There doesn’t have to be an unwanted struggle between you and your cat at medicine-giving time. Delivering the needed medication to a cat can be accomplished by performing the correct steps in the right sequence.
Whether the medicine is in pill or liquid form, always select a location that prevents feline escapes, such as a bathroom where you can close the door. Body positioning is also crucial. Position your cat so that her rear end is against a wall to prevent her from backing up and escaping.
Set yourself up for success by having the measured-out liquids or pills prepared in advance. Place a comfy, thick bath towel on the bathroom counter or floor for the cat.
Remind yourself that you are being a vital player in your cat’s recovery. So, before reaching for the medicine bottle, put yourself in a patient but purposeful frame of mind. This is important because cats read — and respond — to your emotional state.
Be calm and encouraging. Avoid rushing or saying phrases like, “I’m sorry” as cats are adept at reading your emotional state.
For easily frightened or feisty felines, consider wrapping them in a large bath towel first. The towel can also help protect you from being bitten or scratched.
How to Give a Cat a Pill
Why Comply: The cat needs the medicine to return to a healthy state. There is a reason a given medication is prescribed for a certain amount of time. Depending on the medication, it takes a certain amount of time for the drug to establish certain levels in the bloodstream to do its job and stay at that level long enough to make sure the problem doesn’t re-occur. If treatment is shortened because you think your cat is doing better, you may risk the problem not resolving or recurring.
Get Into the Right Mindset: Cats are masters at reading our moods and body postures. Be calm. Move slow. Never force or yell at the cat. Take a deep breath and inhale before giving medicine. Have all the right items needed before approaching the cat. Gently pet the cat before and after giving medicine.
Play It Safe: Subdue the cat using a thick towel that covers his eyes and tucks in his body to restrict movement. Do not scruff a cat as you will ignite his anger and fuel his determination to bite and claw you.
Safety Tip: Cats’ teeth are sharper than dogs’ teeth and their incisors can easily puncture your skin. It is better to be safe and use a towel. The purpose of towel wrapping is to make a cat feel secure and relaxed and prevent them from struggling
Step 1. Place your fourth and fifth fingers behind your cat’s skull to keep her from moving her head backward. Sit behind your cat or position her against a wall so that she cannot back up.
Step 2. In advance, prepare a syringe with water or tuna juice that will act as a chaser to ensure that the pill or capsule does not get stuck in your cat’s esophagus. Place the pill in the pill gun. Tilt your cat’s head back and open her mouth.
Step 3. Place a tiny amount of canned cat food, tuna or other food that your cat likes on the tip of the pill gun to hide the pill. Insert the pill gun into your cat’s mouth and deposit the pill at the back of the tongue.
Step 4. Remove the pill gun and quickly close your cat’s mouth while continuing to tilt her head up. Massage her throat gently to induce swallowing. Scratch behind her hears if she likes that to make it a positive experience.
Step 5. Follow up with a syringe filled with water or tuna juice to ensure the pill has been properly swallowed. Take care to leave your cat’s head level when giving this liquid.
How to Give a Cat Liquid Medicine
If a cat needs liquid medicine, make sure you know the right dosage to avoid an accidental overdose. Again, make this a relaxed, rewarding experience for the cat so she starts to associate getting medicine with getting tasty treats.
Step 1. Open your cat’s mouth, insert the syringe from the side and squirt in the liquid. Because liquids are more likely than pills to enter the trachea, keep the cat’s head level.
Step 2. You can also squirt the liquid medicine onto the roof of the mouth if the cat accepts having her mouth wide open. Remove the syringe and close her mouth so that she can’t spit out the medicine.
Step 3. If your cat is afraid of syringes, develop a positive association by placing the cat’s favorite treats, such as canned tuna, on the syringe tip for her to lick off.
Step 4. Try the yum-yuck-yum tactic. Line up three syringes. Put tuna water in the first syringe, the actual medicine in the second syringe and tuna water in the third syringe. The cat gets to taste something enjoyable – tuna juice at the start and finish of the medicine-giving time.
Step 5. End the session by giving a small treat as a reward, opening the bathroom door and allowing your cat to exit on her own.
By Sarah Zumhofe
Sarah Zum Hofe was born in 1987 in St. Louis, MO- and has since then had a love affair with animals!