Need foolproof tips for giving a cat oral medication

hackwriterNovember 14, 2011

It's not that my Maggie is aggressive, she just hates taking meds, and she's strong as an ox. I've tried the kitty burrito/hold the head method, and she yanks away her head when I try to put the oral syringe in her mouth. I've tried scruffing. I talk soothingly to her, tell her she's the best cat ever, and nothing works. She has a serious mouth infection and hasn't eaten anything significant in three days. I'm getting tablets from the vet to try in pill pockets or cheese. I'm about at the end of my rope; I could lose this cat just because I can't medicate her. Does anyone have any foolproof tricks?

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If the pill pockets dont work ( I have a cat who LOVES them, but have also had a cat who didn't) have the pills compounded into a flavored liquid. We have a local pharmacy who does compounding. He adds flavors for kids (bubble gum, cherry,etc) as well as pets ( fish, beef, etc.). Once it is in a liquid "flavor" it is easy to squirt into wet catfood at mealtime.

Good Luck

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 12:20PM
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When scruffing, lift the front feet an inch or so off the ground. It's much more difficult for the cat to squirm away when the front feet are in mid-air. Also, NEVER squirt medication toward the back of the throat. squirt slowly ACROSS the mid-tongue, giving the cat time to swallow without choking.

If pilling, Pill Pockets are a godsend. Even if the cat won't eat the Pill Pocket on her own, she'll be much more likely to swallow pills in Pill Pockets when you drop them down her throat. If the pill is particularly foul tasting, it can also be helpful to first put the pill into a small, empty gelcap (available at pharmacies or your vet), then put the gelcap in a Pill Pocket.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 2:59PM
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Tuna will sometimes work when everything else fails.

I don't have a cat anymore. But when I did, meds were usually given dipped in tuna oil. I would save the oil drained out of a tuna can in a baby food jar in the fridge.

Personally, I prefer tuna in water, but for my cat I would buy tuna in oil, just so I could save the oil. A bit of greasy oil helps the pill slide down and the cat loves the smell.

I'm wondering if the pills won't go down, couldn't the vet give an injected antibiotic instead?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 3:01PM
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I've tried ten different ways of explaining but there is nothing like having the tech at the vets instruct you in person.
Every clinic/hospital has one person who can dose any cat and two minutes with one can change your life as far as getting the meds in the cat.
I am sure that your vets office would be happy to have you stop in for a quick lesson. There is really nothing like up close and personal help.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 4:06PM
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My cat gets pilled twice a day, so she's trained at this point and doesn't generally put up much struggle (she was awful when we first started, so I feel for you).

Not too long back, I started putting my cat's RX medicine inside the gelcap that contained her probiotic- mainly so I would not have to give her more than 1 "pill" at a time. The gelcaps are so slippery when they are wet that they slide down the throat very easily. I also use one of those pill syringes that has the little jaws that hold the pill at the end- they can be hard to find though IME. I hold my kitty between my knees- sitting on the floor, me over top of her holding her, and pry her mouth open from the sides. With the pill holding syringe and the gel cap, if you can get a shot at their throat, it will often just go right on down, plus that combo (pill syringe/gel cap) makes for 1 handed application of the pill. You can get empty gel caps at health food stores.

For your application, I like the idea of seeing if you can find a pharmacist who will compound a better tasting product for your cat.

I hope you find a method for success soon.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 5:18PM
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My cat takes meds surprisingly well too; but sometimes I wrap him in a towel just to make sure. Any meds the vet gives me has been in liquid form or a syringe. Lately I've been giving him eye drops, the vet showed me how to do it and so far so good.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 7:18PM
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Since my 24 pound cat Henry almost tears my arm off when I just try to apply Frontline, I cannot imagine having to give him meds by mouth. Hope that day will never happen. I pill my dogs with Sentinel wrapped in mozzarella cheese . But cats are suspicious by nature.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 1:11PM
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I got these instructions quite awhile back in an email, wouldn't recommend it but it's pretty funny:
Pick up cat and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby.
Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat�s mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth.
Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.
Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa.
Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.
Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.
Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm, holding rear paws tightly with left hand.
Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.
Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe.
Call spouse in from the garden.
Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws.
Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.
Retrieve cat from curtain rail.
Get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.
Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit.
Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw
Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans and drink one beer to take taste away. Apply band-aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.
Retrieve cat from neighbor's shed.
Get another pill. Open another beer. Place cat in cupboard, and close door onto neck, to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.
Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Drink beer. Fetch bottle of scotch. Pour shot, drink.
Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Apply whiskey compress to cheek to disinfect. Toss back another shot. Throw tee-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.
Call fire department to retrieve the damn cat from the top of the tree across the road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat.
Take last pill from foil wrap.
Using heavy-duty pruning gloves from shed, tie the little *%^'s front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of filet steak. Be rough about it. Hold head vertically and pour two pints of water down throat to wash pill down.
Consume remainder of scotch. Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room. Sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new table.
Arrange for SPCA to collect mutant cat from hell and call local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.
How To Give A Dog A Pill

1. Wrap it in bacon.

2. Toss it in the air.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 7:08PM
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ritaweeda - OH MY! :)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 8:30PM
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Personally I despise giving liquids and have no luck with them, and totally agree with the poster that said go beg the vet for a shot! FAiling that--

get a friend--preferably one who is also so a pet owner. A)they will be more sympathetic B)they know that one day they will be able to demand a return favor.

Get a nice big towel. grab kitty, drap the middle of the towel over their back--high up but not covering the head. Kind of fold the legs straight down toward the stomach and wrap the towel criss cross style until you have a papoose of cat. Friend should hold cat up as vertical as possible(tightly!)so the head is in roughly the same position the cat would hold it. Situate your self so that you have the pill shooter in your comfortable hand--grab kitty's head, palm down, knuckles parallel to the body, pinch muzzle just be;hind the whiskers with thumb and forefinger. Pinch in and lift up until you have the nose at at least a 45 degree angle--maybe more. MOuth opens and you tighten up enough to keep it from closing.

Stick that pill shooter DOWN there! That's why they have the rubber ends so you won't hurt the cat. You need the end to be over the hump of the tongue. Hit the depressor, drop the shooter, use that hand to push the cat's chin up to meet the nose and rub the throat until they swallow a couple of times.

I've done this by myself--wrap in towel, try and contain cat between knees proceed as usual. Or you can try it without the towel, with the friend holding kitty down on floor or bed.

Good luck. Myself, if the cat is that hard to pill, I"d go for the shot. Worth it in mental relief.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 9:25PM
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there is no such thing as a fool proof method to pill a cat. Some cats are easy and some are impossible. If your cat has a bad oral infection, it is likely your cat's mouth is painful, which is going to make her even more resistant. you can ask your veterinarian to have the medication compounded into a yummy liquid and that would probably work better... but best of all is to ask your vet if Convenia would be a good option (it is a single antibiotic injection that works for two full weeks).. then you don't have to give any oral antibiotics at all... or at least the infection should be improved enough that she will be in a lot less pain, and you might have better luck with something oral. I have found Convenia to be extremely convenient (which is exactly why they named it that way) for these situations, and though it is NOT a cheap injection, and will likely cost double the oral meds, it is often worth it!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 1:56AM
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