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Can Cats Have Melatonin?

by Landmark Recovery

August 11, 2023
an adult cat watching melatonin pills rain down to help it sleep better

Cats can have melatonin, but only with a licensed veterinarian’s guidance. If you’re a cat owner who also uses melatonin, it’s vital to recognize how it can be both a benefit and a potential risk for your furry friend. Melatonin can help cats sleep better, but it’s possible to give your cat too much melatonin and expose them to health complications.

Key blog points to remember:

  • Cats can take melatonin, but only with proper guidance and the right amount.
  • Sleep problems in cats can signal health issues, requiring medications like melatonin or special diets.
  • Watch your cat’s sleep and see a vet if anything seems off; improper sleep can harm their health.

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a natural hormone the pineal gland produces that controls the sleep-wake cycle in humans and animals. It’s often used as a supplement to help with sleep problems. According to Paw CBD, it can be a safe sleep aid for adult cats. But remember, just as you may take melatonin for sleep, your cat also requires proper guidance.

Is Regular Melatonin Safe For Cats?

Melatonin is safe for cats with the proper dosage and veterinarian guidance. While you can buy melatonin-infused cat treats, no specific cat version exists. The active ingredient in this hormone is typically the same regardless of species.

There are, however, some dosage differences between humans and cats. Your pet’s proper dose will ultimately depend on various factors, including:

  • Weight
  • Age
  • Health status

Generally, about 0.5 to 1 mg per 10 pounds is considered an appropriate amount to give your cat, according to Cibdol. However, working with a veterinarian before starting your cat on the sleep aid is best.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Animal medicine experts say giving your cat melatonin supplements is usually safe. However, like any drug, there are some potential risks. Side effects may include:

  • Itching
  • Upset stomach
  • Sleep problems
  • Appetite changes
  • Fertility changes
  • Behavior or mood changes
  • Extreme weight changes

It’s essential to give your cat melatonin specifically formulated for cats, not humans. This will help ensure your cat has a positive experience. If you consider giving your cat melatonin, consult your vet first to discuss the possible benefits and risks of using this hormone.

Like humans, mixing melatonin with other drugs or medicines may not be the best care route. Other treatment options may be available to help address your cat’s specific sleep needs while improving their overall quality of life.

Why Cats Have Sleep Problems

Research finds that cats, like humans, can experience sleep disorders that could be a sign of the following:

  • Old age
  • Disease
  • Other life-altering illnesses
  • Anxiety
  • Stress

These aren’t just minor inconveniences; they can have serious health implications.

Narcolepsy and Cataplexy

These two sleep disorders are usually inherited and can harm a cat’s health. Narcolepsy causes uncontrollable Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, while Cataplexy leads to sudden muscle weakness or paralysis. Warning signs include:

  • Sudden collapse
  • Appearing asleep (in narcolepsy)
  • Alertness without the ability to follow motion with eye movements (in cataplexy)

Unfortunately, these disorders are not curable.

Old Age and Hyperthyroidism

Older cats may experience changes in sleep cycles, waking in the night, or restlessness. This could be related to senility or a disease called hyperthyroidism. This condition produces excessive thyroid hormone, leading to cardiac disease and high blood pressure. Melatonin is a potential treatment for sleep disorders.

Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior Disorders

Cats diagnosed with these conditions may have disturbed sleeping patterns. Treatments can include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants.

Dietary Contributions

Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants like vitamin C, mixed tocopherols, beta-carotene, flavonoids, carotenoids, and omega-3 fatty acids can aid cats with cognitive dysfunction and sleep issues.

Unknown Factors

As Dr. M.A. Crist, Clinical Assistant Professor at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine, mentioned, whether or not pets’ dream is a true mystery. Disturbances in sleep patterns can lead to sleeping problems, but it isn’t easy to understand without the ability to communicate with animals.

If you notice any changes in your cat’s sleeping pattern, consulting a licensed veterinarian for a complete examination and laboratory analysis is vital. Medications or even alternative treatments like acupuncture and herbal remedies might be prescribed. 

Regular check-ups with a veterinarian can catch many potential problems before they seriously affect a cat’s health, making ongoing veterinary care a crucial part of ensuring your cat’s well-being.

Can you Give your Cat Melatonin?

Cats can be given melatonin with the proper dosage and veterinarian guidance. It’s essential to recognize that cats and humans can face sleep-related challenges, requiring different interventions. For cats, sleep disorders might require medical assistance, specific diets, or even prescribed medications. 

If you notice unusual sleep behavior in your cat, consult your veterinarian. For humans struggling with sleep issues leading to substance abuse like alcohol, or other drugs, expert intervention is necessary. Landmark Recovery offers addiction treatment tailored to understanding underlying issues and providing care that can also extend to pets

Recovery options include:

  • Medical detox
  • Residential treatment
  • Outpatient rehab
  • Aftercare programs

Call for Help

Don’t wait to seek help. Call the confidential admissions line at 888-448-0302, available 24/7/365 (anytime, day or night), and take the first step towards recovery. Our Patient Navigators can even help you find pet care for your furry friend. Visit our locations page to find a rehab center in your state:

Editor’s Note: Please note that the information provided in this article should not replace professional veterinary advice. Always consult a licensed veterinarian to determine your pet’s best course of action for sleep problems and other disorders.

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About the Author

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all. Through our integrated treatment programs, we've helped thousands of people choose recovery over addiction and get back to life on their own terms. We're on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help.