Medicating Your Cat- Tips and Tricks
We’ve all heard horror stories and seen the funny comics and memes about medicating your cat, but when it’s time to do it ourselves it’s not so funny! Medicating your cat doesn’t have to be awful and we have some guidelines and tips to help you out.
If your cat has been prescribed pills or capsules, the best way to start is in a calm, quiet place. If you think your cat will run away, try starting in a room that can be closed and without any furniture to hide under (a bathroom or office can work well). Find a place your cat is willing to stand comfortably, whether it be on a counter, chair, or your lap. Each cat is different and we want this to be as stress-free as possible. Some cats like the security of being wrapped in a blanket or towel too! Using your non-dominant hand, cup their head from over the top and point their nose straight up. Getting the nose pointing upward will make them relax their jaw so you can use your ring finger of the dominant hand to gently pull down on their lower jaw. Use the rest of the fingers on that hand to get the medication as far back in their mouth as you can. Close their mouth while keeping the nose up and lightly stroke their throat to encourage them to swallow.
Not all cats are willing to safely let you put that medication in their mouth without biting and we recommend trying a Pet Piller for those cats to protect your hands! You can use the same method but you use the Pet Piller to place the pill or capsule in the back of the mouth instead of your fingers. Some cats are also very talented at spitting meds back out or vomiting them up, please talk to your vet about other options in these cases. Many medications can be compounded into a liquid or other form. Do NOT crush your medication without talking to your veterinarian. Some medications are meant to be a slow release and crushing them can cause an overdose.
For liquid medications, start out the same way getting your cat into a quiet and comfortable area. Use the syringe or dropper provided with the medication to slowly give it into your cats cheek pouch (between the teeth and the cheek). Sometimes holding their mouth shut can make this easier. It is not recommended to “shoot” it straight into their mouth because they may choke on the liquid coming in so quickly.
Eye and ear medications can be given in similar fashions and just modified depending on the preferences of your cat. A calm, quiet room and possibly a towel to hide in can make a big difference. Cats dealing with eye issues can appreciate a dimly lit space as well, since bright lights may be painful.
For all types of medications, try to make the experience as pleasant as possible (it can be a challenge!). Lots of treats and petting, going slowly, and stopping for a break if it isn’t going well can make it easier on everyone involved! If you are having trouble medicating your cat, please talk to your veterinarian about other options. Wave Your Paw also offers medical visits specifically to help in these situations! Contact us for assistance. There are also some great videos on YouTube to check out!