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Giving Your Cat Medicine

Updated on February 28, 2015
We Ain't Taking No Medicine
We Ain't Taking No Medicine

Meow, Nice Kitty

If you have a cat that not feeling well, possibly throwing up, or perhaps a tummy ache, you tend to start worrying that you may have a sick cat on your hands. More times than not, your first thought is probably going to be a call to your veterinarian for some much needed advice. My veterinarian made this amazing recommendation, that was quite impressive and in the end worked wonders for my sick cats.

He suggested I give each of my cats two cc's (that would be less than a teaspoon) of Pepto Bismol. Simple you say! Ha! Well simple as pie if your cats are super laid back or heavily sedated. I simply believed this was going to be just a simple task of making my cat swallow a teaspoon of medicine, so they would feel better. But I could see from the very beginning, my precious, good natured cats were not going to cooperate even in the slightest bit.

The floor ended up puddled in a gooey pink mess. I hadn't realized slipping a half teaspoonful of liquid could be so terrifying and messy. After a little help, make that a lot of help, from my mother who preferred to remain a great distance from my seriously unsettled cats. Needless to say, my agitated cats received their much needed Pepto Bismol.

So in essence, I have seriously learned that using a teaspoon to give my cat medicine is not exactly the brightest idea. I now have a syringe in my little cat kit of goodies. I failed to ask my vet the proper way to give medicine to a cat, thinking it was just going to be a simple task. So perhaps my experience can guide you if you are new to giving your cat medicine. This is in no way to be viewed as medical advice, just simply my experience giving medication to my cats.

Cia the big guy
Cia the big guy
Wild child Ethel
Wild child Ethel

My First recommendation:

If your cat has claws, do NOT do this by yourself, unless you like the sight of blood. It is always a good idea to have well trimmed claws on your cat.

You may be asking yourself the very rational question I asked myself after it was all said and done. Why didn't I just use an eye dropper or a syringe to the cats the medicine? Better yet, why didn't I just hide the Pepto Bismol in my cat's food or water? Well, first I didn't have an eye dropper or even a syringe. And eye dropper sounds like a silly word. Eye dropper. Okay, sorry I am crabby today, but eye dropper still sounds like a silly word.

My veterinarian said I could give it to my cats straight up, instead of in their food. Yeah that sounds simple enough to me. It's on the house. Don’t forget the ice. Straight up. I have found over the years that cats do NOT like getting medicine under any circumstance. It was late in the evening and I just wanted to make sure my cats got some medicine, so they would feel better.

The drug store was closed, and finding an eye dropper or syringe in a one horse town was not going to happen. Putting medicine in the cat food was questionable as well. My cats suspect that sneaky little trick, or they aren't really hungry, so they sniff and snub the whole " I know you put something I don't want in there" idea. I am obviously owned like many cat owners are.

My now deceased cat Cia, was 20 years old and very docile and laid back, as of June 2014, yet obviously he was way beyond set in his way. He was not so keen on getting his medicine straight up. I was quite amazed to find out he had that kind of defiance in him. My precious Ethel (who has since passed as well) went all deranged and hissed like a wild banshee, I think she actually put a hit out on me. Cia who was a little less neurotic than Ethel, just lightly bit into me, got it over with, plan and simple. "I am just fine, it's just a little blood." I said when my Mom chimes in, " it was a lot more than a little blood."

I just wanted to make the cats stop puking all over my apartment, and make them feel better. To be on the safe side I wouldn't recommend giving your cat any kind of medicine unless your veterinarian approves. Who knew giving two older cats a few drops of Pepto Bismo was going to be like brawling with a four year old who was just hi-jacked of all of his Halloween candy.

My Second Recommendation:

Next time use an eyedropper or a syringe as the video suggests. End of story


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    • crazybeanrider profile image

      Boo McCourt 2 years ago from Washington MI

      Absolutely Jeff. It has been a learning experience for me. All the years I had a cat I never had to administer medication. Now I have a cat that requires dosing and she is a bugger. Fights the dropper every step of the way. Mixing the medication with water in a syringe is a great tip as well. I did that with the last round of medication. It probably leaves a less bitter taste for the kitty as well. Live and learn. Thank you for the tips.

    • profile image

      Jeff M Adams 2 years ago

      Wrapping the cat in a towel with their claws safely tucked within - like a swaddling blanket on a baby - makes it easier to administer liquid medicine with a standard pet syringe. ...and I crush ALL medications up and mix them with water when dosing any pet. MUCH easier.

    • crazybeanrider profile image

      Boo McCourt 4 years ago from Washington MI

      Yes it is amazing a cat knows when medicine is about to be administered. They know their food has been "touched" as well. My 19 year old Cia is the worst. You would think he would be used to such things by now. Trial and error is the key.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      Giving a cat medicine is definitely tricky...and sometimes dangerous! My cats are never fooled by medicine mixed in their food..HAH! They won't go near it, even if it's tuna juice. My newest addition, a 10 month old kitten can fight like a tiger and spit like a camel if she sees the pill-popper approaching. I sympathize with you trying to medicate your kitty by yourself!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 7 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Thanks, crazybeanrider! I'm glad I was able to provide some tidbit.

      Glad you liked the blog. I'm behind--it needs updating Hee hee. The 2 kitties in the header photo are Tigger (the big orange boy) and Patches (the epileptic one.) I need a new header that shows all 4 kitties, with Munchkin and Jigsaw added. (Not that they are new additions--Jiggy, the youngest, has been with us 3 years, Munchkin 6. Just hard to get all 4 in one photo. LOL)

    • crazybeanrider profile image

      Boo McCourt 7 years ago from Washington MI

      Hey DzyMsLizzy, Thanks for the great advice. I am glad I don't have to give medicine often. Because Ethel my emotionally high strung cat would chew me to pieces. Unfortunately my precious Sully)the one laying down) is no longer with me. I like the idea of a pill gun. That takes all the fear out of giving medicine to the cat, who isn't exactly happy bout taking meds. Your blog is awesome, those cats are pretty.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 7 years ago from Oakley, CA

      I know the feeling. You might enjoy my tongue-in-cheek blog article on the matter:

      I have a cat with epilepsy, and she has to be medicated 3 times a day. Luckily, she's been on this routine for the better part of her 11 years, so she's (a) used to it and (b) the meds take some of the edge off the usual "catitude" that can be expected.

      HOWever..I have found two things that work reasonably well. First, trim claws! This is imperative!

      Next, come up behind the cat, place your feet heels-together, toes out, and sit the cat down into the space between. This prevents a rearward escape.

      Use one hand to cover the top of the cat's head and eyes, and use the thumb and middle or fore-finger of that same hand to reach down and pry open the jaw.

      QUICKLY use the other hand with the dropper to insert the meds near the rear of the mouth.

      Let go all at once--the cat will take off and most likely hide instead of seeking immediate revenge.

      If it is a pill, ask the vet for a "piller" or "pill gun." It works very much like a hypo syringe, except the tip is rubber, split in half to hold the pill, and instead of being hollow to hold liquid, there is a plastic plunger that ejects the pill, keeping your fingers safely away from sharp teeth.

      Best wishes, and I hope your kitties feel better, and you found a band-aid! ;-)