Cefadroxil for Cats

Written By Leslie Ingraham
Published: 07/14/2021Updated: 07/14/2021
Cefadroxil for Cats

Cefadroxil is an antibiotic in the cephalosporin family. Given orally, it is used to treat bacterial infections in cats, including urinary tract and skin or soft tissue infections. It is what is known as a “broad spectrum” antibiotic, which means it is effective against a wide range of bacteria, although not all. It is a close relative of penicillin, and should be given with caution to cats with a penicillin allergy. Cefadroxil may also be called by one of its trade names: Cefa-Tab, Cefa-Drops or Duricef. 


Cefadroxil is only available with a veterinarian’s prescription, and can be found at pharmacies and online. The cost for 14 capsules of 500 mg each ranges anywhere from $9.30 to $20.34. Online pharmacies charge an average of $14.30 for the same dose.


Cefadroxil is available in capsule and liquid form. This medication travels throughout the body and is secreted by the kidneys through the bladder. On average, the dosage of Cefadroxil for cats is:

If the cat has kidney impairment, the dose given is:

  • 22mg/kg by mouth, every 24 hours for 3 to 7 days or longer

Dosage Instructions

Since cats sometimes balk at taking capsules, a liquid suspension is often prescribed. Be sure to shake the container well. Liquid cefadroxil is administered with a syringe held over the back of the cat’s tongue. Be prepared for your cat to spit out some of the solution, and do not try to give more than the prescribed dose if some was lost. Administer cefadroxil at the same time daily without food. If your cat experiences vomiting or diarrhea, give medication with food. 

If your cat has any kind of kidney impairment, you may be instructed to give a dose every 24 hours rather than every 12 hours. While the normal dose for unimpaired cats can be given up to 30 days, cats with kidney problems must be limited to 21 days. Be sure to give your pet the entire prescription your veterinarian prescribes. Skipping doses and stopping the medication early can allow the bacteria to return.


Cefadroxil for cats is particularly effective against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria such as Staphylococcus and Streptococcus. While it is less effective against some intestinal bacteria, E.coli is susceptible to cefadroxil, especially in the bladder. Other bacteria that cefadroxil is effective against are Proteus and Klebsiella. Salmonella, which with E. coli causes food poisoning, can also be eliminated by cefadroxil.

Most commonly administered for feline urinary tract infections, cefadroxil for cats has been found to be more effective than penicillins. It is not effective against viral infections like the flu or a cold.

Side Effects of Cefadroxil for Cats

Side effects from cefadroxil for cats are infrequent, but when they occur, they usually involve vomiting, diarrhea and other GI disturbances. 

Cats with epilepsy may have seizures while taking cefadroxil, and in some cases, depressed bone marrow has been seen, affecting red blood cell production. Fatigue and skin rashes may also appear but this is rare. 


A serious complication associated with cefadroxil for cats is Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a painful illness involving inflammation and death of the skin. In one case study, this syndrome did not appear until the 7th day of a course of cefadroxil, and stopping the antibiotic had no positive effect. Steven-Johnson syndrome is almost always fatal in cats, so it’s best to discuss with your doctor if this medication is right for your cat.

Pregnant cats, and cats with epilepsy or kidney disease should be given cefadroxil with extreme caution, or not at all. In pregnant cats, this medication can cross into the womb in the bloodstream and may harm the fetus. In epileptics, it may cause seizures, and in cats with diabetes, cefadroxil may alter urine test results. 

Drug Interactions

Cefadroxil (Cefa-Drops, Cefa-Tab, Duriocef) may interact with the following medications:

  • Aminoglycosides (gentamycin, neomycin)
  • Antifungals (amphotericin B)
  • Antibiotics (chloramphenicol, penicillin)
  • Uricosurics (probenecid)

Allergic reactions and sensitivity:

Cats who have a history of penicillin allergy should not be given cefadroxil. Skin rashes and fatigue are the main signs of an allergy. It’s important to note that people with penicillin allergies should not handle cefadroxil, or should handle it with care. 

Frequently asked questions

Can I get cefadroxil over-the-counter at a drugstore?

No, you will need a prescription to obtain cefadroxil for cats. However, the drug is available with a prescription from drugstores.

How do I store cefadroxil?

Store the unused liquid in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

How long will my cat be on cefadroxil?

The minimum length of time for treatment with Cefadroxil for cats is 3 to 7 days, but in stubborn infections it may be extended to 14, 21, or even 30 days.

What do I do if I skip a dose?

Do not give double doses of cefadroxil to your cat, as this may be fatal. If you miss a dose, give it as soon as possible, but if it is close to the next dose time, skip it and continue with the original schedule. 

What do I do in case of an accidental overdose?

If you notice any symptoms of a drug overdose in your cat, which could include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid or labored breathing, swelling, incoordination or muscle tremors, seek emergency veterinary attention immediately.

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