Even with both my mom and me on the case, we never had any luck giving medicine to our cats -- until last month, when a substitute vet gave us a good clear lesson in how to do it. We thought
we'd been following the prescribed procedure, but we were off on a couple of important points. Here's what we learned, in case it's helpful:First of all,
liquid is much, much easier than pills. But if you have
to use pills, a "piller" is definitely the way to go! The trick with a piller is to coat the pill with something that's slippery enough to make it difficult for the cat to spit out, but not so slippery that it slides right out of the piller before you're ready. So far, cream cheese seems to work best for us -- the "light" whipped kind, rather than the more dense regular version. Canned kitty food would probably work too, but as a vegetarian, I consider it icky. Point two is positioning.
Since I'm right-handed and not very agile, I have to get the loaded piller (or syringe) in my right hand and wait until the kitty is sitting on something that's about counter-height and facing more or less to my right. Then, talking sweetly to him the whole time, I slip up as if to give him a snuggle (oh, I'm devious!)
, wrap my left arm around him with my hand around his chest, and hold him firmly against my left side. I try to keep my elbow low enough to thwart the kitty's efforts to backpedal.The third part is what's hard:
without easing the pressure that's holding the kitty between my left arm and my side, I have to let go of his chest and quickly wrap my hand behind his head with the thumb and middle finger on opposite sides of his jaw -- not at the corners of his mouth, as I used to think, but farther back, where the actual hinge is (it helps to surreptitiously locate these spots sometime when you're just petting your kitty).Fourth step:
I slide my fingers just a little forward and up, which pulls the kitty's head back at an alarming angle -- it's scary to do, but the vet assured me it doesn't hurt the kitty, and that seems to be true. This either allows the kitty's mouth to fall open or at least makes it hard for him to keep it shut, and that's when I slip the piller (or syringe) into the side of his mouth at an angle toward the back of his throat... and hit the plunger.All of the above has to happen in about two seconds.
It's a very good idea to practice the moves with a stuffed toy until you can do it all in one quick motion.Final step
is to drop the piller and use my right hand to brush quickly upward along the kitty's throat, closing his mouth (gently, so as not to make him bite his tongue), and then hold my thumb under his chin and my fingers up above his eyes to keep his mouth closed for several seconds. During those seconds, I blow into his face, rub his nose with mine, and whisper what a good kitty he is while watching for a swallow. Just to make sure, I'll stroke his throat a few times before I let him go, and that pretty well ensures a swallow.
The kitty usually skedaddles as soon as I release him, but I try to give him a little affection first if he lets me... and I make sure to pour a little fresh water (because the sound attracts him) and give him some treats or a bit of warm milk-replacer right afterward.
Very important: you can't give up. Once the kitty learns that resistance sometimes works, he will always resist... so you have
to win every time. And conversely, once the kitty recognizes that you're never going to let him escape without taking his medicine, he'll be more cooperative.
Our Dylan resigned himself in just a few days, and oddly enough, he and I became closer during the time he spent on antibiotics than we've ever been before.
I hope this extremely detailed description is useful to somebody! It surely is a relief when you finally get a handle on how to administer medicine to your babies.