9539 Liberty Road, Frederick, MD 21701
Phone: 301-898-4009 ~ Fax: 240-668-3664
Gentle, complete veterinary care for the felines in your family
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How to Medicate Your Cat

Using a Pill Popper/ Hiding the Pill/ Crushing Pills into Food/ Compounded Medications /Traditional Method

There are a variety of methods to try when medicating your cat. Cats are finicky creatures anyways, and once you try to medicate them, they can become even more difficult to handle. Of course the most heard complaint from cat owners is: "Once he sees me coming and he knows he's going to get medicated, I'll never catch him!" It does take perseverance on your part, but making sure your pet finishes all prescribed medications is truly in his best interests. We have outlined four different methods below to help you.

Using a Pill Popper

We use what is called a pill syringe or pill popper that can be used to draw water up behind the pill (to help wash it down the cat's throat).
Draw up water into the syringe, place pill into the prehensile (gripper-like) claws, open cat's mouth and place syringe as far back as possible and empty the syringe.

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Hiding the Pill

Disguising the pill in a treat is another option of medicating your cat. We carry a very tasty, easy to use product that you can put a pill into called Pill Pockets. Pill Pockets are a small treat with an opening on one end to put pill into and then pinch closed. Most cats will eat the whole treat without knowing there is a pill inside. This product comes in salmon flavor or chicken flavor. You can also modify the Pill Pocket to make it tastier by rolling the soft treat in Fortiflora or Calming Care powder (made by Purina, available in small packets)

You might be able to hide the pill inside similarly textured foods like liverwurst, Spam, Cheez Whiz, soft cheese, peanut butter. These are all foods we don't recommend as treats on a regular basis, but a tiny bit to hide a pill is fine. Try them plain first to see if they'll accept it -if they like it plain, it usually works with the pill inside. As with the Pill Pocket, you can also roll whatever tasty bit you're going to offer in a tasty powder. It's a lot of trial-and-error, but most cats accept some form of this type of treat, and hopefully they will like it so much that they'll remind you when it's time for their pill.

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Crushing Pills into Food or Treats

Crushing Pills into Food or Treats Some tablets or capsules can be crushed and mixed into canned food for your cat to eat. There are two warnings to trying this method however: the cat may not actually eat all (or any!) of the medication or the medication may change the flavor or taste of the food and the cat may avoid the meal altogether. This is why we recommend mixing your cat's medication into a small amount of wet food first, once they have eaten all of it then offer them the rest of their meal.

Squeeze up by Hartz or tuna juice are a few other options that may allow you to crush up, and disguise your cat's medication in a tasty treat.

This one just depends on your cat's attention to detail when it comes to their food/treats!

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Compounded Medications

There are pharmacies that make what are called compounded medications which are the same type of medication, however in a different formulation.
    Transdermal Medications These are creams / gels that are put directly onto the cat's skin and absorbed into the system. These meds are rubbed onto the cat's inner ear flap (the hairless area) where it is the quickest absorption area. We advise wiping the ear clean of prior residue with a warm wet cotton ball to allow good absorption of the new dose. We also suggest alternating ears for each dose. Many types of medications now come in transdermal form and are very easy to apply. All transdermal medications must be applied while wearing gloves because if they are absorbable through cat's skin, they are through yours as well!

    Liquid Most medicines can be compounded into a liquid form. They can also be flavored: chicken, tuna and beef are the most common choices. The liquid medication can be drawn up in a syringe. Place the syringe in the corner of the cats mouth and slowly administer the dose. It can also be placed and mixed in food.

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Traditional Method

Giving your cat a pill can be very frustrating for both you and the cat. Having patience is critical. Depending on your cats disposition, we have found this method can work well. Sit with the cat up against your body, as you are sitting on the floor, and grasping his top jaw with your non-dominant hand. Place your thumb and and second finger (as shown) at the corners of the cat's mouth.

Tablet or capsule should be held in your dominant hand while you:

gently tip your cat's head back, pull top jaw towards your body and lower jaw away from your body. Grasp pill and drop it towards the back of the cat's throat and quickly close the mouth. Stroke the throat to encourage swallowing or gently blow in your cats nose, as this also induces swallowing. It is always a good idea to inject a little bit of water into the cats mouth to help wash down the pill.

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