Options for Managing Cat Liver Problems

Cat liver problems typically have limited treatment options. A liver disease may be managed by a change in diet and by administering certain supplements and vitamins that will reduce the toxicity in the cat's body.

Causes of Liver Problems

The causes of liver problems are not entirely known; however, an increased level of toxins in the body may lead to liver problems.

Cats with cancer, feline immunodeficiency virus FIV or feline leukemia virus FeLV are also prone to liver disease.

Obesity has been associated with liver disease due to the higher incidence of the disease in overweight cats.

Symptoms of Liver Problems

Liver problems may be signaled by:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Anorexia
  • Lethargy
  • Jaundice, in case of liver failure

The treatment of liver disease is done through lowering the toxins levels and reducing the workload of the liver. A low fat diet is recommended and a number of beneficial supplements: sam-e or denosyl, lactulose, arginine or carnitine.


Sam-e also known as S-Adenosylmethionine is produced from amino acids. Sam-e is marketed as Denosyl.

Denosyl is a supplement that helps preventing liver cell damage and promotes cell healing and regeneration.

Sam-e is converted into antioxidants such as glutathione and will protect the liver cells from toxins. In addition, sam-e will also detoxify the body.

Sam-e may also be converted in methylthioadenosine, which is a natural anti-inflammatory.

Sam-e is prescribed for cats with liver problems such as:

  • Hepatic lipidosis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Hepatic fibrosis
  • Liver disease
  • Poisoning with acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication

Sam-e has no significant side-effects. In rare cases, pets may vomit.

Sam-e may cause mouth or esophagus irritation if not instantly swallowed, so it is recommended that you give some water to your cat immediately after administering the sam-e supplements.

Denosyl may also be administrated to prevent liver disease in pets.


Lactulose is a synthetic sugar. It may be employed to heal constipation or hepatic encephalopathy, which is a liver disease complication.

Lactulose promotes the elimination of ammonia from the body. It may have side effects such as cramps, vomiting and nausea.


Arginine is an essential amino acid and is also used in liver problems. Arginine removes ammonia from the body and reduces body fat, helping the healing of a damaged liver.

Arginine may be found in dairies, pork, chicken, tuna, salmon or wheat germs, however in liver diseases, arginine supplements will be needed.


Carnitines are powerful antioxidants and can be very helpful in protecting and healing damaged liver cells.

Carnitine supplements may help in hepatic encephalopathy and hepatic toxicity. However, the beneficial effects of carnitine are still to be proven.

Carnitine may be found in red meats, beans, broccoli, corn, oatmeal, rice, whole wheat or wheat germs.

Talk to your vet about possible additional vitamins and supplements that may help your cat to recover from liver problems. The vet may also recommend prescription low fat cat food that should help your cat get better.

Liver problems may result in liver failure, if left untreated.