Tuesday, March 7, 2017

How do you give a struggling, anxious cat a pill?




I wish this were a post where I could give you the answer to that question: how do you give a struggling, anxious cat a pill? 

But I am turning to you for suggestions and help.

Larry and I have given medicine to cats for years. But now we have three young cats, and it’s a different experience giving medicine. Or we have lost any skills we had.

The Cerenia that the vet ordered for Abbey seems to help her. For about a month, we were told to give it to her every day. Leading up to her endoscopy, which is scheduled for Monday, March 13, we have been trying to give it to her at least every other day.

Larry holds her and I give her the pill with a pill popper. 

But Abbey has become very upset during the process. We’ve tried it with Larry holding her to his side. We’ve tried it with her wrapped in a towel. I try to move as quickly as I can to get the pill in. But she struggles against us so hard, we’re afraid we’re going to hurt her. So we let her go and she doesn’t get the medicine.

I bought some pill pockets and gave her one with no pill in it to see if she would eat it. She wouldn’t. She rarely eats any kind of treat.

I mashed it and put it in some gravy from soft food she likes. Evidently, she smelled the pill because she wouldn’t touch the food.

Do you have any suggestions or advice? We appreciate it!

14 comments:

  1. It's not easy to give a pill to a cat that doesn't want it. I didn't have much success from those pill poppers. My best method is to hold the back of the neck and tilt the cat's head back, then put the pill as far back on the tongue, as quickly as possible, and hope for the best. It's not pleasant for them I know, but there isn't really a nice way to get it down if they don't want to take it :-(

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  2. http://www.kittyblog.net/2013/03/what-i-know-how-i-pill-cat.html is my go-to pilling technique. I always end with lots of love and treats before letting them go, so they end on a good note. If they run away from a pilling experience the bad experience will fester and the next time will be worse.

    When I had a kitty I was afraid of manhandling (she had cancer in her head) I did the ol 'hide it in the food' as long as the pill is not bitter, you can usually get meat baby food and offer them a bit without a pill, put a little more on the spoon and hide the pill in it and offer that, then offer a little more without the pill, etc. It works better when the food is cold because it is clumps up better and hides the pill a little better (they chew as opposed to lick) just keep the clumps small so they don't have to chew, and it just gets taken up and swallowed.

    Pill pockets are good too, but again, you want to keep things small. I've always broken them apart and molded the product around the pill, the key is to make sure the cat does not 'chew' so the smaller the better. I've even broke up pills so they were small enough to be 'inhaled'

    You want to keep how much food you offer small. You want to do it when they are hungry so they are more inclined to eat quickly and ask questions later.

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  4. Oh! I have little experience with pilling, since The Hubby does it, and Chuck has been getting pills twice a day for over a year now. At first, he would grab the cat, set him on his lap, and pill him that way. Over time, they've both learned to do it any easier way, which is find the cat wherever he is, and pill him there, then give lots of snuggles and cooing afterward. The Hubby tips Chuck's head back, and drops the glob of pill paste and cut-up pills and capsules down the gullet, and then holds the cat's jaws closed until it's swallowed. Will your vet give you a 'class' on pilling the cat, to help you gain confidence? Or the vet techs probably do just as well. Good luck, and you will find a way.

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  5. Do you have to give it to her all at once? You could try crushing but divvying up the pill powder and mixing it in a favorite treat. Or baby food. Does she like that? My vet recommends it because it is human quality. Doing as a treat a couple of times a day? Sounds hard... good luck.

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  6. Sounds like you tried everything I would have suggested. Good luck. I hope Abbey's endoscopy goes well, poor kitty.

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  7. I have been told that cerenia tastes terrible so Abbey may be reacting to that. You might want to try putting the pill in a small gelcap (#4 is what I use) and then use a pill popper (though I haven't had a lot of luck with using one). A little bit of butter on the gelcap helps it slide down easier too.

    I've also had medications compounded into treats or liquids. There are a number of compounding pharmacies available that can do this. Let me know if you want any info on them. ~Island Cat Mom

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  8. I put Miss Boo's pills and supplements into gel capsules. I use #3 capsules. I dab a touch of olive oil on capsule to help it go down and place into a piller. I then smash up a piece of freeze dried turkey. Wet tips of fingers and coat my finger tips with crushed freeze dried turkey so she tastes turkey as I'm opening her mouth. Shoot pill down and reward with small piece of freeze dried turkey. Boo is a trooper taking pills this way-- three in the a.m. and 3 in the p.m.

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  9. If at all possible, we get medication in liquid form and that way, we "usually" get most of it whomever needs it. We've never had luck with pill poppers and especially poor luck with pill pockets (too big plus cats who dislike treats of any kind). We have had mixed results with coating one's fingers with something good smelling (turkey or cheese) - Tessa and Sunny tend to bite good-smelling fingers and Quint and Olivia distrust good-smelling fingers (for reasons only they know). Good luck! We hope you find a way that works for you. Sending good thoughts and soft purrs to Abbey!

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  10. Some kitties sure do make pilling quite an experience, don't they? My angel Rosie was the exact same way. Because of Rosie, I learned to most often give medicines in liquid form. Of course, sometimes this is not possible, but I always go the liquid-in-a-syringe route when I can. That being said, my angel Rosie had to take cerenia on and off, and I would always crush it, mix it with just a bit of gravy from moist food, and then syringe it into her mouth. She always got at least most of the pill that way. Try to never give more than 0.5 mL of liquid by syringe at one time, and do less than that if possible. I would always suck up about 0.25 mL or less of gravy into a syringe, then mix that small amount with the crushed up pill, and then suck it back up into the syringe for administration. For long-term medications, you and your vet can also investigate the transdermal route, which would allow you to simply rub the medicine on the inside of the kitty's ear. Rosie took some medications that way as well. Purrs and prayers to you and Abbey!

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  11. I don't have any experience with pills, but it sounds like there are lots of good suggestions above. Good luck!

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  12. I think this is one of the "dogs are easier than cats" issues. I sure wish I had a good idea for you. Just to add a little humor to the situation, I've always said the best way to give a Siberian a pill is to "accidentally" knock it on the floor and yell, "DON'T EAT THAT!" It works better with some than with others ... right, Maggie?
    Good luck and I hope Abbey's endoscopy goes well.
    KZK (Cam and Mags' mom)

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  13. Toby doesn't like his pills. I put it in a bit of pill pocket and use my finger to shove it down his throat. This keeps the pill coated so it doesn't hurt his throat. Past that, I don't really have any advice, but I really feel your frustration.

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  14. We use something called Pill Paste in a bacon flavor. You can get it on Amazon. Some of our cats will pick it up and eat it themselves, others let us pop it in their mouth, and others still fight. But it has worked better than anything else we have ever tried. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Angel Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth, Calista Jo and Cooper Murphy

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