she’s onto us

Sasha’s been taking a series of pills for the last couple weeks in an attempt to combat the various things inhabiting her body. As soon as she started feeling better, her appetite was frankly hilarious – she would eat upwards of a can and a half of (very expensive, damnit) specialty food a day and STILL scream at us for more every time we went near the kitchen. She would even take her pills with hunger, because of these little things called Pill Pockets – a treat with a hole in it for you to drop the medicine into. Things were awesome. She was hungry, she loved the treats,  I didn’t have to struggle to get pills down her throat, and the vet was buying a new Ferrari every week.

Sasha’s appetite is finally slowing down, which means she isn’t eating everything in a 3 mile radius. Unfortunately, this is allowing her to be more picky with her food. She now KNOWS that there are pills inside the treats, and will do one of two annoying things: refuse the treat outright, or eat around the goddamn pill. She spits them out and looks at me as if to say “I know what you’re doing, and I will not play along”. Last night she would. not. take her medicine, and this morning – because I’m not running around trying to get to work on time; I have the day off – I tried to bribe her with her favourite treat: tuna. 1/4 can and 30 minutes later, the tuna plate is clean save for three little partially digested chunks – she spat them out. Fucker! I hand-fed her two of the pills wrapped in tuna, but the last one I had to bodily force into her mouth. I don’t think she’ll let me do that again – this is the cat that made the vets settle for less-than-ideal x-rays because she would not allow them to put her on her back. She’s like an angry old lady who hits people with a cane.

How the hell am I going to get all her medicine in her? She’s got at least two weeks of pills left, and I can’t spend half an hour each morning fighting with her. If she’s spitting out tuna, it’s going to take an act of frickin’ god to get those pills down. Any cat owners have any tricks for me short of heating the damn things up in a spoon and making her freebase them?



21 thoughts on “she’s onto us

  1. If it gets really bad, ask the vet if they can make it into a topical goo. Towards the end that was the only way we could administer meds to Trouble, and even so she pretty quickly figured out that the weird ear-goo was Evil and would start shredding anyone who reached for her ears.

  2. My mother relied on the cat’s fastidious grooming and would mix a pill with mayo or peanut butter and then smear it on his fur. Half an hour of obsessive grooming later, the cat had taken his medicine.

  3. In the past, i’ve taken the back of a spoon and plate and used it like a mortar and pestle to grind the pill to a powder. Then mixed it with some wet food. Makes it REALLY hard for them to eat around it.

  4. I’ve only had luck with taking the cat, forcing her mouth open by putting gentle pressure at the hinge of her jaw, tossing the pill as far back in her throat as I can, and then forcing her mouth closed and tilting her chin up until she swallows.

    It tends to work for a week or so, until the cat learns she can fake swallow and spits out the pill as soon as you walk away. It was the only way I could get the chemo pills in Elvira, because you can’t cut or crush those.

    I always sat on the floor with my legs out in a “V” to do this so she was backed up against my crotch and couldn’t use the reverse gear to get away.

  5. You can get these little plastic syringe type things that work pretty well. You put the pill in a little holder, stick the end in the cats mouth (as far back as you can) and depress the plunger and the pill goes down the throat. I usually rub the cat’s throat a bit to make them swallow before letting them go . Sometimes my cat’s will puke up the pill, but usually it stays in. The little plunger works well cause it keeps your fingers (relatively) out of harm’s way.

  6. I give Shebang prednisone every 2 days, and I do clamb’s method of crushing the pill and mixing it with wet food. Also dissolving it in a bit of hot water first seems to do a really good job too.

    I’ve done the squirting into the cat’s mouth with the dissolved meds too; you have to be careful which way you point the syringe or the cat may manage to block some of it with its tongue.

    The mixing-with-wet-food seems to be the only tried-and-true method for me. With the squirting syringe, the cat will *know* when you’re about to medicate her, and run away. They just know.

    Good luck with that.

    One last thing: I find the more the cat struggles against being fed the meds, the healthier they are. When a cat just lets me, that’s when I’m worried.

  7. When my cat Tex was sick and taking a ridiculous amount of pills every day, I used to wrap him in a towel, pull his head back and drop them in the back of his throat. When he figured out what “Mom’s pulling out the towel again” meant, I would sometimes crush them up, mix them in butter and then wipe the butter on his top lip. (Thus ensuring he *had* to lick it off. He was…not happy about that method, but it worked.) And when that finally failed (and he didn’t have the appetite to eat much of anything) I’d mix them up with his high-calorie wet food and feed that to him with a syringe. It was altogether a sucky and painful experience, for both of us.

    He was also a fan of the “I totally swallowed that” trick. I’d give him his meds, think he’d swallowed them, and let him go. Then a week later I’d find a little pile of half-dissolved pills in a corner somewhere.

  8. Hmmm… I know our dogs will eat pills with cheese. If that doesn’t work I just shove them down their throat. Guess maybe cats are different?

  9. The vet looked at us like we were weird when we asked for anti-biotics for Cat in banana-flavoured-goo-form. But I am smarter than the vet and I won’t even try to pill him, because it is doomed to failure. DOOOOOMED. At least with a syringe once you get it into the vicinity of the mouth you can squirt it and it pretty much ends up either on or in the cat. And as we all know, things ON the cat also end up eventually IN the cat. Usually.

  10. That technique Josh linked to is waaaaay too dangerous – fingers? in cats’ mouths? no way.

    Here’s what works even with psychotic cats your best friend has rescued from death row at the Humane Society who really should have been put down but you get to feed them and give them their pills when your best friend goes away for the weekend:

    1. With pill in right hand, approach cat from behind when it’s lying on the floor.

    2. Squat over cat and then sit on it as if you were riding a horse. Only, of course, not putting all your weight on the cat, although you can squeeze it a little with your inner thighs. Make sure cats front paws are facing straight ahead – a little pressure from your shoulders will keep them from swiping at you.

    3. Using left hand, squeeze jaw open from underside.

    4. Throw pill down throat with right hand.

  11. Is she on Tapazole? We often get it compounded into an ear gel for our feline patients. It’s more expensive than the pills, but some clients think it’s worth it not to struggle with their cats twice a day.

  12. Frodo takes his antidepressant pills every two days. He has been on them for years. I have to shove them down his throat and hold his mouth shut until he swallows them because he also eat around them no matter what I try to hide them in. He’s gotten even craftier now, and he will make it look like he’s swallowed his pill, but then he will go around the corner and spit it out for me to discover two days later. Cats. Thank god they don’t have thumbs.

  13. clamb = chris lamb?

    Anyways, I have mentioned before that my cat is on Prozac, and no I’m not kidding. It’s been a major improvement, and frankly probably saved his life. Don’t know why we didn’t do it sooner.

    Have your vet contact a compounding pharmacy. Spookie’s meds started as a fish flavoured liquid that went into a syringe, then down his throat. He’s pretty easy going, so the first month or so was okay then he got wise. Too wise. We have switched to a cream that is applied to the ear with your finger. The pharmacy even gives us finger condoms with the prescription. You can ask the cat – it’s easier for everyone involved. Word of the day?

    Compounding pharmacy. And cats are smarter than dogs.

  14. Awww Sasha!! If you can get one of those plastic syringes from the vet, crush up the pill in some lukewarm water & squirt it in her mouth- that worked for us with our kitty…. then right after the squirt we’d divert her attention with a treat so we were the good guys still!

  15. As someone for whom “brat” is 2/3 of my name (oh and I grew up with 3 cats), I offer this broad perspective:

    They don’t conceive any positive angle to having a random foreign object shoved into them. I can’t imagine why. Thus, whatever ritual is built into it (rounding them up, grabbing whatever paraphernalia is involved, even tone of voice) will become associated with the ultimate tossing of a pebble into their stomachs. It’s similar to what happens when you only take cats in the car when they are going to the vet: after a couple of those, good luck getting them back into the car peacefully again. So if you can associate as much of the whole ordeal as possible with something BESIDES throat-violation (no comment), then it can help make things easier.

    In short, I would consider occasionally doing everything you’d normally do to give them the meds, but give them something good instead. In theory, this should train them to think that there’s at least a chance something not-entirely-bad will occur at the end of the ordeal. Giving them a treat or something every time after the meds is a good idea as well, but at least if you can get most of the way there without them being 100% sure whether to expect good or evil (followed by good), it may help.

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