Tips to Medicate a Cat



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cats and medication Out of all the animals I have cared for over the years I have to say cats are the most difficult to medicate. Dogs are easily fooled with peanut butter, liver sausage or just popping a pill down their throat. Some cats are easy to medicate. My cat Sheena & my sisters cat Cassie are purrfect when it comes to popping pills down their throats. But they are only part of the small percentage out there who cooperate. Personally speaking after working with hundreds of cats over the years I have to say that my cat Kizzy who has kidney failure is THE WORST to pill and medicate on the planet! I’m lucky she doesn’t bite or get upset with me. “Pilling” or “medicating” a cat isn’t always as easy as it appears. A lot of it depends on the cat’s purrsonality. How to properly pill or medicate a cat is a completely different subject.  There are different methods of restraint as well that can be used.  You will not find that information in this article.  This is just tips and tricks to make the process easier. There are several techniques and tricks you can try to help ease the pill popping & medicating process to make it less stressful for both you & your cat.

Greenies Pill pockets were an ingenious invention! You put the pill in the pocket , close up the end & present it as a treat to your cat. They come in Chicken & Salmon flavors. They do have the Allergy formula in Duck but they have become more difficult to find and cost a bit more than the

Greenies pill pockets size

Size of Greenies Feline Pill Pockets

Chicken & Salmon flavors.  But I’ve had multiple clients who have had great success in getting their cats to eat them & easily take their medication. The cheapest place I have found them is on the most expensive place I have seen them is at Petco. They average $5-$8 for a package of 45 pockets. These worked great for me when I first had to start giving Kizzy medication but she eventually stopped eating them. Grrrr

If your cat needs more than 1 pill another trick is getting empty gelatin capsules. They are available is multiple sizes from 0 to 000, and can be purchased online or from a pharmacy, drugstore or vitamin supply retailer. You can get 1000 empty capsules from $10-$15 depending on the supplier and size of the capsules. Cats often need portions of pills such as  a 1/4 tablet, 1/2 table etc. You take the several pills your cat needs and put all of them in 1 gelatin capsule. That way there is just one pill to give instead of several. Another bonus is with the gelatin capsule you cat won’t get the nasty or bitter taste of the cut pills.

cat pill popperSome cats have longer fangs or canine teeth which in essence can puncture you while trying to pill them. It’s not that they bite per say, its just their teeth are longer than others & they accidently puncture the skin when trying to pill them. Some cats you can get near but they open their mouths & hiss at you threatening to bite. So you can’t touch their head to restrain them to medicate. Other cats are very good at moving their head no matter how they are restrained. This next trick I have personally used for these situation including with my own cat Kizzy. Its a device called a “Pill Popper” or “Pill Gun”. The video below is a good demonstration of how it works (with a very well behaved cats LOL)
You put your pill into your popper, push the popper into the back into their mouth and you hit the end like a syringe and then it pushes the pill back into the back on their throat. Some cats do need to be scruffed with this technique, or you need to have good aim. But it keeps your hands and fingers away from those teeth! They can be found online or at a local drug store.

cat eating canned foodSome cats can not be handled at all or won’t come near you if they think your going to pop a pill down their throat. In this situation you have to find a way to get the cat to ingest the medication while you are not around.Check with your veterinarian or pharmacist to see if the medication can be mixed into canned food. Pills can be crushed and liquids can be mixed into cats food for easy administration.Pate canned cat food works best. Shredded or Filets food doesn’t work as well because cats tend to just lick up the gravy and leave the meat. tablespoon of canned cat food Pate food is a more solid form of food that cats eat and is easy to mix medication in. Mix the medication in a small amount of canned cat food like 1 tablespoon. You want enough to mask the medication but you don’t want to give too much because you have to make sure that they eat it all. This way you can leave it out for them to eat at their leisure when they feel comfortable & safe. When you return it is easy to tell if they ate it all or not. Use a canned food that they love and is a favorite. You can try rotating flavors as well. Friskies is cheap and comes a large variety of pate flavors. 1 can can be used for many doses if you are only using 1 tablespoon at a time. DO NOT add multiple doses of medication to an entire can of cat food! You will not be able to properly determine if the proper dose of medication has been given. Once the can of food is opened you can cover it & put the remaining amount in the refrigerator. When you need the next dose of medication take out 1 tablespoon of food and put it in the microwave for a few seconds to take the chill off – THEN add the medication to the food & mix it in. Cats generally won’t eat cold refrigerated food.

Keep in mind that when piling or medicating a cat the idea is to make it as quick and stress free as possible.  If a cats is screaming, biting, clawing, urinating or defecating stress levels are too elevated. You risk injury to yourself or the cat and alternative methods of administering the medication needs to be found.

About the Author: Shannon's Pet-Sitting