Unless you’re working with an easy-going personality, giving a cat medication is no simple feat. If you have ever had to medicate a finicky feline, you probably have a few good stories (and scratches) to share.
Learning how to properly and efficiently administer medication is worth the effort. By making the process as painless as possible, you can save both you and your cat from prolonged stress.
Preparation is Key
Have you ever heard the phrase, “failing to plan is planning to fail?” When it comes to cats and medication, truer words have never been spoken. Before you attempt the task, take a minute to gather your supplies and prepare.
The necessary supplies will depend on the type of medication required. With liquids, you may be able to simply sneak it into your cat’s food. Check with your vet before doing so, as some prescriptions need to be taken on an empty stomach.
Here are some supply suggestions:
- Towel – Wrapping your cat in a towel is a gentle way to secure your pet while also protecting yourself from any volatile reactions.
- Syringe – When you cannot combine liquid medication with food, you will likely need a syringe.
- Pill popper – If your cat is crafty at avoiding your fingers, a “pill popper” can provide better accuracy. These devices also shield your fingers from harm. When selecting a popper, look for ones with rounded edges, such as the Butler Sales Bullseye Pill Popper.
- Pill pockets – Food-motivated cats may be bribed into taking pills via a “pill pocket.” Greenie’s Pill Pockets are one of the most popular options and include feline-friendly flavors like salmon. Certain cats are crafty enough to eat around the capsule, so this option does not work for every pet.
- Treats – Consider keeping a few of your cat’s favorite treats on hand. If your pet knows there’s a reward waiting, that may encourage participation.
- An assistant – If you are able to enlist a helper, the extra pair of hands can make a world of difference.
Administering the Medication
When ready, either wrap your cat in a towel or have an assistant hold your pet in place. Tilt your cat’s head up slightly. If the jaw does not open, encourage it by wiggling your thumb and forefinger along the sides of the lips. You can also place your thumb against your cat’s chin and press down.
Securing your cat’s head with one gentle hand at all times will facilitate this process. Use your other hand to insert the pill, syringe, or pill popper. Regardless of the way you provide the medicine, aim to place it as far back on the tongue as possible.
Should your cat resist swallowing, try lightly stroking the throat. Blowing on your cat’s nose can also trigger a swallow. If your cat continues to give you a hard time, consult your vet. They may offer an alternative form of medication that is more appealing to your pet.