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Help Getting Cat to take Medicine

August 8th, 2006, 11:04 PM
I have to give my cat Billy metronidazole twice a day for a month and then potentially every day for the rest of his life. The vet gave it to me in liquid form and it is administered orally with a syringe. Given that pill form is the only other alternative, this is much easier. However, I am still having trouble getting Billy to take his medicine, so would love any suggestions or advice! The first few times, it went very smoothly. However, he's now learned to run when he sees me coming with the syringe. He's been hiding under the bed, behind the washing machine, or on top of the kitchen cupboards...all in places he knows that I can't easily reach him! So it takes me a long time to catch him and then he fights me the entire time I'm trying to hold him with one hand and get the syringe into his mouth with the other. If I don't physically hold him, but just try to "pin" him down, he manages to escape. But by holding him, I can't hold his head as well and he will turn his head back and forth and struggle and paw me, which in turn gets Petey, my dog, all riled up, so then he'll start barking and running around us in circles, getting Billy even more worked up... It's quite the ordeal! I'm sure we make a rather comic picture, but it's also getting to be frustrating. I was 10 minutes late for work today because it took so long to get the mediicine into him and then when I finally did, he just spat it right back out again!
I tried hiding the syringe and just picking him up and petting him and then carrying him over to the syringe. That worked once, but not anymore. He seems to have a canny knack for knowing when it's medicine time. I swear that cat is too smart for his own good sometimes! He lets me pick him up no problem other times, but as soon as it's medicine time (it has to be given the same time every day), off he goes!
Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated! :) Thanks!

August 8th, 2006, 11:38 PM
get some wet food and put a bit in the bowl and then hide the medicine in there. Cat should eat it and not realize there's a pill in there

August 8th, 2006, 11:58 PM
I'm sorry, I should have been more clear in my first post! Sorry about that! To clarify, the medicine is in liquid form. We are treating for possible IBD, still waiting for the final test results. He is on strict diet and can ONLY eat the special prescription cat food Z/N. He will not eat soft/wet food, so the Z/N is in the form of dry. I can't pour the liquid onto the dry food as his not eating very much is essentially the reason for the medicine in the first place. He eats a few bites here and there at most each day, so really, using the syringe is the only option I can think of?? I just got home from work and gave him his second dose for the day. This time he immediately spit it all back out at me. I guess I'll have to call the vet back tomorrow and see if she has any ideas or suggestions as at this rate, he's not getting his medicine like he's supposed to! :(
Thank you anyway for the suggestion though; I appreciate it!

August 9th, 2006, 09:14 AM
is there any special treat your cat does like? for example, my 2 cats go bonkers when I open a can of tuna. You could try giving your cat some tuna chunks, then administer the meds, then MORE tuna. reward-reward-reward....

or could you possibly mix the liquid meds into some tuna juice? my cats LOVE to lick/drink the tuna juice. (I only give tuna packed in water)

ETA: sorry, just noticed your kitty is on a strict diet. but perhaps JUST the tuna-water would be ok?

August 9th, 2006, 09:41 AM
I agree that giving it with food is probably the easiest way, but if he doesn't eat canned then you've got a problem. My guys love canned salmon and I find that if I have to give them meds, either pill or liquid, I open the can first and let them smell it. They get so excited that they're about to get some fish that they barely flinch when I give them the meds. Other than that, I would check with the vet to see if there is an easier way. Personally, I find pills to be much easier to give than liquids because the liquid is much easier for them to spit back out. If a pill is popped in their mouth at the back of their throat most times they will swallow it.

August 9th, 2006, 02:33 PM
Personally, I find pills to be much easier to give than liquids because the liquid is much easier for them to spit back out. If a pill is popped in their mouth at the back of their throat most times they will swallow it.

I agree. Pills are alot easier to give than the liquid form. :thumbs up :cat:

August 9th, 2006, 03:14 PM
Though you wouldn't know it from my most recent posts, I'd take a pill over syringe anyday. Tuna works wonders :evil: least it did with Pawz lol :D


P.S. as far as the syringe goes....I have no clue....

August 9th, 2006, 03:38 PM
Thank you all so much for the advice! I always thought pill form would be harder, so that's good to hear! Thank you!
I just called the vet and we can try a couple of things. The liquid medicine can be chicken flavored or we can try the pill form. I'm going to try the pill form first since it sounds like it's easier. I hope so! The vet said they have something called "pill pockets" that she's had good sucess with as well. It's basically some kind of tiny little treat that you put the pill inside of, but somehow designed so they can't eat around it. Sounds like it's a tiny capsule type thing that has to be eaten/swallowed whole? Not quite sure I understood her description, lol. But anyway, I'll pick up the pill form and the pill pockets tomorrow and see how it goes. He's not supposed to have any treats of any kind or any tuna or anything else like that, but she said the pill pocket is better than not getting the medicine at all. She didn't recommend I give him even tuna water, but if the pills don't work, I think I'll give that a try next anyway, with the chicken flavored liquid. I think it would be the lesser evil and better than not getting the medicine into his system at all.

Thanks again for all your help! :)

August 9th, 2006, 04:04 PM
Knowing how cats are so hard to medicate, I think they should have given you the chicken flavoured liquid to start with. Good luck with the pills and keep us posted. :fingerscr :cat:

August 10th, 2006, 06:07 PM
We got Billy's diagnosis today and now everything has changed. We're now stopping the other medicine and giving him prednisone and cyproheptadine instead. The Prednisone is in pill form and has to be given once a day and the other is liquid and has to be given twice a day with a syringe. So now poor Billy has to deal with both! The good news out of all this is that his strict diet has now been lifted and he can have anything and everything, whatever he'll eat, so that will hopefully help with getting him to take his medicine.
The liquid is just an appetite stimulant, but I've never used this before. Does anyone know if that can be poured on food or mixed with tuna water as others suggested? I have no idea if he'd take it that way, but I'll try anything since I have to find some way to make this work! I'm going to pick up the pill pockets from my regular vet tomorrow to try with the pills. I didn't make it there today as I was at the specialist vets all day. (See other thread--Old kitty losing appetite). I hope this isn't a double post, I'm so sorry if it is!
Hopefully the liquid can be added to food and the pill pockets will work for the pill form. This new liquid doesn't have flavor options, so I have no idea what flavor it is or how pungent it is. Guess I'll find out tonight when I give it a try! If anyone has any other suggestions for either liquid or pills, I'd love to hear them! Thanks!

August 10th, 2006, 09:17 PM
Medicating kitties can be a real cats HATE getting pills!

We have a foolproof method for medicating Daisy, but it takes two people. We pick her up and one of us wraps her TIGHTLY in a towel or blanket, with her arms pressed up against her body inside the towel. We wrap her like a baby or a buritto, so she can't move. One of us holds her VERY tightly and securely and she can't move, and her arms are inside the "burrito" of blankets, so she can't reach out with them. Then the other person can approach her, talk gently, and open her mouth to insert the pill or liquid.

It's not easy or fun, but it works.

I can't put her medicine in food...she knows. It's really weird. Those pill pockets sound like a great idea! As far as the chicken-flavored liquid, Daisy hated that anyway; pills were easier.

You may also want to ask if the medicine comes in a form that can be rubbed into the inside of his ears. Fitzy takes his allergy medicine this way, when he needs it. You just rub the cream on the inside of his ears! It's very cool. It costs significantly more, but it's very easy, and he doesn't mind it at all.

Good luck...I hope your kitty is feeling better. :fingerscr

August 11th, 2006, 10:29 AM
As others have recommended, I have had good success recently with my cat by giving her treats immediately after the syringe-administered medication. She hated the syringe for several days, but she is so food oriented, that once she understood she'd get treats after, I swear she would remind me it was time for her medication!

August 11th, 2006, 12:31 PM
Poor Billy. :sad: I feel so sorry for you both. :grouphug:

How's the medicating going? Is he eating anything yet?

August 11th, 2006, 05:14 PM
I didn't get home from work last night until 1am, but I did stop at the grocery store and pick up a few different cans of tuna and salmon. (I'm trying anything at this point, lol!) He seems to really enjoy the oily tuna (my vet recommended the oilier the water, the better for taste). So last night he lapped that right up. I was testing him for taste, so didn't add the appetite stimulant to it the first time. He seemed to love it though, but when I tried to give it to him again today, he turned up his nose and ignored it. I'll try it again tonight. He seems to have more of an appetite at night for some reason. I picked up the pill pockets from my regular vet on my way into work today, so I'll give those a try when I get home tonight as well. She told me that she can get the appetite stimulant in pill form too, so if the pill pockets work, I'll do that instead. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed! :fingerscr

So for last night and today, I just used the syringe and held his mouth closed and stroked his throat for the pill. But it was horrible. He fought me and kept getting away and hiding. It took a good 30 minutes last night and another 40 minutes this morning, so I am really hoping I can find a way to hide the medicine in food or this is going to be a nightmare as he has to take the medicine 3x per day for the rest of his life. So I'll do some experimenting with different foods this weekend and hope for the best!

MissPurryJess, I had to laugh at the image of a "burrito-wrapped cat!" That was great! What a unique idea! Unfortunately, it's just me at home though. Atlhough at this point, if the food doesn't work, I'm tempted to give it a try anyway! :)

Kristen--that is a good idea as well, to use it a means of reward. Not sure if that will work in Billy's situation as part of the immediate problem is that he is not eating much, but you never know! Thank you!

Rainbow, thanks again for your thoughts; I really appreciate it! :grouphug:

August 11th, 2006, 09:16 PM
MissPurryJess, I had to laugh at the image of a "burrito-wrapped cat!" That was great! What a unique idea! Unfortunately, it's just me at home though. Atlhough at this point, if the food doesn't work, I'm tempted to give it a try anyway!

It can be done. :D My hubby works out of town and I always do the "burrito-wrap" when I have to pill one of my cats. But, I don't stroke their throat, I softly rub their nose, I read that it works better.

I was testing him for taste, so didn't add the appetite stimulant to it the first time. He seemed to love it though, but when I tried to give it to him again today, he turned up his nose and ignored it.

Did you put the appetite stimulant in it the second time? Trying to hide meds in food has never worked for me and I've thrown more food out and wasted lots of medication. :mad: I've always used the "burrito-wrap" method as that way I'm sure my cats get their medication. :D

But different things work for different cats. We're keeping our fingers and paws crossed for you and Billy. :fingerscr :pawprint: :fingerscr :pawprint:

Keep us posted. :cat:

August 11th, 2006, 09:39 PM
I just used the syringe and held his mouth closed and stroked his throat for the pill.

We had to give Puss-Puss :rip: a pill morning and evening for several years because she was hyperthyroid. We would pop it towards the back of her throat and scratch her under the throat while gently holding her mouth up. At the same time, we would gently blow across her nose and she'd swallow. Then we fed her immediately after. She came to associate the pill with getting fed and would come to us for the pill and meow for it.

August 12th, 2006, 01:08 AM
Yay!!!! The pill pockets worked GREAT tonight!!!! I'm afraid to get my hopes up too much until I try it a few more times and make sure it keeps on working, but tonight it worked beautifully! I am so so happy!!! They're small treats, but still big enough that it looked impossible for him to eat in one bite. I was sure he would nibble at it and spit the pill right out. But wow, he gobbled that thing right down, pill and all! So cool! I watched him for a while and checked his mouth, but no pill hidden anywhere. :thumbs up

The frustrating news is that he still will not eat very much. I did get him to eat a few bites of the Chicken Pot Pie flavored Merrick tonight (Thanks Prin!!!!), so it's better than nothing. He loved the tuna last night, but wouldn't eat it this morning or tonight, go figure. I never added the appetite stimulant to it yet either. But now that the pill pockets seem to be a success, I'll go back to the vet and get the appetite stimulant in pill form instead. Since he'll have to eat three pill pocket treats every day, I'm going to need more of those as well, lol!
But I'm just happy to find a solution for his medicine!! Yay! :) Thanks again so much to everyone for all your help!!! Tonight, instead of taking 30 minutes and major stress for us both, he happily gobbled down his pills in 30 seconds! LOL! What a difference! :)


August 13th, 2006, 03:41 PM
Sorry, just a quick update to say, the pill pockets are AWESOME! I can't believe how fast and easy they are! And for a cat who has never been treat motivated, I am just shocked that he'll actually gobble the things down, pill and all. :thumbs up

So if anyone else has trouble getting their cat to take medicine, I'd highly recommend giving them a try! Huge thanks to you ALL for your advice and support! Thank you!!

August 13th, 2006, 04:45 PM
Thanks for the recommendation Steph. Has Billy's appetite improved any? :fingerscr :cat:

August 14th, 2006, 12:47 PM
Hi Rainbow, thanks for asking! The appetite stimulant seems to be helping a little. He isn't eating that much more, but he's definitely at least eating now! I am picking up the appetite stimulant in pill form on my way into work today though since I now know the pill pockets work for Billy. He spits out the liquid form, so I haven't gotten much of it down. So I'm hoping that with the pill form and more of it getting into his system will help to better increase his appetite. But the last few days have been more hopeful, that's for sure! Thanks! :)

August 14th, 2006, 02:59 PM
I LOVE good updates!!! Thanks for keeping us posted! I hope things continue to improve for your kitty! :thumbs up

August 14th, 2006, 03:03 PM
I saw your article, and wanted to share my experience with you. I have 2 baby Bengal girls, they are just now 5 months. They are so gorgeous but so finicky. Anyways, one developed an upper respritory infection and passed it to the other. The vet gave me Clavamox. IT WAS A BATTLE!! They are so fast and their little teeth and claws are so sharp, I was getting tore up twice a day. It got to the point where I would wait till they were asleep then sneak up behind them, and get them when they yawned. Needless to say we quickly became enemies. They'd run even when I just wanted to pet them. But alas after a couple tries I found something that worked. Baby food!!! I got a little jar of chicken gravy, usually used to top their dinner, but this time put a heaping tablespoon on a plate, and another spoonful on the another plate. I squirted the drops right on it and stirred them up with a coffee stirrer. I sat it down and they lapped it right up! Every drop! In fact they race each other trying to finish their's and get the other one's. So now not only do they take their meds cheerfully, they love me for giving them little pools of gravy twice a day. Anyways for anyone looking for how to give a cat liquid medicine the above is the ticket! I hope this helps.

August 14th, 2006, 03:57 PM
Setotitan, make sure the chicken gravy doesn't have any onion in it. :cat:

Steph, I love good updates too. Keep us posted.

:fingerscr :fingerscr :fingerscr for Billy.

August 14th, 2006, 04:04 PM
Setotitan, that is so funny you should mention baby food!!! When I picked up the pills at the vet today, I asked her for more food ideas, and she suggested the same thing! She said to try meat baby foods, like the chicken gravy you mentioned, and to mix it with his dry cat food. That has been a big success for them with finicky cats as well. So good to know it has worked for you as well! And what a great suggestion for liquid meds, thank you! :)

And Rainbow and Jessi, thank you so much!! :grouphug:


August 16th, 2006, 11:26 AM
Setotitan, make sure the chicken gravy doesn't have any onion in it. :cat:

Steph, I love good updates too. Keep us posted.

:fingerscr :fingerscr :fingerscr for Billy.

hey rainbow, whats wrong with onions? i've never heard anything before.

August 16th, 2006, 08:59 PM
They are toxic to cats and dogs:

August 16th, 2006, 09:05 PM
I never knew that about onions either until Rainbow mentioned it to me a few days ago. Scary! VERY good to know!

Pill pockets are still going strong! Been taking three a day no problem, in fact he's now begging for them as soon as I walk in the door after work. :) And the appetite stimulant seems to be doing a great job as well! I bought baby food, but now haven't even needed to try it yet. Yay! I think it's just a matter of trial and error to find what works best for each individual cat. :cat: