Cornell Feline Health Center

Supporting Cat Health with Information and Health Studies.

FDA Approves Appetite Stimulant for Cats

The FDA recently approved a transdermal formulation of mirtazapine for use as an appetite stimulant in cats. This formulation can be applied to the skin of a cat, and studies have shown that such application results in levels of mirtazapine in the blood stream that are safe and effective at increasing appetite in cats. The name of the product is Mirataz and it is produced by Kindred Bioscience Inc. Sales and distribution are expected to begin in the summer of 2018.

Mirtazapine is a drug that was initially developed to control nausea but has been shown to be an effective appetite stimulant in cats. It has been used for quite some time by veterinarians trying to improve their patients’ appetites, but the issue of giving it to cats that won’t eat has been problematic.

Weight loss is a common problem in cats with a variety of diseases, and managing this problem can be challenging. This is especially true when cats lose their appetite, as the drugs that may be used to stimulate appetite are commonly given orally, and if a cat is not eating, such medications cannot be reliably administered by adding them to food. Cats that don’t eat are also predisposed to a number of other potentially serious health issues, so effective appetite stimulants have tremendous potential to improve the lives of cats with a verity of conditions that decrease their appetite.

We recommend that you discuss this new therapeutic option with your veterinarian if your cat is having problems leading to decreased appetite.