Helpful Tips for Giving Your Cat a Pill
If your kitty has been diagnosed with an acute or chronic condition that requires medication in the form of a pill, you might be dreading the idea of giving your cat his medicine every day. After all, pilling a cat is not an easy to thing to do, and it can be really stressful on the pet as well as the owner. For example, you might be worried about your cat choking, spitting out the pill and refusing to swallow it, or even biting or scratching you to get away.
Thankfully, there are ways to make giving your cat a pill easier, so check out the tips below to see if you can implement a new tactic that will make both you and your kitty less tense whenever it is time to medicate.
Follow Up the “Dry Swallow” Method with Food
The “dry swallow” method is when you place a pill into the back of your pet’s mouth, close his jaw, rub his neck, and encourage him to swallow. You can place the pill in his mouth with a plastic syringe, also known as a “pill gun,” or with your fingers, but the result is the same.
As you can imagine, this could be pretty uncomfortable for your cat, just as it would be if you swallowed a pill without any water to chase it down. Also, certain medications could be more irritating to the delicate esophagus.
A good way to help make the “dry swallow” method easier on your cat is by simply following up the administration of the pill with a treat, some wet food, or even a bit of tuna juice, meat broth, or water given safely and gently with a syringe or in a bowl.
Taking these extra steps will ensure your kitty has swallowed the medicine, and they also reduce the risk of choking and other problems that may occur if the pill were to become stuck within the esophagus.
Mask the Pill
There are several pet products on the market that are designed to mask a pill and make it a lot easier to administer your cat’s medication.
A good example is Greenies Pill Pockets. You simply place a pill into the pouch of a Pill Pocket, close it up, and shape it to make it easy for cat to consume as a treat or as a part of his meal. Placing the Pill Pocket on some wet food, for example, could easily mask the fact that your cat is taking his medication, as all he’ll taste is his food and the Pill Pocket product.
If you don’t want to use a pill masking product, or your cat doesn’t like the flavor of those products, you can instead try hiding the pill in a bit of your cat’s food so that he doesn’t notice it and so that the flavor of the medication will be masked by the flavor of the wet food instead.
Some pet experts even recommend using products like Laxatone or Nutri-Cal, as these can coat a pill and make it easier to swallow. If your cat likes the flavor of these products, it could also make the process of being medicated less stressful for both of you.
Finally, if you have no luck with any of these suggestions, you can always talk to your veterinarian about the potential for getting your cat’s medication in a liquid form instead.
Medicating your cat doesn’t have to be a nightmare. With a few simple tricks, you could make the process painless, and your cat may not even be aware that he’s getting the medicine that he needs to be well.
Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.
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