Giving Your Cat Medication With a Minimum of Stress
Partnering with your veterinarian is the key to keeping your cat healthy, and that goes beyond the occasional check-up and immunization. Be sure to schedule veterinary visits at least every six months and to give your cat tender, loving care.
If you do find that your cat needs veterinary care, it’s often necessary to give your cat medications at home after she’s seen the doctor. This, as you may already know, can be a challenge. Most cats aren’t anxious to take medications, and owners often physically struggle with their cats just to get a pill in their mouths. If you’ve ever tried to give your cat a pill, and she managed to get away from you, you know how difficult it is to coax a cat from under the couch.
Besides being a frustrating experience for you, your cat also finds it frustrating and stressful. That’s why it’s important to know an appropriate and easy way to give your cat her medication. Use the following steps to make the medicine go down a little easier.
Step 1: Call for backup. Have a partner hold your cat while you administer the pill. Ideally, your cat should be sitting on a table so she’s at a convenient height to handle. Have your partner hold onto her hindquarters to keep her from backing away from you. If working alone, try sitting with your cat near the corner of the couch, this will help provide a natural barrier to keep her from backing away while you give her the pill. Begin by palming your cat’s head. Place one hand firmly over the crown of the skull.
Step 2: Keep your hand on the head and point the mouth upward so her nose is pointing toward the ceiling.
Step 3: With your free hand, take the pill between your thumb and forefinger, then pry open the mouth by inserting your middle finger between the jaws. Your cat should naturally open her mouth. Though she may resist, with gentle pressure, you will be able to get the mouth open.
Step 4: Once the mouth is open, place or release the pill as far back in the mouth as possible and then hold his mouth closed for 5 to 10 seconds. At this point, you must work quickly. If your fingers clear her mouth and you hesitate to close the jaws, your cat will try to spit out the pill. Once the mouth is closed, gently rub her throat to stimulate the swallowing reflex.
After you release her jaws, your cat may still spit out the pill if she hasn’t swallowed. If this happens, it’s probably because the pill was released too far forward on the tongue, which makes it easy for the cat to hold it in her mouth until she’s free. Repeat the steps and try to get the pill as far back on the tongue as possible.
With practice and patience, this technique will work without putting a lot of stress on your cat. The method is quick and easy and will keep your cat from dreading pill time.