Q: My cat has just been diagnosed with a urinary tract infection and needs to take an antibiotic. My veterinarian sent me home with a small pill to give her twice daily for one week. I have never given her any medicine so how hard could it be, I thought. Well, it is very hard to give her this medicine! I think she has swallowed it and out it pops along with a ton of drool. This makes us both slimy and mad. Is there any trick to giving her this medicine?
There are many funny jokes about giving a cat a pill and the profuse bleeding and the loss of limbs that always follow; so I feel your pain.
I can and do cheat by enlisting my technicians to help me at the hospital. They make it look so easy. But in all honesty some cats, and dogs for that matter, are darn near impossible to medicate. Let's go over the technique here, and then I will give you other options to explore.
First, remember that cats usually weigh only 10 pounds, and we are certainly stronger physically and mentally. Use this information to your advantage. This will give you strength as you proceed. After you are mentally prepared, find the cat and give her a little treat to win her over and let her know this is going to be OK for her.
Place her on a table or counter with her tail and back end resting in the crook of your right elbow. This is a solid position to hold her in so she cannot back out of your arms. More treats can be given here.
Now remember to breathe and try not to squeeze too hard. Take your right hand and place your index finger and thumb on each side of her face at that area where her cheekbones would be. You will be coming from behind her head and covering her eyes a bit, which is OK. With your right hand holding her face, rotate her head upward toward the ceiling. This will automatically cause her mouth to drop open a tiny bit.
So far so good. Cat secure in arm. Nose to ceiling. Mouth open. No blood. Here is the good part. While holding the pill in your left hand, use one of the other fingers on your left hand to open her mouth a little more. It is critical at this point that you do not let go with your right hand even though it is hard for her to bite you in this position.