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Service Cats: Medicating Kitty: Training Kitty to Open Wide

WooHoo It’s Monday!!! Hmmmph Nopawdy ever says that, do they? The truth is, me isn’t either. Me hates this clock changin’ thingy. Do you know we didn’t get brekky today till almost 10 am? That’s right, 10 am. T’ween the cold, cuz yeah, that’s back; and the time change, mommy’s body is all wonky. Come to think ‘bout it, so is RaenaBelle’s. Kittens, That girl is a mystery. Anyways, you all didn’t come here today to hear me meow ‘bout the weather and the time change and how our posty is really late and we still don’t have a special graphic. It’s Service Cat Monday, and time fur a trainin’ posty. Ifin you have any trainin’ questions or questions in general, or topics you’d like to see us cover, purrlease leave them in the comments section or send us an email.

 

 Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

We’ve got a topic today that everypawdy will benefit from. We get asked from time to time, how mommy medicates us. Cuz as you all know, we don’t like things added to our food. It’s not a casual dislike, it’s a won’t go near the plate and refuse to eat furever dislike. But as anyone who’s ever had an anipal knows, at some point and time, you will have to give said anipal some kind of medicine or supplement. As with all our Trainin’ posts, the followin’ will be written in human English fur reader and translation ease. And ifin you’ve missed any posts in the series, purrlease click on the links at the bottom of this posty. Our training posts are not intended to be a step by step manual but rather tips, tricks and techniques mommy has used/developed thru her many years of training animals, cats in purrticular. Remember, Training is all about Repetition and Rewards. Okay, the business is done, let’s get to it.

 

 Raena posing in her harness on the small cat perch

 

Medicating a cat is always a chore. Most cat owners hate the thought of it. You want to do what’s best for your beloved furry purrer, but you’d sooner cut your arm off than try to give them a pill. And let me tell you, if there’s an animal that has mastered the “fake out”, it’s a cat. Just when you think you’ve successfully got that horse sized pill down us, we go over to the middle of the floor corner and hack it back up, completely in tact me might add. Mommy is always complaining about feline medicine and how most of the treatments today are based around what works for dogs. Now, we don’t mean any offense to our doggy friends, but there’s no denying we are a completely different species with different needs and personalities.

 

 Raena with her eyes almost closed, looks up from plate of food.

Did you put medicine in mine’s food?

 

While there are some kitties who will eat their favorite foods with medicine mixed in, there are far more that won’t. So, cat parents have to become mad scientists’ and conjure up ways to get kitty his/her medicine. We know this, because it’s one of the most searched and talked about topics in cat forums and the internet. Mommy says it’s obviously easier to start training a kitten, but no matter the age, any kitty can be trained to open wide and gladly accept even the nastiest of medicines. Mommy doesn’t recommend paying the extra money to get kitty’s meds flavored with fish oils or malt. When done correctly, medicating kitty will be over and done with before they ever taste it.

 

 Pill Pusher or Pill popper

Let’s take a look at some of the tools you will need. First up is the magic Pill Push (mommy’s word for it). At approximately 6 inches in length, your fingers are safe. These tools are also called pill guns, pill dispensers, pill poppers and just pillers. They are extremely effective when used correctly and affordable. You can buy a good pill push for as little as a dollar. Mommy loves a good pill pusher and we’ve had the same one for over 20 years. To use the pill push, you would load the pill in the small rubber piece at the tip of the tool and hold kitty’s head back, insert pill pusher as far into kitty’s mouth as is safely possible (should rest at the opening of the throat) and push the depressor end. Immediately close kitty’s mouth and hold it closed while rubbing kitty’s neck in the direction of the belly. A couple of rubs is all that’s necessary. Always follow with a dropper/syringe of water to make sure the pill goes down and doesn’t get stuck in kitty’s throat. This step is a Must!!! Do Not give kitty food or treats until after water is dispensed. Obviously, the Pill Push is only good for pills or capsules. This technique can also be used for all liquid medications given with a syringe or eye dropper. 

 

 Oral Medication syringes

 

Now, let’s tell you how to train kitty to open wide. Start training kitty before kitty gets sick. We want to remind you that all training should start with the bonding technique we discussed in our Training Foundations post (link at the bottom of this post). Load your pill push with a small treat. You may have to cut it down a little. You always want to start with the smallest “pill size” possible. If you’re using a syringe, you might want to fill it with a hairball paste, baby food, butter, or peanut butter. And don’t fill the syringe all the way. A typical dose is about 1cc, so it’s not a lot. Okay, tool is loaded and ready. Call kitty/doggy to you, or retrieve them from their napping spot.

 

 Medicine dropper

Speak calmly and gently and tell them it’s time for medicine and a treat. Mommy’s too old to get in the floor with us these days, so she likes to put us on the bathroom vanity, cat steps or bed to administer medications. Hold kitty/doggy by the scruff of the neck, firmly enough to keep them in place. As you tilt kitty’s head back, firmly but gently say, “open wide” or “say aaaaaah”. Don’t be surprised if kitty clamps their jaws shut. Just continue to speak calmly to kitty. Insert the tip of the pill push/syringe/dropper into the side edge of kitty’s mouth and gently push up on the roof of the mouth. Kitty may initially fight or try to wriggle away from you. If necessary, re-insert pill push/syringe/dropper into kitty/doggy’s mouth towards the back of the throat. NEVER try to insert the pill push or syringe from the front of kitty’s mouth. It’s almost impossible and will cause more tension than is necessary for both of you. Continue to speak gently and inject the treat down kitty’s throat. Follow with the closed mouth, rubbing the neck and a bit of water. Tell kitty how proud you are and how good they were to take their medicine. You may also give them a few treats. Repeat this activity every day for at least a month. At some point kitty’s mouth will open on it’s own as you tilt the head back. At that point, repeat this activity at least once a month to keep kitty trained.

 

 Dezi licks butter/baby food spoon with medicine

 

Now, let’s say kitty’s meds are in a powder form. Mommy likes the butter spoon best for this, but you may use other mediums as well. A few other things you can mix the powder with is: baby food, olive oil, peanut butter, honey, hairball paste or one of the many flavored medicine maskers on the market today. Mix the powder with kitty’s preferred medium and offer it as a lickable treat. If kitty doesn’t lick it or doesn’t like the taste, put the mixture on the back of a child’s spoon and insert into kitty’s mouth from the side and deposit mixture on the roof of kitty’s mouth or their teeth. They will be forced to clean and swallow. And if this is the case, you might want to mix the powder with water or a low sodium broth and give to kitty through a dropper. Always remember to speak gently to kitty and tell them how good they are and how proud of them you are. Always use just enough medium to mix up the powder and no more.

 

Click here to watch on youtube

To train kitty to take “butter spoons”, again, start before kitty is sick. Start by mixing something harmless to kitty as a training treat. Mommy likes to use d-Mannose powder and/or crushed freeze dried treats. d-Mannose has been shown to help with the prevention of urinary tract issues. Offer kitty a small “butter spoon” daily for about a month and then once monthly to keep kitty trained. If using d-Mannose, use 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. daily for 3 days and then switch out to something else for a few days.

 

 Click here to watch on Youtube.

 

We know a lot of you make “treat pills” and the like, but mommy says it’s so much easier to have it done and over with so you’re sure kitty gets their proper dose. No kitty of mommy’s has ever seen a pill pocket, much less tasted one. If pills are prescribed, mommy’s preferred method is the pill push. Once you get accustomed to using it, medicating kitty takes about 10 seconds and it’s over with kitty none the wiser. One thing we might add, is when giving any oral medication, make sure you’re as far back in the mouth/throat opening as is safely possible and that kitties tongue is flat in their mouth. This will keep kitty from spitting the medicine out.

 

There are lots of ways to medicate kitty, and if you’re way is working for you, Great; keep up the good work. But for those of you having problems, or looking for a way to easily and safely give kitty medicines, then give our tips a try. Remember, it’s always easiest to medicate a cat that is accustomed to it and thinks it’s just another day in the life.

 

 Dezi licks her lips

Me luvs a good butter spoon.

 

We hope this post helps some of you. Medicating kitty isn’t anything to be afraid of, and at some point everyone will have to do it. Because cats can be extremely finicky, it’s better to find methods of medicating kitty that don’t include tainting our foods. Remember, training is all about Repetition and Rewards. If you have any questions or training post suggestions, please leave them in the comments or send us an email. And ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, click on the links below or in any previous Service Cat post.

 

Till the next time………………………………………Be Blest!!!

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses

 

Deztinee and RaenaBelle

 

Service Cats

What to look for     Training Foundations     Train Kitty to Massage

Smelling Disease     Do You Need One     Who Bears the Cost

Housing Laws and Exceptions     Accommodations and Common Sense

When the Handler Dies     Proper Training Methods Pt. 1 & Pt. 2

Easiest Task to Train     Getting Kitty Ready for an Outing

Discipline: Stop Countersurfing Kitty     Internal Disputes 

Calling Emergency Help     Just What is Kitty Capable of 

Shad: Original Service Cat     Harness or Vest Leash or Stroller

Dezi, the Wheelchair and the Chest     Round and Round We Go

Tumble and Fall Response     Raena Calls For Help 

The Rest of the Story     Raena and the Wheelchair Pt. 1 & Pt. 2

When to Train     Explaining Rewards and Kitty’s Feelings’

Stop Kitty’s Begging     Calling for Emergency Help Options Pt. 1    

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