By Langley Cornwell
My neighbor has a cat with asthma. She travels for work, and when she’s gone I cat-sit for her. The cat is generally easy to care for but recently she needed oral meds and I had to give her a pill every day. We have a cat but fortunately our little guy has never had to take a pill so I had absolutely no experience in this area. I consulted a few cat-loving friends and got loads of good advice.
One friend used to give her cat a daily thyroid pill. She was able to hide the pill inside a tiny bit of something the cat liked, such as cream cheese, butter, turkey, or a bite of FELIDAE wet cat food. She would cover the pill with the ‘good stuff’ and roll it into a bite-sized ball. The cat looked forward to this and would gulp the whole thing down. My friend doesn’t know if her cat knew the pill was in there or not. Maybe she knew but just didn’t care because the ‘treat’ was so good. Whatever the case, this method worked well and she never had the stress of worrying about how to get her cat to take a pill. This probably works best with very small pills. The asthma pills for my neighbor’s cat were a bit large but it was worth a try.
No luck. It didn’t matter what I wrapped the pill in, that cat would devour the delicious outer coating and spit out the whole pill. My neighbor laughed at me via text; she had warned me that the ‘hide the pill’ method was going to be unsuccessful but I needed to prove it to myself because the alternative seemed so difficult.
If you’ve ever had to give a cat a pill, you already know how hard it is. Maybe I’m wrong here but I think even the most seasoned cat-people would rather not have to do it the manual way. In fact, Animal Planet says cats enjoy taking a pill as well as they enjoy taking a bubble bath – and I honestly think giving my neighbor’s cat a bath would have been easier.
Here’s a combination of what the experts at Animal Planet recommend and what worked for me:
Have the pill within arm’s reach before you even think about starting the process. Some people recommend lubricating the pill with butter to make it easier to swallow.
Confine your cat to one room; preferably a room the cat is familiar with. Equip the room with the pill and a blanket or large towel. Check to see if the pill can be taken with food. If so, have a high-value treat like FELIDAE TidNips on hand.