Giving medication to a cat can be terrifying. The claws, the teeth…most cat-owners have at least a scar or two because their feline friends didn’t cooperate.
If you’ve thought to yourself, “There has to be an easier way,” well, here’s some good news:
So, while you’re nursing the latest claw wounds on your arm, take a look at some of these tips and see which ones work for you:
1. Get them used to the motion
Training young cats to let you open and manipulate their mouths can pay dividends down the road. To get a cat used to the pilling motion, wait until they’re in a comfortable situation (like relaxing on your lap) and gently open their jaw with your thumb and middle-finger. Place a treat—like turkey meat—right in their mouth. Training your kitten to associate the pilling motion with positive results will make it much easier to feed them actual pills.
2. Find a cat with a good appetite.
Some cats are such voracious eaters that they won’t even notice a pill in their food. If this is the case, make sure the pill is bite size so they don’t have to chew it; chewing a pill may release a bad taste when the outer seal is broken.
3. Hide the pill in a treat.
Hiding pills in treats is one of the most common ways to administer medication, but it requires some preparation. To start, make sure that your cat likes the treat you’re giving them. When hiding the pill, use one hand to put it in the treat, and the other hand to seal the treat; this will prevent your cat from smelling the medication on the outside of the food.
It’s also important to randomize the number of treats you give your cat. If the first or second snack always contains the pill, your kitty will learn when the medication is coming and refuse to play along.
4. Follow-up with a positive experience.
Following up with something your cat enjoys, like playtime or petting, will cement a positive association with the pilling process.
Any cat, no matter the age, can be taught to take pills. Patience is key; by progressing slowly and providing consistent positive reinforcement, your companion will relax and learn quicker than if you try to change their behavior all at once.