Giving Your Cat Oral Medicines

If you have at least one cat, then you need to read this informative article. It will teach you how to administer oral medicines that are in liquid, pill, or tablet forms without causing too much stress on your feline.

I'm pretty fortunate- knock on wood- because my many cats don't get sick very often. Therefore I don't have to administer prescription drugs very often. But, there are enough other non-prescription pills, tablets, and liquids they need to keep healthy that keeps me busy anyhow. There are pills to guard against heartworm, tablets that treat cats for tapeworms, vitamins, and ear drops for mites, just to name a few.

Cats can be rather temperamental, and they really can throw a hissy fit when you need to give them medicine for any reason. I've learned some tricks over the years that helps me to get the medicine inside the cat (and not all over me, or on the floor) without any blood shed on my part.

The first method is for administering liquid medicines and vitamins, and it was passed on to me from a former veterinarian. Some elixirs are flavored to taste good so a cat will (hopefully) lap them right up. Others don't taste so good, and you have to administer it to Kitty yourself. But if you have a special needle-less syringe that has a fairly large opening at the end, you should be able to do this quickly and without much fuss. My former vet gave me one of these syringes. If your vet doesn't have any available, check at a local pet store or make your own. All you need is a large capacity, one hundred cc syringe. Then, just cut off the needle part of the syringe with a sharp utility knife. I say "sharp" knife because a dull one can crush the tube part.

To use the syringe to give your cat a liquid medicine, hold one finger over the bottom of the tube while you remove the plunger. Pour in the required dose. Slide the plunger back into the tube, while you turn the syringe upside down. Keep it upside down so the liquid doesn't run out.

Now, when I perform this next step, I do it rather quickly so my cats don't have time to raise a fuss. I gently grab my cat's neck with my free hand. I then pull their head back, insert the syringe into their mouth, push the plunger down, and let go of Kitty's neck. It happens so fast I don't think they ever figure out what just went on! I follow the medicine with some pets and some kinds words, and, all is well.

The second method I use is handy for administering pills or tablets. Here again, some tablets are made to taste like beef so your cat will just chow them down. But, still others have to be given orally to your cat. Some of my cats allow me to

open their mouths with one hand while I pop the medicine into their mouth with the other hand. You have to get the pill or tablet into their throat instead of their mouth. Because, if you have much experience with cats, you know that a cat can easily "spit" the pill back out of their mouth. Once the medicine has been kind of tossed into its throat, I then close its mouth, gently hold it shut with one hand while I stroke its throat- from the front to the back- with the fingers on the other hand. The stroking action of your fingers will actually make your cat swallow. Once the medicine is gone, don't forget to pet and soothe Kitty.

Sometimes, for my more stubborn felines, I have to use the "grab-them-by-the-neck-and-pull-their-head-slightly-back" approach when I'm giving one of my cats a pill or tablet. Then I repeat the stroking of the throat while I hold their mouth closed. Otherwise, the medicine ends up on the floor.

There is one more method I use that is reserved for the ultimately stubborn cat who refuses to take his or her medicine.

To use this way, you'll need a small blanket and a human helper. I wrap my cat up in the blanket and hold it against me so its feet are contained inside. The only part of the cat I leave out of the blanket is its head. I then instruct my helper to gently open its mouth and insert the pill or tablet; stroke; wait for the swallow, and release.