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Even the friendliest, most easygoing cat can put up a fight when it’s time to take a pill. But it’s your job to make sure she takes the medicine she needs. The good news: You can employ a few tricks—and offer some treats—to get the job done. Read on for a step-by-step guide.
If you know your cat doesn’t like swallowing pills, you can ask your veterinarian if the medicine can be compounded, or changed into a powder or liquid to make it easier to administer. But that’s not always possible. If the medicine must be given in pill or capsule form, you may need to experiment with different methods before finding one that works for you and your pet.
When your veterinarian prescribes a medication, it’s important that you use only that medication, and that you treat your cat for the full length of time prescribed, even if your pet seems to have overcome the health problem. If you have any questions about how to administer the medicine, you can ask your veterinarian to demonstrate how to do it.
The easiest way to get your cat to take a pill or capsule is to hide it in a treat or in her food. But cats are smart, and if they don’t like the taste or texture of the medicine, many will eat the treat or food and leave the pill behind. Another problem with this method: If you hide the pill in food, it may be hard to tell whether your cat has taken the pill on time—or at all—if she grazes throughout the day. To work around this, you can buy cat treats designed to hide pills. But before you give your cat medicine with her food, ask your veterinarian if it’s OK, since some medicines can’t be given with treats or food. You should also find out if there are any restrictions on what your cat can eat while taking the medicine.
If you want to give your cat the pill without hiding it in food, try the following technique, which many people find to be more reliable:
When using this technique, be aware of your cat’s mood. If he or she gets agitated and seems likely to bite, stop and try again later or contact your veterinarian.
It’s often a good idea to have another person keep your cat still while you administer the medicine. But you can do it alone if there’s no one to assist you.
This article has been reviewed by a Veterinarian.
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