The Side Effects of Prednisone for Cats

Prednisone for cats is a medication against infections and diseases caused by a deviant or failing immune system or as a treatment to combat anti inflammatory conditions. It allows cats to function better and manage many diseases. Prednisone helps cats in faster recoveries from diseases, better health and an improved quality of life.

Common Diseases for Which Prednisone Is Prescribed

  • Allergy
  • Feline asthma
  • Bronchitis and other lung conditions
  • Tumours
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Kidney related disorders
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Cancer

It is important to remember though that its use also causes minor to serious side effects. A full understanding of these will help you take an informed decision on the use of Prednisone.

Short Term Side Effects

  • Increased thirst (Polydipsia) - Your cat may suffer from excessive thirst, leading to renal disorders and excessive urination.
  • Increased appetite (Polyphagia) - Prednisone boosts the appetite and can lead to weight gain and fluid retention.
  • Loss of hair - Use of prednisone can lead to hair loss in your cat.
  • Behavioural changes - Nervousness, paranoia and depression have been detected in cats on prednisone.

Long Term Side Effects

Long term use curbs the natural functions of the adrenal glands and a sudden suspension of prednisone can cause severe withdrawal symptoms and sickness.

  • Eye disorders - Cats can develop serious eye related problems such as glaucoma and cataract.
  • Suppressed Infections - Since prednisone affects the immune system, latent viruses and illnesses can appear, requiring treatment.
  • Cushing's disease - Cushing's disease affects the adrenal glands that regulate a number of body functions. You cat may develop a pendulous abdomen and extremely delicate and bruise prone skin as a symptom of Cushing's disease.
  • Muscle degeneration - Weakening of muscles and bones has been observed in users of prednisone.
  • Queasy stomach - Your cat may develop an unsettled stomach leading to diarrhea, vomiting, regurgitation, constipation, gastrointestinal ulcers and, occasionally, liver damage.
  • Reduced effect of vaccines - Annual vaccines may become less potent for your cat with the prolonged use of prednisone.


  • Carry your cat's medical history and apprise the vet with it. If you cat has a kidney or liver condition, allergies, ulcers or a heart condition, treat it as crucial information.
  • Do not give prednisone if your cat is suffering from an infection. Since prednisone impairs the natural immune system, she will find it harder to fight off infections.
  • Do not administer prednisone if your cat is pregnant.
  • Reduce dosage of prednisone gradually as an abrupt suspension can cause serious health issues.
  • Do not administer other drugs along with prednisone. This may alter the effectiveness of the drug as well as cause severe side effects.

Although it relieves the symptoms of the ailment, prednisone can cause many other issues to surface. Cats as a rule require higher doses of prednisone than other animals and so are more likely to be susceptible to its side effects. The duration for which prednisone is taken has a direct impact on the nature and potency of its side effects. Dependency on the drug is a possibility and severe withdrawal symptoms have also been observed.