Medication administration does NOT have to be stressful!!
"You wanna give me what?"
We have lots of tips on how to help you give your kitty medication without it being a stressful battle between the two of you.
The handouts and videos provided below demonstrate effective and low stress techniques of medication administration. If you would like more help, ask for our staff to give you a demonstration!
One important tip before we start, remember to always wash down any solid pill or capsule your cat swallows with several mls of water or (even better) tuna flavored water. Ask us for an oral syringe to make this easy!
Another great tip...try using your bathroom sink, lined with a soft towel or fleece, to provide an enclosed, secure place for administering your cat's medication.
To help your cat learn to actually ENJOY taking medication from a pill popper consider these tips (to counter condition or desensitize your cat to medication administration). You might want to do this periodically even when your pet does not need any medication.
*Pick a tasty treat your cat loves such as liverwurst, tuna, baby food, yogurt, softened butter, ice cream, etc.
*Wipe the tasty treat all over the outside of a Pet Piller or Pill Popper.
*Allow your kitty to lick or eat the treat off of the popper.
*Repeat this multiple times until your cat is lunging for the popper like he does when he hears you open a can of cat food!
*Then start to put the treat coated popper in his mouth and let him chew and lick off the treat inside his mouth.
*Repeat this many times until your cat is convinced the piller represents a good thing, treats!
*Next pratice pilling by putting a small piece of dry kibble (instead of a pill) in the gripper of the popper.
*Again cover the outside of the pet popper holding the kibble with the speciall treat.
*Insert the kibble loaded popper deeply into the back of the mouth and release the kibble.
*Wipe the coated treat on the roof of the mouth as you remove the pill popper.
*Practice this method of giving treats intermittently to develop skill and happy anticipation for your kitty of good things coming from the pill popper.
Feline Friendly Method of Teaching Your Cat To Take A Pill Using A "Pill Popper" from Lincoln Land Animal Clinic and our friend and colleague, Dr. Colleen Koch! A fabulous force free method to train your cat to love to take a pill! Our favorite STRESS FREE method that you cat will actually like! Click Here are the step by step instructions by Dr. Koch
Cornell's How to Give Your Cat a Pill Video Video Tips on how to give cats capsules or pill medications. Learn how to use a "pill gun or pill popper". How to give medication with a helper, or by yourself.
Cornell's How to Give Your Cat Liquid Medication Video tips on how to give cats liquid medications.
Towel Wrap Your Cat in 5 Scratch Free Steps If your kitty won't hold still to allow medicating, consider this soft and safe restraint technique from the VetSTREET Website.
Handout On How To Give Oral Medication from Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Handout On How To Examine and Medicate the Eyes also from Washington State University.
Handout on How To Examine & Medicate A Cat's Ear again from Washington State University.
How to Give Subcutaneous (SubQ) Fluids to a Cat a helpful handout
Video on How to Give Subcutaneous (or SubQ) Fluids
Another helpful tip is to use empty gelatin capsules to administer bitter tasting medications to hide the flavor. They can also be used to administer multiple medications more easily by inserting multiple medications into one capsule, decreasing the number of times you kitty has to swallow. Gelatin capsules easily fit into pet pill guns and can be coated with a tasty treat such as canned food or soft butter.
Greenies Feline Pill Pockets are another great way to administer multiple medications. They are tasty treats that have a whole in the center to insert medications. Some cats like these treats so much they will eat them voluntarily.
It is a good idea to first give some empty Pill Pockets to get your kitty used to the tasty treat. Continue to intermittently give empty pill pockets at random times so that your cat never learns that Pill Pockets always mean having to take medication.
Even if you cat will not eat them voluntarily, these treats may still make it easier to give medications by the hand "pilling" technique described in the video. Cats are much more willing to swallow these smooth round tasty treats rather; than sharp, bitter, powdery tablets.
Most cats love Pill Pockets and will readily eat them. But an important easy tip or trick to try is to NOT use the entire pocket! The whole pill pocket is often too big for most cats to want to swallow them whole, which is our goal. Instead, they will bite down on them if they are too big. If they taste a bitter pill inside, that will be the last time they will ever eat a Pill Pocket. So keep them small and easy to swallow!
Try using just enough of the pill pocket dough to wrap around the pill. The smaller the rolled up ball is, the more apt your kitty will be to swallow it whole. You can try even to split a large pill into smaller pieces and wrapping each piece in a small piece of dough. Again this lessens the chance of the cat biting down into the pill pocket and tasting the pill. If you are breaking pills apart, be careful not to get any pill powder on the outside of the PP.
To make a the pill pocket dough even more inviting you can try adding extra flavoring by rolling the pill in some Parmesan cheese or a probiotic powder available from your veterinarian called Fortiflora.
Medications can also be specially compounded into liquid or transdermal formulations by special Compounding Pharmacies. These pharmacies will also flavor medications. Transdermal medications are extremely easy to give, they are simply wiped on an hairless area (usually the inside of the ear flap) and are absorbed through the skin. Unfortunately not all medications are well absorbed through the skin, so this method is only recommended for select medications. A frequently prescribed medication called Methimazole for Hyperthyroidism works great via the transdermal route.