Administering cat medicine can be a challenging and frustrating task.
From the wriggling and running away to the mysterious way the pill keeps popping out of the mouth, here are some tips to make administering cat medicine a little easier.
Giving a Cat Pills and Capsules
Pills and capsules are perhaps the most comical and frustrating. Some cats, no matter how hard you try, will always find a way to spit the pill back at you or drop it on the floor with a snicker. Here are two ways to try for success:
- Lay the cat on its back in your lap, lightly holding the scruff of the neck. Tip the head back and touch your finger to the mouth to get it to open. Drop the pill toward the back of the throat and close the mouth until your pet swallows the pill. A method some people use is to blow air lightly onto the nose to encourage swallowing. Some cats swallow faster if the throat is massaged, but not all cats will respond to this.
- Another method is to put the cat between your legs as you kneel down. The cat will be in a sitting or lying position instead of on its back. Follow the same instructions above to administer the pill to your cat.
With either method, make sure not to cover your cat’s nose when holding the mouth closed. An eye dropper with a little water might help the pill to go down easier if you have trouble.
The video below demonstrates the second method and gives some tips for giving a cat liquid medicine:
Giving a Cat Liquid Medicine
You can use a syringe or similar device to administer liquid medicine to a cat in the same way as with pills, or mix the liquid with food or treats. Avoid tipping the head back so the cat is not in danger of inhaling the medicine. Once the dropper is in the mouth, aim for the back of the throat or the space between the gums and squeeze the dropper to release the medicine. Allow your cat to swallow a few times to ensure the liquid medicine has been completely ingested.
If you do decide to mix it with something else or hide it in food or cat treats, make sure your pet gets the entire dose. Use a small amount of food or treats so you will know it has all been eaten.
It’s a good idea to sequester other pets into another area of the house or in a room with the door closed.
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How to Administer Injections in a Cat
Some pet meds can be administered only by injection (such as insulin for a diabetic cat). If you cat’s medication requires you to inject at home, there are some important questions to ask before getting started. In addition to the frequency and dosage needed, it is very important to ask (and possibly get a demonstration of) where on the body the injection should take place.
Some injections can be given just under the skin, while others must be in a vein or injected into a muscle. Health problems are possible if an injection is done the wrong way, so ask these questions before getting started.
The following video shows a veterinarian administering an injection into a cat’s skin:
A few more injection tips:
- Record the injections as you give them to your cat. This will help ensure your pet finished the entire prescription as needed, and you can monitor the results of the medication. This will also help your vet determine the effectiveness of the medication or if another type of medicine would be better.
- Always use a new syringe for every injection. Reusing syringes increases the risk of infection and dulls the sharp tip, and this can cause additional pain for your cat.
- Ask about storing the medicine. Some medications may need to be refrigerated. This will help reduce the risk of infection and ensure the medicine remains potent.
If you are able to administer cat medicine by injection or dropper instead of pills, ask your vet about alternative forms. Some medications come prepared as a liquid or might be able to be compounded or crushed.
If you need to restrain your cat with any of these methods, you can wrap the cat in a towel leaving just the head free. Do not wrap the towel too tightly or it could cause injury.
You can also try a raised surface such as a table. A cat that may be uncomfortable being handled on the floor or your lap might be easier to manage on a raised surface.
Never administer medicine that has not been provided by or at least approved by your vet. Human medications or those made for dogs or other animals can cause serious harm to your cat. Ask questions first so you can avoid an emergency later.