Administering Medications to Cats

Administering medications to cats is a process that just about every pet owner will have master at some point in his feline’s life. Depending on the condition, you will have to administer medications either orally, topically or intravenously. Intravenously medications are typically administered to cats with advanced illnesses such as diabetes. You should administer intravenous medications under a veterinarian’s care and direction. 

Administering Oral Medications to Cats

Oral medications for cats are prescribed in pill, paste, liquid, tablet or capsule form. Pills are by far the toughest medications to administer for several reasons. Cats are finicky. Many medications are unpleasant to cats’ sensitive palettes so they will do whatever it takes to elude an attempt to pop a pill into the mouth. If this doesn’t work, most pet owners think it will be easy to simply crush the pill and sprinkle it over the cat’s food. True, the act is simple, but getting your cat to consume food laced with medications is a daunting task. Anything that alters the taste or texture of the cat’s food will be detected immediately and the cat will likely avoid his dish until the food has been completely removed and the dish has been cleaned.

So how can you administer oral medication to your cat? The best way to ensure that your cat consumes all of the prescribed medication is to place the pills, tablets, etc., in his mouth yourself. Cats are very smart and they can sense when something is amiss. Do not let on that you are about to give the cat medication. If at all possible, keep the medication on your person and wait until the cat is distracted while playing with a toy. Alternatively, you can create the scene whenever you are ready. Make sure the cat cannot escape or hide under anything because he will try if the environment allows.

  1. While your cat is playing, try to pet him and make him comfortable.
  2. Once your cat is comfortable and purring, simply scoop him up into your lap. If you continue to pet his head or even brush his back, this should keep him from becoming agitated.
  3. Apply enough pressure on the cats back to keep him from running and gently massage the sides of his mouth until it pops open.
  4. Place the medication inside of his mouth and then hold it closed, gently. Wait a minute or two and massage the sides of his mouth again. The mouth will pop open. Check inside to make sure the medication is gone.

Do not get discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time. It takes practice, but believe it or not, you will be pro in no time.

Administering Topical Medications to Cats

Topical medications such as lotions and drops are much easier to administer than administering medication in pill and liquid form. You can coax your cat in the same way, and use a little pressure (or wrap him in a towel) to keep him from squirming while you are applying ointment, ear drops, or eye drops. Your cat will shake his head, lick his fur, and shake his paws in an attempt to remove the medication from wherever it has been applied. If your cat manages to remove a large amount of medication in this manner, please reapply the discarded amount. The best way to manage this process is to monitor your cat for a few minutes immediately after administering the medication.