If you have a cat at home, you probably already know that they can be incredibly stubborn! This can make giving them medicine a serious challenge. Since you can’t explain to your cat why the medicine is so important, you may need to get creative to ensure they get the proper dose.
Here are some tips to make medicating your furry friend a little bit easier.
Why do cats need liquid medicine?
Liquid medication is used to treat a number of different health conditions in cats. It’s often used instead of a pill because it’s easier for the cat to swallow. Some medications are given in liquids because pills are prone to getting stuck in your cat’s gullet, causing problems.
Other medications are given in liquids because it’s considered easier- many cats are more cooperative with liquid medications than with solid ones.
Always talk to your vet first.
When the vet prescribes a medication for your cat, go over it with them in detail and discuss potential strategies to get your cat to take the medication. Every cat is different and presents their own unique challenges, so your vet can give you their personal recommendations to make the process a little smoother.
If you’re having ongoing problems giving your cat medication, you should never hesitate to call your vet.
They may have tips to help you, or there may be an alternative medication to consider, such as an injection or a cream- your vet can’t offer you these if they don’t know you’re struggling!
Can I mix liquid medication into food?
You might also consider mixing the medicine into your cat’s food. However, there are some potential pitfalls with this approach.
The first is that this may not be appropriate for the type of medication you are giving. You should always check with your vet before mixing medications with food, in case this will prevent the medication from working.
The second is that your cat may be able to smell or taste the medicine in the food and may not want to eat it. To combat this, use the smelliest food you can find. Try not to use their normal diet, especially if your cat is feeling unwell, as cats may refuse a food in future if they associate with being sick.
Another problem is that a sick cat might not have much appetite, and therefore not get the full dose of their medicine. If you do mix liquid mediation with food, use the smallest amount you can disguise it with to avoid this problem.
How should I administer the medicine?
There are a few different ways to give your cat liquid medicine. If your cat is relaxed, they may even be willing to lick the medicine off the end of the syringe, especially if it’s tasty. If not, you may need to follow our tips below.
Remember, cats can lash out and scratch or bite if they are stressed. If you think your cat might bite, take a step back and decide whether to give your cat a break, or call the vet and discuss other options.
Approach your cat from behind.
Cats don’t like being picked up from the front! This can make them feel threatened and lead them to be more aggressive. Instead, approach them from behind and gently secure them before attempting to give them the medicine.
You may want to consider using a soft blanket to do this, as it can help your kitty feel more comfortable. If your cat is particularly squirmy, you may also be more successful asking a friend to help.
You can have one person secure the cat and the other one give them the medication.
Keep a calm demeanor.
Your cat is very attuned to your behavior, so you need to be very conscious of how you’re acting when you give your cat their medicine. If you are loud or tense, your cat might also start to tense up. Instead, speak to your cat in a calm, soothing voice, gently reassuring them that they are safe.
Gently tilt your cat’s head.
Never try to force your cat’s mouth open or put your fingers in their mouth. This will irritate your cat and could lead to a bite. Instead, use one hand to hold the top of your cat’s head and slowly tilt it upward.
If your cat doesn’t open their mouth straight away, apply a little pressure either side of their mouth as you tip the head back. This will lead them to naturally open their mouth. Then, you can use the syringe to shoot the medication into the back of your cat’s throat. This is typically the easiest way to give your cat their medication efficiently.
Then allow your cat to relax.
This is an important step. Try tilting your head back as far as it can go and swallowing- it’s hard, right? Once the medication is in your cat’s mouth, allow your cat to relax their head to a natural swallowing position.
If you need to give them more medications or the second half of a dose, don’t let go entirely- but do let them relax to make swallowing easier.
Always end on a high
It may seem pointless giving a treat after giving medication, but think of it like a peace offering. Really, you’re trying to make the experience as nice for your cat as possible.
While giving your cat medication can be challenging, it will get easier with practice! It’s important to make sure your cat gets the full dose of their medication so they can heal quickly. If you’re struggling, reach out to your vet- they’d rather talk through the options with you than find you gave up giving a course of treatment!