Getting a cat to take its drugs might be tough

BRYAN COLLEGE STATION – As many cat owners know, persuading a reluctant cat into something they don’t want to do can be an extremely difficult task. In some cases, e.g. When administering medication, for example, owners must put the health of their cat above their wishes in order to ensure the well-being of the pet.

Dr. Lori Teller, associate professor in the college of veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences at Texas A&M University, says owners should recruit extra hands to help give medication to a reluctant cat.

“Ideally, there are two people involved – one gently holding the cat back and the other administering the drug,” Teller said. “If you are alone (or even if someone is holding the cat), you can conveniently wrap the cat in a towel or blanket so that only the head sticks out. It also helps to have the cat in your lap with the head pointing away from you. “

Once your cat has been properly restrained, the method of administration may depend on whether the medication being prescribed is in liquid or pill form.

“Liquid medication can either be trickled or injected into a cat’s cheek pouch,” Teller said. “Avoid injecting the drug directly down the throat as cats aspirate a liquid drug rather than a tablet or capsule.”

While adding the liquid dose to a cat’s food bowl seems like a clever solution, if your cat doesn’t finish its food, your cat will not be getting the correct dose. This can also cause the cat’s food to taste bad. In this case, she may stop eating and forego the necessary medication and food, which is dangerous for the cat’s health. It is therefore important that cat owners put liquid medication directly into their cat’s mouth.

“To administer a pill, hold the pill between your first finger and the thumb of your dominant hand. Use your non-dominant hand to grasp the cat’s head by the cheeks. Be careful not to crush the whiskers, ”Teller said. “Point the cat’s nose towards the ceiling. The jaw is easily noticeable. Use the third or fourth finger of your dominant hand to gently pull the jaw down, then quickly drop the pill into your cat’s throat and tuck it down with your index finger. “

When administering pills to a cat, Teller says that owners can also purchase a device called a pill popper. These devices look like long syringes that the pill can be inserted into and used to deposit the drug without the owner having to stick their fingers in the cat’s mouth and risk of being bitten. Owners can use this device by loading the pill on the pill popper, placing the device in the cat’s throat, and poking the pill down.

“Cat bites can be very serious,” Teller said. “If your cat bites you while trying to administer medication, seek advice from a healthcare professional.”

After putting the liquid medication or pill into the cat’s throat by either method, keep the cat’s mouth closed and gently stroke the throat and / or blow in the nose until the medication is swallowed. Owners should follow the pill with a small amount of water so it doesn’t get caught in the cat’s esophagus.

The most stubborn cats may respond by spitting out the drug or throwing up immediately after being given it.

“If the cat spits out a tiny amount, you probably don’t need to worry, but it would be good to ask your vet,” she said. “If they spit out all of the medicine, or immediately vomit it again, you may need to repeat the dose. Be sure to talk to your veterinarian about this. “

After successfully treating their pet, owners should show their furry friend a little love to make the experience more positive.

“Have one of your cat’s favorite treats ready and give it to your cat. Make sure it’s something your cat really likes to use as a reward, ”Teller said. “You can also rub your cat wherever it likes – under the chin, behind the ears, or at the base of the tail.”

If you are unable to give your cat oral medication, it is very important that you let your veterinarian know so they can try to offer a more tolerable alternative, such as: B. to mix the drug in a transdermal gel that can be applied to the ear or composed of the drug in a spicy cube or a liquid. Your veterinarian cannot help you if you do not raise your medication administration concerns. Therefore it is important to express yourself!

According to Teller, owners may want to prepare for the opportunity to administer medication before their cat gets sick. That way, they don’t have to deal with the added stress of managing on top of having a sick pet.

“The easiest way to give medication to a cat is to train the cat to take medication before it actually needs it,” she said. “There are ways to train a cat to take pills without the owner ever holding or touching the cat.”

Pet Talk is a service provided by the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedicine at Texas A&M University. Stories can be found on the Pet Talk website. Suggestions for future topics can be directed to