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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
When the Handler Dies Proper Training Methods Pt. 1 & Pt. 2
The Rest of the Story Raena and the Wheelchair Pt. 1 & Pt. 2
Stop Kitty’s Begging Calling for Emergency Help Options Pt. 1
Meow Welcome to another Service Cat Monday. Ya’ know, me meowed ‘bout a special graphic fur Service Cat Mondays last week, and then mommy went and let down on the job. She didn’t get anythin’ made up. She did purromiss to work on it this week tho’, so we’ll see. As always, ifin ya’ have any questions, purrlease leave ‘em in the comments section, or send us an email. You can also use our “contact us” page in the menu. It’s purrivate, nopawdy sees it but us. And ifin you’ve missed any post in this series, purrlease click on the links at the bottom of this or any Service Cat posty. The followin’ will be written in human English fur reader and translation ease. We also need to say that our training posts are not intended to be a step by step instruction manual, as trainin’ is all about Repetition, Consistency and Rewards. We include tips, tricks and techniques mommy has used/developed through her many years of training animals, cats in purrticular. MeeeeeeeYow Now that the business is outta the way, let’s get to it.
Of all the things we do, calling for help is the one more people ask/comment about. As technology evolves and times change, less and less homes have an actual land line. However, we pointed out in our first post about calling for help, that kitties can not use cell phones. So, are there other options for those that don’t want to pay for a monthly land line phone service? And if so, can kitty be trained to use it? Our latest question about calling for help comes from our sweet friends Robin and Cheddar from Cheshire Loves Karma. The jist of their question was: “How can one train kitty to call for help when their handler is unconscious? It’s one thing to tell kitty to call for help, but how will kitty know to call if nobody tells them too?
The short answer is: Once kitty has been trained to perform a specific task in response to a specific situation; they will perform that task when that situation presents itself whether you tell them too or not. We must remember, kitties’ are very smart. They are capable of assessing a situation and acting appropriately, especially when they’ve been individually trained. We want to remind you that kitties and doggies are completely different animals with differing motivations and abilities. Kitties react from a place of love and devotion. For that reason, kitty must bond with the person/handler they are to help. That person must become kitty’s primary caretaker; in so much as they are able. You can check out our Bonding Tips and Techniques in the links below.
Now, let’s talk about some of the other options available besides a land line. Most people have heard of those Emergency Alert monitors. Technology has come a long way since the introduction of the first Emergency Alert System. They typically come with a base unit, and a necklace or bracelet with a button to be pushed if a person needs help. Most of the units today are about the size of an old fashioned answering machine. Because mommy falls and passes out all the time, her case manager is always trying to get mommy to sign up for one of these devices. Mommy ain’t having it. She says the necklace is ugly, and she doesn’t need yet another item taking up precious outlet and cabinet space. MOL And besides, she has us.
But let’s say you do want to go this route. You need to know that besides the initial cost of the unit, there is a monthly monitoring fee. The charges vary between companies, but all of these units are monitored 24/7/365. They are typically set up to call your emergency contact before alerting 911 authorities. We used to have a neighbor who had one of these units and she would press that button all the time. You could hear the voice come booming out of the base unit calling to her and asking what she had done, and if she wanted them to call her son. Her son was set up as her emergency contact, so they would call him, before alerting an ambulance, the police or fire services. These units are meant to be heard all over the house, so you need to be aware of how loud they will be. This is important as kitty will need to be trained not to be afraid of the noise/voice.
Now, let’s get to the training part. An old answering machine would make a great alternate training device since they would have a large play button, and one could record a voice message that would respond/play after the button is pushed. Of course you can use fingernail polish or a permanent marker to color the “play” button red, but it’s not necessary. There is controversy about whether cats can actually see the color red or not. The one large button is your main focus regardless of color. You will want to simulate the situation as closely as possible during training. Mommy laughs about how much extra time she actually spends on the floor during training.
We’ll use passing out as our example for this training exercise. You’ll start out on the floor and instruct kitty/doggy to push the emergency call button. Pick a short phrase that’s easy to remember during a crisis and that’s only used for this task. You might say something like, “Call for Help”, “Get Help”, “Push Button”, or just “Help”. Be sure you are close enough to the base unit to take kitty’s paws and push the button without getting up. You can also enlist a second person to assist you with kitty if that’s an option available to you. Altho’ at some point you’ll need to be completely alone with kitty to simulate the actual incident. And remember when setting up the unit, kitty must be able to easily get to the base unit. You can also train kitty to push the button on the necklace in the same manner. But decide which action you want kitty to perform and stick to it. In other words, kitty will either be trained to push the button on the base unit or the necklace, but not both. You don’t want to confuse kitty or set kitty up to fail.
While you’re on the floor, tell kitty to push the button and then place kitty’s paw on the button and gently push down. (Remember to use an alternate training device such as an old answering machine with the volume turned all the way up.) The recording should start and say something like, the person’s name, brief silence and then, “Do You Need Help?!” “Are you okay?” “What happened”, and “Do you want me to call someone”. It would also be helpful to record other people for kitty to hear, as monitors can be male or female. Do Not allow kitty to run away when the voice starts talking. And always remember to reward kitty with extra love. Training sessions should be consistent and short. Remember, training is all about repetition and rewards. Training should happen at least once a day for 15 to 20 minutes. If you miss a day, be prepared to start from the beginning. Repeat these steps daily until kitty starts heading for the emergency unit without being told to. We can’t say how long this will take, as all kitties are different, but it will happen so long as you’re consistent.
Once kitty starts heading for the machine on their own, pretend you’re unconscious. Say nothing and do nothing. Kitty may or may not push the button. If kitty does not push the button, rewind a bit and instruct kitty to perform the desired action. Keep at it. One day, the light bulb will go off and kitty will follow through without being told to. Always remember to reward kitty when they get any part of the task right. Do Not reward kitty if they don’t respond at all. You will also have to monitor kitty to be sure they’re not pushing the button just because. Initially kitty may think this is a new game.
Do Not yell at, hit, or drench kitty with a water bottle for “playing”. Instead, use this as a training opportunity. Start a training session. In a calm voice, tell kitty this isn’t a game and remove them from the unit until you’re ready to train. You should also make the monitoring company aware of the fact that a Service Cat is employed in your house. Once kitty is performing consistently, you may contact the monitoring company and set up a training session where they are involved and you’re using the actual medical alert unit. Remember, the closer you can simulate the situation and training props, the better. Always set kitty up to succeed and reward appropriate responses with lots of praise and love.
Well, this has been a rather long posty, but we do hope it has helped someone. Today we covered the Emergency Alert systems. There are other options available, and we will try to cover those soon. Ifin you have any questions about this or anythin’ else, purrlease ‘member to leave them in the comments, or email us. And check out our other Service Cat posts below.
Till the next time………………………………………….Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle