panting, drooling, diarrhea, vomiting, hyperthermia, tremors, wobbly gait and respiratory or cardiovascular depression. Some medications can cause liver failure in cats. If your cat gets into your sleeping pills, take the bottle of unused pills and the cat to the vet immediately. For safety's sake, keep your sleep aids in a medicine chest, out of the reach of children -- four-legged and two-legged.

Not For Feline Use

If you feel the time has come to say goodbye to your cat and are wondering if overdosing her on sleeping pills is a humane, painless way to say goodbye in the comfort of home, think again. Cats often respond to human medications very differently than people do, risking a traumatic, painful experience in what is meant to be a peaceful procedure. Discuss euthanasia options with your vet or local humane society; never purposely give any of your medication to your cat without veterinary oversight.