I cried every single day over tablet time last week - numerous times. I have also called the vet feeling completely useless at 1am...numerous times. Anyone that has ever had to give a cat a tablet before knows how difficult it is. Usually the first time goes okay-ish. But it's pretty much downhill from there on out. Forcing Arthur to take a tablet when he was already so very ill, made me feel cruel and guilty. He would shake and cry, and in all honesty I would shake and cry. Not only was I running on little to no sleep, everything is magnified at 1am. When the world is silent and you've spent the previous hour trying to coax your cat into taking a pill it all gets a bit too much.
There are stages to this.
First is hopefulness because this time it is going to work. It'll be a second and then we can both waddle off to bed in a serene silence of happy wellness. HA.
Second comes a proactive problem solving genius you had no idea exists within you. You bundle the cat up and try again.
Third time lucky and you're wrapping the pill in the yummiest thing known to cats.
Fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth are trials of various yummiest things known to cats, including but not limited to; chicken, tuna, cat food, cat treats, dog food, cheese, cream cheese and erm... mashed pumpkin. Anything at this point goes.
Ninth and tenth you try out different locations to get the cat to eat the food + tablet. On the dining room table, on the kitchen side, how about the sofa?! Not only does this not work, you will end up with a cat who only wants to eat at the dining room table. I know this from experience. We're currently trying to break the habit, but cat hunger strike is a very real thing.
So, after two hours of trying, and being sat on the cold tile floor, with a cat hiding under the sofa I called the vet.
What most people would do is hold the cat tight but gently. Open it's mouth, pop the pill in, close it's mouth and rub it's throat until it swallows. This does work sometimes... However I couldn't do this with Arthur. The illness that he has means he can't be stressed in any way possible. If he does get stressed it will cause his body to create crystals in his bladder. These crystals which obstruct his urinal passage and he'll need surgery, again.
When the vet handed me 5 tablets and 2 medicines I looked up at her and said "you're joking right?" Vets are amazing people, whom I owe so much to, but seriously, have they ever had a cat?!
The vet answered the phone, sounding rather groggy. I apologised profusely and told her I was Arthur's mum. (Should I have said owner?!) I gave her the low down on what was going on. She told me to leave Arthur be for the night in case he was too stressed out from all the trying. She told me to give him the three most important tablets the next day.
The next morning I began to think about how to do this. Hiding it wasn't going to work, he's very intelligent and a tablet finding ninja. So I decided to try something else. Crushing the tablets into his food hadn't worked, he'd tasted it and ran away not wanting to eat for the rest of the day. So I crushed the tablets that were absolute paramount. One was a capsule, so I opened that up and emptied the powder out. I then mixed the powdered substance with some cat food juice from one of the tins of cat food.
If you try this, don't use too much juice. As little as possible but make sure it's still a thick liquid. This works better than using water as it doesn't squirt when you administer it. Squirting, I have found, scares cats and gives you another scratch on the arm.
Once you have a well mixed liquid, use a syringe to suck it all up. Turn the syringe upside down and flick it to make the air bubbles rise to the top. Push any air out. Now it's time to get the cat. I sit on the floor with my knees underneath me but spread about hip width apart and my big toes touching. This way the cat can't escape by reversing.
Hold the cat gently by the scruff of its neck. If you have nails, make sure you don't dig them in! The cat's mouth will be open a little. You want to squeeze the tablet liquid into his mouth via the gap between it's teeth at the side of it's mouth. Don't squirt it directly in from the front, or directly into the back of it's throat. You run the risk of it going into the cat's lungs. Unfortunately you have to squeeze it onto it's tongue and it will swallow it.
Warning: Kitty is not going to be happy about this. But it is the only method I have found to work every single time, which is quick and efficient.
Above all, remember that you're doing this for your cat's wellbeing. You're trying to make them better. If you are unsure about anything, please do contact your vet. I am not a vet. I am sharing this advice in the hopes that it could help anyone who is on the verge of a cat medication melt down.
I also wanted to share this image that I found on Pinterest with you. If you have cats, this will make you giggle until you cry.
Wishing you all the luck in the world on your cat medication journey. If you have any tips of your own, please do share below!
Please pin this if you found this post helpful to help other cat parents in need!