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Cats, meds, and stress

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
The bottom line: Can anyone suggest ways to decrease the stress of administering meds?

The background: Poor Ziv has a weepy eye. We tried to treat it with eye drops for a while, but last week the discharge changed from clear to dark and his eyelid was a little puffy and red, so we took him to our vet (who I really like, btw).

Anyway, the vet prescribed oral antiobiotics (pills) 2 times per day and eye ointment in both eyes 4 times per day for 2 weeks--but we weren't sure if this was going to work. It's been about a week, and though the color in the discharge has gone away, Ziv still looks very uncomfortable (he squints a lot) and his eye is still tearing.

Here's the problem: When we had to give Ziv antibiotics for a URI when we first got them, he took the pills almost happily. I guess they tasted ok. But the pills he has now obviously taste bad to him. He also was ok with the eye drops originally, but the eye ointment makes him uncomfortable. Now, he won't let me or my boyfriend pet him more than once or twice before he takes off--seemingly in fear that we're going to force some more meds on him. He just seems a little stressed out in general by us (though he plays with the other cats pretty well).

If I knew that these meds were going to completely cure his eye, I think I would just grin and bear it, but though there's been some improvement, it doesn't seem like enough at this point. I'm going to see if it's possible to exchange the rest of the pills for a liquid antiobiotic, but other than that, I don't know what to do. Ziv is the least cuddly of our three cats, but he still (used to) like being petted for longer periods.

Ziv was pretty stoic at first, but I think he just can't tolerate any more. One thought I had is to not pet him when we give him his meds--just do it gently but firmly--so that he doesn't associate petting with getting the meds. We try to administer them when he seems most relaxed, but that's not always possible because of how frequently he needs to get them. We've tried putting the pill inside a moist treat, which worked for a bit, but now he eats around it--and he's even starting to refuse his favorite treats! This morning he bit my boyfriend when he tried to give him the pill (not hard, no broken skin, he was just trying to get away). Any advice or similar stories would be helpful.
post #2 of 5
While your cat is getting meds, it has been my experience that petting them and going to them to comfort them is a no-win situation. Every time you move towards your cat at the moment, Ziv is thinking in the back of this mind..."Uh oh..." and wanting nothing to do with you. This will pass after the meds are done.

There are pharmacies that will make pastes you can rub into your cat's ear or skin to absorb the meds, but not all meds can be done that way, and from what I understand, it is a bit spendy.

There is this site here:


And there are tricks- first of all for pills, get a pill gun from your vet. It allows you to shoot the medication quickly down the throat, so the pills don't even get their mouth wet.

You can use vanilla extract before pilling, put a small dab around the Ziv's nose to mask the smell of the pill, then shoot the pill into his mouth.

Spray Cheese in a can. Periodically through the day give him a tiny bit of spray cheese. When you do, there is a way to do it. Put a small amount on your finger, and I mean a small amount. Allow him to sniff it by raising your finger slightly over his nose, so he has to arch his neck to follow it. When his head is up and his neck extended, give him the cheese, then pet him one time. Then do it again... During the times he is supposed to have his pill on the second trip, tuck the pill into the cheese. He should take it right down.

Work with him while he is elevated on something, not on the floor. I use the washing machine. On the floor, cats feel vulnerable and that is when they are attacked-

Good luck!
post #3 of 5
Also, you could get some empty capsules from a health food store or compounding pharmacy. If the pill tastes particularly bitter, that will hide the taste from the kitty.
post #4 of 5
We just discovered the joys of a compounding pharmacy. We just ordered PetChews for 2 different cats on meds. They put the medicine in what is basically a cat treat. A bit more expensive, but so much easier for all of us.

Our vet also said that The Medicine Shoppe can do flavored liquids like mentioned above. Might be a lilttle less expensive than the PetChews

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everyone. I got a "pet piller" (or pill gun) from my vet yesterday, and this morning I put Ziv on the couch next to me to administer the meds. Although Ziv still didn't like me opening his mouth, the piller helped so much. It was quick, I didn't have to try to "throw" the pill to the back of his throat, and he look like he was trying to lick the taste out of his mouth afterwards. Hooray!

Our vet has an outside compounding service that would make the antibiotics into liquid, too, but since we only have a few more days left on the pills (and because the price for the piller was less), I decided to go with that instead. It's good, though, to know about all these options for the future.

By the way, Ziv did let me pet him when I first got home from work yesterday--his routine, when either bf or I come in to the house, is to plop down and stretch, indicating that it's time for his belly rub. So, though he hasn't been super cuddly, we got that bonding time in. Also, he and Chesty had a great high-energy play session last night, so I'm confident that he's starting to feel better.
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