Medicating Your Cat

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  • Before you leave your veterinarian’s office with a new medication, be sure to address any concerns or questions with the veterinary staff.
  • Use all medication as directed. If it is an antibiotic, be sure to use all of the medication, even if you cat is feeling better after a few days.
  • Do not risk being bitten, scratched, or otherwise injured while trying to medicate your cat. If you are unable to administer medication, we may be able to offer you more options.

Understanding the Medication Instructions

Please make sure that you understand the dosing on all medications before you leave the office. Some medications, such as Prednisone, have doses that start off high and slowly taper off. When starting a new medication, be sure to address any concerns or questions that you may have regarding the medication. Also, some medications need to be given every 8 hours and others more frequently than that. If you are unable to follow the dosing schedule, please alert the staff so that they can adjust the dosage or change the medication. Ask about your pet’s expected response to the treatment.

We cannot stress enough the importance of following the dosing schedule that the doctor has prescribed. By not giving antibiotics for the duration of time prescribed, the symptoms are likely to return. Also, remember to keep refrigerated medications in the fridge. By not keeping it refrigerated, it can reduce the effectiveness.

Administering Pills

If you’ve never given a cat medication before, you are about to experience a challenge! Some cats take pills very readily if the pill is hidden inside a treat or given with a small amount of canned cat food. Another option is canned tuna or salmon for people. Pills can also be crushed (or capsules broken and emptied) and mixed with a small amount of canned food. However, your cat must eat all of the food right away to ensure receiving the full medication dose. Some capsules and tablets are not able to be crushed or opened, so be sure to check with us and ask if this is an option. Also,ask if the medication can be given with food.

If you must give your cat a pill directly by mouth, here’s a method that usually works. This technique takes practice and may require more than one attempt to get your cat to swallow the pill. If you think that your cat may try to bite or scratch, do not attempt this technique; ask your veterinarian for alternative medication options:

 

  • If your cat is well-behaved, place a towel across your lap and hold your cat gently on your lap. If you think your cat may try to scratch you or get away, you may want to wrap his body, feet, and legs in a towel; leave the head out so that you can give the medication.
  • Hold the pill between the thumb and index finger of your hand
  • Using your other hand, reach over the top of your cat’s head and squeeze your thumb and middle finger between your cat’s upper and lower teeth. Try to stay close to the back of the mouth (near the molars) and away from the canines (the long, pointy teeth near the front of the mouth). If you’re doing this properly, the sides of the upper lip will curl in as your fingers curl in.
  • Once your fingers are inside your cat’s mouth, gently tilt your cat’s head back to encourage your cat to open his or her mouth.
  • Once the mouth is open, use your index finger and thumb to place the pill near the base of the tongue. Then remove your hands quickly so your cat can swallow.
  • Rub your cat’s throat lightly to encourage swallowing. Offering a small amount of water can also help.

 

Administering Liquid Medication

Some pet owners prefer liquid medication because administration does not require placing your fingers inside of your cat’s mouth. However, if your cat refuses to swallow the liquid, this method may not be ideal. Here are some tips for administering liquid medication:

  • If your cat is well-behaved, place a towel across your lap and hold your cat gently on your lap. If you think your cat may try to scratch or get away, you may want to wrap his or her body, feet, and legs in a towel; leave the head out so that you can give the medication.
  • Draw the medication into the dropper or syringe, and hold it in your hand
  • Place your hand behind your cat’s head to stabilize it. You can gently stroke the back of the head and speak softly to your cat to distract and comfort him or her.
  • Insert the tip of the dropper or syringe into the side of your cat’s mouth. Try to stay close to the molars and away from the canine teeth.
  • Once the tip is inside, empty the medication into the mouth and release your cat’s head.
  • Rub the throat lightly to encourage swallowing.