Cats are notoriously difficult to medicate. Unlike their less discerning canine counterparts, cats are sophisticated and discreet about what they eat. You typically can’t hide a pill in a meatball or a piece of cheese and expect a cat to wolf it down on command. That just ain’t happenin’.
There are several ways around the
unpleasant task of directly pilling the cat.
1.Although most cats won’t eat a pill hidden in food, there are
a few fish fanatics who will indeed scarf
down a pill that is camouflaged in the
center of a chunk of tuna. This often
works for a while, until the cat expertly
learns to eat the tuna and leave a spotless pill behind.
2.Pre-packaged soft cat treats with a hole cut in the center
are available, designed specifically for
administering pills or capsules. Drop the
medication into the hole, then pinch the
treat closed. Some cats love the treats
and will scarf them down — until that
day when they bite right into the center
and taste the medication. Trust me, they
will forever look at these treats with disgust, and they will never eat another one
again. You’re back to square one.
3.Crushing the pill into a fine powder and mixing it into their
wet food sometimes works; however, if
the cat decides to only eat 60 percent
of her food that day, then she’s only
gotten 60 percent of her medication
dose. I often tell my clients to mix the
powdered medication into a teaspoon
of something very palatable (baby food
usually works like a charm) and, once
they see that the entire dose has been
administered, the rest of her breakfast (or
dinner) can be given.
This may or may not work. Cats are
finicky about their food, and what is
caviar to a cat on Monday may become
Brussels sprouts on Tuesday. Many pills
are bitter, and trying to mask a bitter
powder with tuna or sardines often
misses the mark. Rather than make the
medicine taste better, it only makes the
food taste worse.
Clients often ask if they can crush the
pill into a powder, and then mix it with
a little milk or water and syringe it into
the cat’s mouth. In theory, this sounds
promising but, again, many medications
are bitter, and milk or tuna juice is not
enough to mask it.
There’s no way around it: At some
point in your cat’s life, she is likely
going to need to be administered some
pills. Here’s the method I prefer (The
description below assumes that you’re
right-handed. If you’re left-handed, sub-
stitute the word “left” for “right”):
1.Put your cat on a stable, flat surface, like a table or desk.
Ideally, you’ll have someone else to help
Cat Like a
THE VET IS IN
MInD & BoDY
By arnold plotnick, d.v.m.
continued on page 72
Dr. Arnold Plotnick is the
founder of Manhattan Cat
Specialists, a feline-exclu-
sive veterinary practice on
Manhattan’s upper west
side. He is also an author
of The Original Cat Fancy Cat Bible. Dr.
Plotnick is a frequent contributor to feline
publications and websites, including his
own blog, Cat Man Do. He lives in new
York City with his cats, Mittens and Glitter.
There is no shortage of videos online that
show you what I’ve just described. These
two illustrate the pilling technique nicely:
of course, they manage to find the
most cooperative and well-behaved
cats for these videos, so don’t feel like
a failure if things don’t go as smoothly.
As with everything in life, the more
you practice, the more proficient