Win the battle: how to give a pill to your cat
Most cat owners probably agree that giving your cat a pill is quite a nightmare. WikiHow presents altogether six different methods to tackle this, and there’s a brilliant humorous piece written of this too.
Recently, I had to deal with this issue myself. Both of the cats had some teeth removed due to feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORL), more commonly called tooth resorption. I was of course worried that have I been the worst cat owner and caused it by giving wrong food etc. but the vet told me that the causes of FORL are still unknown, and so are the ways to prevent it. Even large wild cats have it!
However, FORL is painful to the cats because the resorption may extend into the root. Cats are great in hiding their pain, so this is why you really need to have also your cat’s teeth checked regularly, in addition to the general health check. Many times the only way to diagnose FORL is from an x-ray of cat’s mouth, which was our case as well.
After the operation, cats needed vet-prescribed painkillers for some days. Neither of our cats has ever approved taking any kind of medication mixed with food (not even with tuna, which is THE super treat), inside any ready-made pill pocket treats, or taken the pill as such. Some cats still do take their medication easier than others, and so does our mister who had his operation first. He’s been fine with mixing the crushed pill with water and giving it with the syringe technique, which is the method nr. 5 in WikiHow 🙂
With high hopes, I tried the above technique with our other cat, and ended up with a huge scratch in my hand. So I had to come up with something else with her.
Luckily, I happened to have a vitamin paste for cats at home. Remembering how important it is for cats to keep their fur clean and groom themselves, I came up with the following idea. It worked super well and without any scratches or hard feelings!
- Crush the pill into powder (and separate the needed amount, if the whole pill is not needed).
- Take some paste onto your fingertip, and dip it in the pill powder. Mix more paste into it, if the consistency is too dry after dipping.
- Gently but quickly swipe the paste from your fingertip onto your cat’s fur, where it’s easy to lick – e.g. front legs, front paws (see picture). This is easiest when your cat is asleep! Otherwise, hold the cat securely when swiping the paste. You can also swipe it onto the corner of your cat’s mouth, if you feel comfortable doing so. This should get the medication swallowed and activated faster.
- Give praise and some treats. Your cat will take care of the rest!
From my experience, this was by far the easiest way to give medication and make sure it really gets taken – instead of the pill or liquid ending on the floor or on your clothes!
This technique should work for all kinds of cats, except if your cat is not grooming due to sickness or very old age. In this case, swiping the paste onto the corner of the mouth could still work.
Sticky paste, either swiped onto the fur, or onto the corner of the mouth, is a great addition to your toolbox for giving medication to your cat.
In terms of the paste, there are no other requirements except that it needs to be sticky, and it is a product that is intended for cats to eat. I used and can recommend GimCat Multi-Vitamin paste from Zooplus*, available also from Amazon.com*.
If you have never given paste to your cat, it might be good idea to get her/him used to the paste first by giving it a couple of times as such with this method, before mixing any medication to it. In terms of the medication, you just need to make sure that the pill is of the type that can be crushed.
If you have multiple cats in the household, pay attention to that when you have given the paste, the other cat(s) will not groom the cat under medication. To prevent this, you can first swipe the regular paste onto other cat(s), and then give the pill paste to the cat under medication. This way all your cats will be concentrated on grooming themselves, not others. If they still want to groom each other, separate them for 15 minutes or so, when you can be sure that the cat that is under medication has licked off the paste.
To me, this was such a game-changer that I wanted to share it with you even though this is not design or DIY stuff. But it’s kind of a pill hack! 🙂
Have you found some good ways to get your cat to take medication? Leave a reply and share your tips!
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