or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Health › Pilling a difficult cat
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Pilling a difficult cat

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Let me just preface this by saying... I work at a vet clinic... I have pilled A LOT of cats!


But my own cat is THE WORST. laughing02.gif  He is on metronidazole right now for his recently diagnosed IBD. I think we have about 5 more days left of it, and he gets it twice a day. But I can never get the full dose into him because he's such a brat about it. Unfortunately metronidazole is a very bitter pill, so that makes the situation so complicated. As soon as the pill touches his tongue, he starts foaming at the mouth and trying to spit it out. It's hard to even get him to THAT point because he thrashes in every which way and fights me so hard when I open his mouth. Talk about a moving target.


I've tried minimal restraint. But he really needs to be well restrained for this.

I've wrapped him in a towel. Nope.

I've used a pill gun. He spit the pill right back out.

I mixed it in his wet food (after he spit the pill out and it was already crumbling and turning to powder) and he DID eat the food, but it took him an entire day to do it.... I know it ruined the taste of the food.

I dissolved it in water, sucked it up in a syringe and tried giving it that way. He immediately spit it all back out and fled the scene.


I have never had such a hard time pilling a cat before. Figures it would be my own pet that gives me such grief (guess it's better that way though, lol!).


Any other suggestions?! I feel like I've attempted it all! I'm used to medicating my dog, who eats pills like they're bacon. frusty.gif

post #2 of 17

Any chance of getting a formulating pharmacy to make it up with a sugar coating?

post #3 of 17
Does it just come in pill form? We had trouble pilling our cat with antibiotics and the vet gave him an injection instead. It cost us more, but saved us a lot of grief.
It sounds like you've gone through every option there. Have you tried Pill Pockets? They're expensive, but I've had success when pilling stranger's cats that I couldn't get close to. Especially if you wait until they're hungry.
post #4 of 17

You know they sell flavored gelcaps online, chicken, beef, bacon. It helps at least. They also sell these sort of blanket bags you put them in and zip up so they can't scratch you and fly around all over the place.

post #5 of 17

also have you tried Pill Pockets?

post #6 of 17

One of the nurses at my vets had a great technique with Drontal worm pills, which are large and probably bitter and make cats foam at the mouth.  She got the pill ready, along with a small syringe with water - no needle.  She picked the cat up by his scruff (he had already spat 2 or 3 out by then and bitten the vet) and gently leaned him back against her forearm.  His mouth opened, she pinged the pill in right to the back and followed up with the water.  Cat got a most disgusted look on his face as he knew he had been had, but the pill was down!

post #7 of 17
I feel for you. I had to put my Koko on meds for IBD a few weeks ago and she's getting 1 pill a day. I've never had to do this before, but it is taking 2 of us to pill her. I kneel down with her between my thighs, hold her arms back with one hand and put a firm scruff grip with the other. DH then pulls her mouth open and uses a pill gun to get it inside her mouth. If I don't scruff her, she flails her head from side to side and if I don't hold her arms, she reaches up and scratches us badly.

My normal technique is to get them between my thighs while kneeling, place one hand on the top of their head with fingers/thumb on opposite sides of their mouth to open up their mouth, then come at them with a pill gun from a angle so they don't see it coming. It's worked on every cat I've had thus far, until Koko.
post #8 of 17
My cat just finished a round of these.

My vet ordered something called "tiny tabs" for Xander


They are very small and easy to get down. He spit a few out, but usually if I did it right, I would open his mouth, toss the pill back, and he would swallow it without even realizing it. The best part? They didn't seem to taste awful like this med usually does. Even when it wouldn't go down and he would spit it out, he never foamed at the mouth or anything. You might look into these smile.gif

ETA: We were originally give this med in a chewable treat form but none of the cats would eat it or touch any food it was mixed in, so they must have tasted like metro usually does.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the suggestions!


I was able to be successful with the pill gun this morning. Wasn't easy!! Hopefully I can replicate the results lol.  I was hesitant to go the Pill Pocket route because I don't think he'd be fooled by it. I don't think he would even eat an empty one. Very suspicious cat... rightfully so, I guess. bigwink.gif


Just hope to God he never needs to be on long-term meds! If that were the case I probably would have to get it compounded in an easier form.

post #10 of 17

LOL... So glad you had good results clap.gif I've used both the pill gun and the pill pockets.  My older cat has to get the "pill shooter" when medication is involved.  Thankfully this is very seldom.  Liquids or capsule type meds I will put in the pill pocket and she will eat it.  Don't know why she won't eat the pills in them.  The other three will gobble down the Greenies Pill Pockets no matter what is inside of them woohoo.gif

post #11 of 17

I have famutidine (sp) compounded into liquid tuna flavor for those days that my Sven is wise to me.  Otherwise I am able to hide them in soft Temptations (squeezed flat and wrapped around the 1/4 Pepcid AC...apparently they are very bitter)  Even with the compounded stuff, I still have to mix that into his cat food to get him to take it. rolleyes.gif

post #12 of 17

I had a very bitter liquid to give once so the pharm mixed with with a fish flavored oil and even though there was no way she was going to let me give it to her straight, she was still hesitant and resisted slightly but accepted it without a fight.  Maybe you can find someone who can mix it with the flavored oil. 

This is just a thought "someone correct me if I'm wrong" but you could conceivably use the liquid from a can of tuna.  The oil kind not the water kind.  Possibly crush "make sure from your vet that you can crush it first" and mix it in this oil and feed it through a syringe.  Just a thought :) 

Good luck to you!

post #13 of 17
One thing that comes very handy in those situations is a cat bag... Highly recommend you getting one- I know it is too late for this time around... But with Ibd, chances are this is not going to be the last round...
Bugsy used to be the worst to pill... Once 3 techs at the vets could not do it... A cat bag and a pill popper was just the ticket for him. Today, after years of taking at least one pill a day, sometimes as many as three, he is so easy to pill... No more bags for him, but I do use a popper- one that shoots water with the pill.
I will never give metro on its own. I have #3 gell caps for my pills, and you can also wrap the pills on pill pockets- you don't give as a treat; instead, you wrap The pill in a little bit of it, making sure to completely cover them with it, and pill the kitty- put the pill all the way back on th throat... That will prevent the bitter metro from touching the mouth or throat. Also, following with a bit of water via syringe will help to swallow the pill right up, or alternatively, you can give him his favorite treat immediately after the pill.
Good luck!
post #14 of 17

I agree with Carolina about the cat bag. I interned at North Shore Animal league, and we had one really nasty cat.(You know the one that growls menacingly when the door opens...yeah-THAT one!) She was in iso, with URI, the poor girl had her nose coated in boogers, and her eyes were almost as bad. The only thing that worked was the cat bag, then the coming from above and behind the head to grab her upper jaw, and wedge it open with you fingers, and shove the pill in as far as you could before she got her wits about her and removed your finger skin. She was a very. scary. cat. Just getting her INTO the bag was a half hour ordeal. 


But without the bag, in just a towel...we would've been shredded. She was SO sick, and yet so strong and nasty. I am happy to say she recovered, and someone found that they loved her for who and what she was...I have no idea exactly what that was, but I can tell you-she scared the bejeezus out of me!

post #15 of 17

Clint was just recently on metronidazole along with Amoxicillin and also Proviable.  The Proviable he will eat sprinkled on his food but he hated the Amoxicillan and the metronidazole.  So I sprinkled and Proviable then put the metronidazole quarter and the Amoxicillin half in the halves of the gel cap left of from the Proviable.  Worked like a charm especially since the gel caps get slick when they get wet.  I plan to get some of the empty gel caps and keep them on hand from now on since when I tried to get some from a local pharmacist they looked at me like I was insane.


post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys! So far we've been kind of managing... there's just a lot of foam and spit to clean up afterwards. smile.gif


But he was taking his cerenia pretty decently and he's on metoclopramide now and so far that's went okay (plus it's a smaller pill which makes it easier). I'll be glad when the metronidazole is finished! We wouldn't be having such difficulties with this if it wasn't so awful tasting. It's a little late in the game now but I think I will start covering it in a little bit of yummy stuff.

post #17 of 17

Just for future consideration - we have a cat, Misty, who is unpillable.  In all my years of kitties, this one is one i truly can NOT pill.  Having two of us, wrapping her in a blanket or very large towel (she's a big girl!)..nothing works.  We have a local compounding pharmacy, and were lucky that the medication she needs daily for her hyperthyroidism, can be compounded.  I just apply to her upper ear (easy to do with an American Curl), and then reward her afterwards.  It's like we came to an agreement - I don't try to pill her or give her liquid meds my mouth, and she co-operates with a little ear massage medicine :)

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Health
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Health › Pilling a difficult cat