View Full Version : giving cats medicine

October 2nd, 2005, 10:44 PM
Does anyone have any advice to giving a cat pills. My cat is sick and needs to get medicine every morning and night. I tried putting it into a hot dog, but figured it out. I am not sure what else to do, right now I am using this pill thing and he hates it.

Moonlite Faery
October 2nd, 2005, 10:48 PM
There are several things you can try.
You can try to hold them and open their mouths and stick the pill down their throat (not fun)
The pet stores usually carry soft fish flavored treats that you can hide the pills in
crush the pill up and put it in their food
Hope some of these help!

Isil Darkmoon
October 3rd, 2005, 12:45 AM
You must master what we call the "kitty burrito."

Cats will NEVER grow to LIKE taking their meds, but this helps make it as painless for all parties as possible. And every cat I've ever known quickly learns to pick pills out of treats. Occasionally liquid can be mixed into food, but it almost always comes down to physically restraining them.

This sounds INCREDIBLY complicated--that's because I"m trying to describe it in as much detail as possible. Once you're used to doing the burrito, it takes about 30 seconds to complete and becomes mostly muscle memory. It also means that whatever task you're doing--medicating or trimming claws--takes about 30 seconds to a minute, total, instead of an easy 5 or 10.

I can trim the claws of all 3 of our cats in 5 minutes flat when burritoing and clipping. It takes nearly that long per cat without.

1) Pick a clean, dry, fullsized bath towel, as heavy as possible. Toss it over your shoulder and carry it with you.

2) Hunt down and pick up the cat. Now IMMEDIATELY sit cross-legged in the first open area you come to. Raise your knees slightly more than usual with your crossed ankles as the pivot point, so your lap forms a bit of a bowl.

3) Restrain the cat with your non-dominant hand (generally holding his scruff and pinning him to the ground works best) and take the towel in your other hand and drape it across your lap. The longer dimension should should span across your lap from knee to knee..

4) Grab the cat with both hands--under the armpits works best--and flip him into the 'hole' in your lap, so he is upside down with the back of his head/neck against your stomach.

5) Continue holding him under the armpits with your non-dominant hand, thumb under one arm, fingers under the other, with the "V" between thumb and your first finger, and your palm, across his chest to hold him in place. Poke that elbow out like a chicken wing, up and away from your body.

6) Grab the side of the towel that's on the knee that corresponds to your non-dominant hand. Pull it THROUGH the circle formed by your non-dominant hand and arm and pull it over the cat's chest and front paws. This will cover your own non-dominant hand, as well, and probably will not restrain his back feet due to that hand/arm pulling it up slightly. Do not move your non-dominant hand.

7) With your dominant hand, grab the bottom of the towel from between your knees and pull it up to as near the cat's chin as you can and hold it there. This will again cover your own non-dominant hand. Grab the first layer of towel in your dominant hand, as well, and hold both edges together.

8)As soon as this is done and his hind legs are restrained from kicking, release the cat's chest and pull your non-dominant hand out from under the towel. Make sure the cat's legs are folded all the way to his body. THe position is the same as if the cat was crouching on the floor--complete contact between the towel and foot from the paw pad to the ankle. Tighten up the second fold (your knee to his chin) with the non-dominant hand.

9) Grab the cat again with your non-dominant hand. Form the same "V" with your thumb and first finger as you did previously, but this time grasp him just above the front legs, where your dominant hand is holding the towel shut, intead of below his armpits. You want to apply a gentle pressure to his shoulder joints that will force him to flatten his arms out along the length of his body, and also keep the two current towel folds tight enough he cannot squirm his head or paws through the "neckhole" of the bundle.

10) Remove your dominant hand. Tighten up both current folds. Then fold the third side (still draped over your dominant hand's knee) over the cat and your own non-dominant hand. Grab the new edge and the other edges your non-dominant hand is still holding, and hold them together tightly at the cat's neck.

11) Release the towel in your non-dominant hand and tighten all three folds so the towel is a nice, tight bundle. Tuck in any trailing corners or edges as best you can so the cat is completely cocooned except for his head. Support the bottom of the bundle with your non-dominant hand and push it upwards as you use your dominant hand (still holding the neck) to guide the back of the cat's head and shoulders to lie flat against the collarbone of your non-dominant arm. The animal should be diagonal across your chest, from collarbone/shoulder to your stomach.

12) Uncross your legs and rock back slightly on your tailbone. Place your feet flat on the floor. Your knees should form an inverted "V" with your feet and buttocks as the point. Keep pulling your knees closer in to your body until your thighs meet your non-dominant hand at the bottom of the bundle. Your legs are going to stay in this position for the rest of the process. They are going to be supporting most of the cat's weight and make sure he can't rabbit-kick his way out of the towel (Remember that his legs are folded completely against his body. If he can't get ANY leg extension, leverage, he can't kick. If he gets just a little, he can try.)

13) Still holding the neck with your dominant hand, remove your non-dominant hand shift the full weight of the bundle to your thighs. Rest your non-dominant elbow on that leg's thigh and reach up and across the cat's body to grab the wrap around the cat's neck in the same "V" grip you've been using. You should have all 3 layers pulled firmly around the upper chest/neck so the cat can't squirm inside the towel or snake a front paw out--you may want to curl your first and second fingers inside the towel layers and use your third and pinky fingers to finish the "V" across the other arm.

14) Do what you need to do.

a) If you need to give the cat liquid or a pill, simply approach his mouth with the object (use a pill gun or dropper!). As he tries to pull his head back and away, it'll meet with your non-dominant shoulder and he doesn't have much of anywhere to go. Most cats will open their mouths to growl at the thing when they can't get away from it--the rest will open their mouths when you try to force it between their teeth. There's no need to pry the mouth open this way, which can hurt the cat or lead to you being bitten.

b) If you need to trim claws, use your dominant hand to pull one front leg out at a time. The paw pad can then gently be squeezed between the non-dominant thumb and the curled first and second finger. This both holds the paw in place, and extends the toes in such a way that the claws automatically extend and are easy to clip. Replace the paw with your dominant hand and do the other front paw. Hind legs are a little tricker, but can be pulled out one at a time as well. You'll need to let go of the "V" around the neck, and keeping your nondominant forearm in place across the cat, pivot your wrist down to hold the foot in your non-dominant hand, and squeeze the pad to extend the claws.

15) Lean forward towards your knees, slowly lowering them to the ground. Release the bundle from your non-dominant hand. The cat will burst out of it, but if he catches any part of your body he'll scratch your thighs while jumping, instead of shredding arms, hands, or your face. It's the position he can do the least damage to you in while escaping.

October 3rd, 2005, 12:57 AM
Ah yes the kittie burrito. You speak a great truth my freind. I also have a thingy the vet gave me. It is some kind of tool that you put the pill on and the open cats mouth insert thingy and release pill. I like the burrito method much better. For claw trims my son comes over we do the burrito and I trim he holds.


October 3rd, 2005, 01:01 AM
my biggest problem is actually he is very mad at me. He is usually very affectionate, and now ignores me and won't even sleep with me. I am hoping to find a way to give him medicine with out him knowing it

Isil Darkmoon
October 3rd, 2005, 01:07 AM
my biggest problem is actually he is very mad at me. He is usually very affectionate, and now ignores me and won't even sleep with me. I am hoping to find a way to give him medicine with out him knowing it

Unfortunately, that probably won't happen. Although, the more quickly you can get hte job done, generally, the less irritated the cats get. If it's just a quick "in, out, done" most tolerate it better than a long, protracted fight.

Offering him a treat he really loves immediately after he's medicated, every time, helps a bit. Mine, at least, take it as a peace offering of sorts and hold grudges for an hour or two instead of days now that they know they'll get something extra-special afterwards.

Also be sure to seek him out and spend extra time with him, just petting him, the rest of the day. Sometimes cats get nervous when it feels like you only come looking for them at pilltime, so every time they get near you, they're afriad they'll get the ickies again. If you make it clear that, aside from the times you have to pill, you still wan to spend good time with them and be with them, most of them relax and don't feel the need to be on guard and afraid of being near you day in and day out until the meds stop.

October 3rd, 2005, 06:22 AM
Isil, we have to do the Burrito for my one cat too. She goes to the vet for shots on Wed, and I am already dreading the "Chase me under the sofa b/c I see you with the cat carrier"
You did an excellent job with the instructions. :p

And I second the treat afterwards. Every time.

Isil Darkmoon
October 3rd, 2005, 06:39 AM
Isil, we have to do the Burrito for my one cat too. She goes to the vet for shots on Wed, and I am already dreading the "Chase me under the sofa b/c I see you with the cat carrier"
You did an excellent job with the instructions. :p

And I second the treat afterwards. Every time.

Yeah... MCC was just laughing his butt off about the instructions... he walked through the room while I was typing them up, and I kept pantomiming it, with no towel nor cat, to make sure I got every step and explained it clearly, since I"ve done it so many years it's just second nature, I wanted to make sure anyone could follow the steps. He just gave me this LOOK and asked me what in hell I was doing. I explained I was trying to write up the infamous Kitty Burrito but thought I'd left something out so I was trying to walk through it.... he just about lost it laughing >_<

October 4th, 2005, 01:09 AM
i also do the kitty burrito only with out the towel. one thing that i find helps with the cats upsetness at you is to tell him why he is getting his meds or what ever else you need to do to him. he will still be mad but he will get over it quicker. (some cats are not that forgiving though)

October 4th, 2005, 09:23 AM
Animals get so wise to the whole med thing so quikly, that it is not easy...
our vet said the easiest way, is to tilt the cas head to the ceiling..drop the pill in,, and then use a light touch/ tap on the nose, while the head is still tilted up...makes them swallow..

of course..over a period of days..I am sure they are not going to be agreeable to that either:)

October 4th, 2005, 09:35 AM
ISIL! Pouncity :)

Isil hit it on the head. The kitty burrito is about the best way to go. Didn't see it, but I've heard of smearing butter on the cat's nose. After you insert the pill, they'll lick the nose and you know it's gone then.

Unfortunately when pilling a cat, you're going to have one upset kitty for the duration. Sometimes they forgive you when you pull out treats later, sometimes they don't.