When jet lag or other sleep issues hit humans, melatonin is a common aid to help us get the rest we crave. Pet parents who are fans of melatonin products may be left wondering: is melatonin safe for cats?
“First, it’s important to note that melatonin is a hormone normally produced by your cat herself, so she already has some melatonin on board,” says Dr. Debra Eldredge, author of Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook. “Giving supplemental melatonin to help with sleep problems or aid in anxiety situations is currently more common for dogs than cats, but it can help with your cat, too.”
Before purchasing melatonin for cats, here’s what you need to know.
Is Melatonin Safe for Cats?
Melatonin is a safe supplement to use on your cat, says Dr. Eldredge, but she cautions that it’s always best to use products specifically recommended by your veterinarian. She also recommends melatonin products that have been produced with good manufacturing practices and verified dosages.
While some human melatonin products may be acceptable and safe for cats, says Dr. Eldridge, it’s important to verify the list of ingredients with your veterinarian. “Xylitol, for example, can be deadly for dogs, and although it’s much less of a problem for cats, it’s best to avoid it anyway,” she adds.
You’ll also want to check with your veterinarian to verify that cat melatonin products are safe for your cat to use in conjunction with any other medications or supplements they may already be using, especially anti-anxiety prescription medications.
Dr. Eldridge also says that pregnant or lactating cats and very young kittens should not be given melatonin.
Types of Melatonin for Cats
Like human products, there are a variety of different forms of melatonin for cats. The product that works best for your pet will depend on their personality and specific needs – although many cat owners find liquid easier to give than pills. Some examples include:
Benefits of Melatonin for Cats
Although more research is needed regarding melatonin usage in cats, Dr. Eldridge most commonly sees pet parents interested in using the hormone to aid with anxiety and stress. For example, “this might be a short-term fix for a stressful situation like a move, or more long-term for a senior cat who tends to wander and vocalize at night,” she says.
Cats suffering from alopecia or hair loss due to stress grooming may also benefit from melatonin dosing, she says.
Side Effects of Melatonin for Cats
Like any supplement, there are things to be on the lookout for in terms of changes that might impact your cat after taking melatonin. For example, “some cats will show a reverse effect from melatonin,” says Dr. Eldridge. “These cats will become restless instead of restful after a dose.”
In humans, there are some concerns about the effects of melatonin on blood pressure. Because of this, “feline patients with diabetes, on anti-coagulant therapy or with any autoimmune disorders should avoid melatonin,” says Dr. Eldridge.
Additionally, corticosteroids may interact with melatonin.
Melatonin Dosage for Cats
The recommended dose of melatonin for your cat will be based on weight, says Dr. Eldridge. Consult with your veterinarian for a safe and effective dose for your cat and follow all dosing guidelines and instructions on product labels.
Best Melatonin Products for Cats
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Always talk to your veterinarian before adding melatonin or any other supplement to your cat’s routine. “It’s important to avoid potential bad drug interactions, and your veterinarian can recommend reputable sources, since supplements are not closely monitored or regulated by the FDA.”
If you are interested in discussing melatonin products for your cat with your veterinarian, the following are some potential products to ask about:
Best Melatonin Soft Chews for Cats
For the kitty who has trouble sleeping or suffers from periods of anxiety and stress, the natural ingredients in this tasty supplement may help. These easy-to-use soft chews offer a proprietary blend of calming ingredients including chamomile and melatonin. These chicken-flavored chews are made in the USA and are useful for stress-filled situations like travel or vet visits.
- Offers a blend of natural ingredients includes antioxidant-rich hemp, calming chamomile, tummy-soothing ginger root and, of course, sleep-supporting melatonin
- The fast-acting chews should work quickly, so they’re great for immediate help in situations like thunderstorms, fireworks, and new environments
- Most cats are attracted to the natural chicken flavor
Things to Consider
- For cats one year and older
- Some cats might not take chews
- Some cats might not take to the chicken flavor
Best Melatonin Oil for Cats
If your cat needs more regular melatonin dosing, an oil may be the right option for you. This one is formulated with hemp oil and melatonin to promote healthy sleep patterns. It also has omega fatty acids to fight inflammation and benefit your cat’s skin and coat. This oil can be dropped in your cat’s mouth directly or added over food.
- Offers both hemp oil and melatonin to promote healthy sleep habits
- Omega fatty acids in the product provide natural anti-inflammatory properties
- No added flavoring, so the oil tastes like whatever it’s served in
- Made with non-GMO ingredients
Things to Consider
- This version of melatonin may take longer for results to show
- There is no flavor, which can be good or bad, depending on your cat’s preferences
- There is more of a need to pay attention to dosage with liquid products than with pills or other ingestible products where one serving usually equals one pill/supplement
Best Affordable Melatonin Cat Chews
Our Pick: NaturVet Quiet Moments Calming Aid
If you want to try offering your cat some melatonin, but don’t want to break the bank, these soft chews are a nicely priced option. They are made in the USA in a cGMP facility and are available in both 50- and 60-count containers.
- Contains l-tryptophan, chamomile, thiamine and melatonin to promote calmness in your cat
- Made without wheat
- Affordable price point for quantity of chews
Things to Consider:
- There’s no specific flavor mention on the packaging
- Some reviewers said their cats didn’t enjoy the taste
- Chews are on the harder side