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How To Pill A Cat
Some Tried and True Methods Are Still Pertinent Today
If you've ever had to give your cat a pill, you know that it takes forever to see the tip of the cat’s tongue; the telltale sign that the pill has been swallowed. If you're like most folks, you think that's the end of it. Well, I’m here to give you the rest of the story.
Now this goes back to the turn of the century…did you ever believe you’d be talking about the turn of the century like it was 12 years ago?...anyway, back then researchers at the University of Florida studied what happens after the cat swallows the pill (which often happens at the end of a long, painful battle, right?). Using fluoroscopy, they determined that if the pill entered the stomach within 30 seconds that was normal.
If it took longer than 30 seconds, the interval was considered "prolonged." And if the pill was still in the throat after 4 minutes, it was considered "entrapped." In 53 per cent of the tests, the pill became entrapped.
In each of those cases the cat was then given a small amount of food, which carried the pill into the stomach. So as a result of that research, one can assume it’s a good idea to give your cat a snack right after you give it a pill.
Unless, of course, the medication is to be given on an empty stomach. Check with your vet.
By the way, here’s a little tip for the next time you have to pill your cat and it turns out to be a test of wills: First, bring in Seal Team 6…a little pet humor, there…first, lubricate the pill with a tiny dab of butter or margarine, then pry the cat’s mouth open with your thumb and forefinger on either side of its jaws. Next place the pill as far back on the tongue as you can, and hold the mouth closed while you stroke the cat’s throat with the fingertips of your other hand.
There’s a reflex that causes the cat to stick the tip of its tongue out when it swallows the pill.
When you see that, it’s probably OK to give the cat a snack so the pill won’t become “entrapped,” (unless it’s supposed to be given on an empty stomach).
You might want to watch her for a few seconds just in case she does spit the pill out.
It’s been known to happen a time or two.
Or, you can just try Greenies Pill Pockets.
They worked beautifully with my cat, but I’ve had customers tell me that it didn’t with theirs.
Some said the cat (or dog) ate the Pill Pocket and spit out the pill. It didn't seem to happen too often, though.
If your cat (or dog) has a wheat intolerance, look for the Pill Pockets Allergy Formula, which is made without wheat, and available for both species.
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Also from the early part of the 21st century, The National Companion Animal Study, which was a joint effort of Hills Pet Nutrition and the University of Minnesota vet school.
No small undertaking, the study involved over 31 thousand dogs and over 15 thousand cats.
It determined that only 7 per cent of dogs examined by vets were given a clean bill of health.
Dental disease, skin conditions, fleas and ear infections were the most common ills.
Cats fared better. 9.7 per cent were given clean bills of health.
The most common problems? Dental disease, fleas and ear mites.
Maintaining that hourglass figure was a problem, too, with 28 to 30 per cent of dogs and cats found to be overweight, the study revealed.
But, as the saying goes, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."
Around Y2K, the pet supply industry noticed that pet owners had become much more conscious of their pets’ weight, and brought products to market to address that trend. Yet pet obesity continues to be a problem and those overweight numbers are just as valid today as they were back then.
More recent numbers that I've seen claim that around 25 per cent to 41 per cent of dogs and cats are considered overweight with 5 per cent to 7 per cent obese to morbidly obese.
Those are the animals more prone to arthritis, diabetes and heart disease.