Giving medicine to a cat can be a real challenge. Indeed, some animals can be very docile when it comes to taking a pill, while others are very reluctant. To help you, Letsgetpet is offering you tips and advice on how to give your cat medicine.
What is the correct way to give my cat medicine?
Cats have a very keen sense of smell and do not like change. When they are sick, it can be very difficult to get them to take their medication. Before you give your cat medicine, it is important to ask your veterinarian for advice. This is because some pills must be given in one dose. In addition, sometimes it is not advisable to mix medications with their food, as the cat must have an empty stomach to take them. In cases like these, the best method is to place the medication directly down their throat.
The different methods for giving medication to a cat
Based on your cat’s behavior, you can choose one of these methods to give your cat medicine.
Mix your cat’s pill with their food
One of the simplest and most well-known methods is mixing your cat’s medicine with their wet food or dry food. This allows your to mask the scent of the medication. To do this, you can try to soften a piece of thier food and insert the pill inside. While they are eating, you need to keep an eye on them and make sure that they really took the medicine. Some cats will noticce that there is something in their food and they will leave it on the side. In that case, you will need to find a different technique because they will not let themselves be fooled a second time.
Insert the medication inside a special treat
The least stressful and most practical method to ensure that your cat takes their medicine is to hide the pill in one of their treats. To do this, you can insert the pill in a piece of meat or inside some cheese before giving it to them. If the pill is big, crush it with the back of a spoon or break it in two before placing it in a treat.
To limit irritation on the gastric mucosa, some medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs are specially coated. Crushing these tablets can reveal the bitter taste of the medication, affect its absorption, modify the available dose, or create irritation. Therefore, it is important to read the instructions or seek the advice of a pharmacist or veterinarian before crushing the medication. In general, uncoated tablets can be broken in half or crushed without any problem.
Give your cat the medicine by hand
To encourage medication intake, most manufacturers offer palatable medication. These medications have a flavor (fish, chicken or pork) and a consistency that felines like. If your cat seems to love these tablets, it will be easy for you to give it to him by hand. Your cat may come and eat it without a problem.
Put it directly in your cat’s throat
If you choose this method, it’s because your cat really hates medication. You’ll need to place the pill directly down their throat. This is a quick and effective method, because you can be sure that your cat has actually swallowed the pill. This technique can be done in these few steps:
- firmly hold your cat on a table or on your knee then slightly tilt their head back,
- spread your cat’s upper and lower jaw apart by placing your index finger and thumb on each corner of their mouth,
- drop the pill in your cat’s throat (behind the tongue).
Keep your cat’s mouth closed for a few seconds to facilitate swallowing and prevent them from spitting out the medication. Gently massage your cat’s throat. When you are finished giving your cat the medicine, reward your cat with a huge dog of hugs, treats, and a playing session. This allows your cat to associate this experience with good memories and it will help ensure that your cat is more cooperative in the future.
If your cat is reluctant, difficult or aggressive, it is best to consult a pharmacist or veterinarian first. They will be able to give your advice and show you what you need to do in order to give your cat the medication. They might also propose a different form of medicine for your cat, such as a liquid medicine.
Use a pipette to administer the medication
It’s possible to mix medicine with water for your cat to swallow. To do this, you can use a syringe without a needle or a pipette. Similar to the previous method, hold your cat’s head back and place the end of the syringe or the pipette on the side of your cat’s mouth. Then, release the liquid inside their move.
Keep in mind that cats are very intuitive animals. They stress easily if they notice any strange behavior. For this reason, it’s important to be patient and be gentle with your cat.
Use a pill popper to give your cat the medication
The pill popper is an accessory that ressembles a syringe and functions in the same way as one. It is typically available at vet clincs and through online pet shops. To administer the medication, you should first draw a small amount of water into the pill poppper. Then, insert the medicine in the little tip at the end of the pill popper. Once this is done, slide the end into your cat’s mouth. Gently push on the plunger so that the pill enters the throat. When you do this, your cat will have no other choice but to swallow the medication with the water.
Even though this method ensures that your cat truly swallowed the medication, it is not recommended for all cats. It is better adapted to calm cats who do not move a lot. If your cat cannot sit still, you could risk hurting your cat or hurting yourself.
How do I open my cat’s mouth without hurting them?
To help your cat take a pill, it is sometimes necessary to open their mouth and place the medicine directly in their throat. This requires gentleness and a careful hand.
Prepare your cat
To not irritate your cat, it is important to not choose a moment when your cat is playing, feeling frustrated, or feeling excited. You should also avoid waking up your cat to open their mouth. This can frighten your cat and cause them to become aggressive. It’s best to find a moment when your cat is calm and happy and wants to spend time with you.
Next, you need to choose the perfect spot to hold your cat. You will also need to determine how you will hold the medicine and how you will stick it in their mouth. The most ideal spot is on a table. With that being said, make sure that there are no fragile objects on the table that could break if your cat makes a sudden movement. Once you find a spot, you can place a sheet or towel near you. It’s now time to prepare the equipment that you will need to administer the medication. This could be a syringe, a pipette, or a pill popper.
Now that you’ve prepared everything that you need, gently place your cat’s belly in the middle of the towel or sheet. Then, roll your cat in the sheet by grabbing each end of the towl or sheet and placing it around your cat’s body.
Wrap your cat tightly enough for the paws and claws to be kept safely inside the towel or sheet. However, make sure to leave enough room for your cat to be able to comfortably let out their head.
Open your cat’s mouth
At this stage, you need to be very careful and gentle. First, hold your cat with you non-dominant hand and hold the medication or syringe in your other hand. If you are struggling, do not hesitate to ask someone close by for help. If no one is with you, slide your cat between your arm of your non-dominant hand and your body. Position your index finger on one side of your cat’s mouth and your thumb on the other side. It is important to feel your cat’s teeth behind the cheeks.
To make your cat open their mouth, stick your fingers between their uper and lower jaw by pushing down. The pressure will quickly become uncomfortable for your cat, which will force them to open their mouth. This is your chance! You can finally place the medication in their mouth. Don’t forget to keep your cat in the same position for a few seconds.