Metoclopramide for Cats

Written By Leslie Ingraham
Published: 09/21/2021Updated: 09/21/2021
Metoclopramide for Cats

Metoclopramide for cats is a medication that works on the gastrointestinal system to stimulate the movement of the stomach and small intestine, and inhibits and treats vomiting that arises from various medications, treatments or surgery. 

Metoclopramide is what is known as a dopamine antagonist. Dopamine is a neuro-transmitter, which conducts impulses between nerves. If your cat is prescribed metoclopramide it’s important to follow the veterinarian’s instructions closely, as they may be different from the package directions. Metoclopramide is also useful in several conditions and treatments in which nausea and vomiting are common, including chemotherapy, renal failure, acute liver failure, and hepatitis.


Metoclopramide for cats is typically sold as tablets or in an oral syrup. An intravenous or subcutaneous liquid is available for veterinarians to administer in their offices. The drug is not available without a veterinarian’s prescription. It can be found at pharmacies and online, or through the veterinary clinic. The retail cost for 100 10 milligram tablets ranges from about $7.00 to $17.95. Other strengths are available with differing prices.


Metoclopramide for cats is available as tablets or syrup. Most prescriptions are for the tablet form of the drug. On average the dosage of Metoclopramide is: 

Dosage instructions 

Metoclopramide should be given approximately one hour before feeding. Many cats resist taking tablets, in which case, the syrup may be better for them. However, the syrup is notoriously bad-tasting.

If the cat is actively vomiting, the veterinarian will likely administer an injection or IV in the clinic, followed by tablets or liquid at home. It’s important not to stop the medication without the vet’s permission or knowledge. It can be given with or without food, but some veterinarians order it 1 hour before feeding the cat, and it will take effect about 1 to 2 hours after it was given. 


A study reported by the National Institutes of Health examined the effectiveness of metoclopramide in preventing vomiting after receiving an emetic, a drug that causes vomiting, named Xylazine. The results showed that giving metoclopramide after administering xylazine reduced the number, frequency and duration of episodes of vomiting. Different doses of metoclopramide were administered during the experiment and all resulted in similar results. 

Some anesthetic medications may cause post op vomiting. Another study showed that metoclopramide when given postoperatively reduced the incidence of nausea and vomiting after surgery. 

Side Effects

There are very few side effects with metoclopramide for cats, and they are not considered serious. They include:

  • Disorientation
  • Constipation
  • Hyperactivity or frenzied behavior

If the side effects worsen or become severe, it’s time to call your vet. The side effects should stop when the medication stops working after about 24 hours from the last given dose. If the side effects continue, a call to your veterinarian is necessary. If the cat has liver or kidney disease, the duration time is longer and you should keep that in mind when assessing side effect duration, too.


Be cautious giving this drug to cats with kidney disease. Kidney and liver disease can interfere with the action of absorbing Metoclopramide. The medications activity in the brain as a neurotransmitter may also adversely affect a cat with a seizure disorder or a head injury. 

Absolutely do not give Metoclopramide if the cat has Pheochromocytoma (a neuro-endocrine tumor), or intestinal blockage or bleeding.

Drug Interactions

Metoclopramide (Reglan, Maxolon) may interact with the following medications:

  • Anesthetics 
  • Antidepressants (amitriptyline, imipramine, nortriptyline)
  • Opioids (Apomorphine, tramadol)
  • Anti-bradycardic drugs (atropine)
  • Antibiotics (cephalexin, cefaclor, cefadroxil, cefalexin, tetracycline) 
  • Cholinergic drugs (acetylcholine, methacholine, carbachol, bethanechol)
  • Antihistamines (diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine, and loratadine) 
  • Barbiturates (phenobarbital, amobarbital)
  • Neurotransmitters (dopamine, cyclosporin)

Allergic Reactions and Sensitivity

Do not give metoclopramide to a cat if they have an allergy to it or a similar drug, or an allergy to sunscreens containing Para-amino-benzoic acid (PABA).

Frequently asked questions

Can I get metoclopramide over-the-counter in a drugstore?

The drug is available by prescription only from drugstores, retail stores and supermarkets that have pharmacies within them, and online distributors.

How do I store metoclopramide?

Store this medication in a tightly sealed container, protected from light, at room temperature.

How long will my cat be on metoclopramide?

Your veterinarian will want you to give your cat metoclopramide for an average of 3 to 7 days for general nausea and vomiting. 

What do I do if I skip a dose?

Do not give double doses of metoclopramide to your cat. Give the missed dose as soon as you remember it, unless it’s close to the next dosage time. If it is, skip it and get back on schedule with the next dose.

What do I do in case of an accidental overdose?

If you have seen your cat ingest an extra tablet or you suspect an accidental overdose, seek emergency veterinary attention right away.

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