(Plus tips to help you drug your cat)
All cats have some degree of parasites in them, as the vets will tell you. And this is always true with regards to rescue cats, which is why it is very important that we keep worming our beloved pets throughout their lives. This pertains to both indoor and outdoor cats: as a general rule, indoor cats just need to be wormed/treated for fleas less frequently than outdoor cats.
Most rescue cats get infected by parasites through their mother’s milk. So, ideally, all pregnant queens should be wormed regularly, to prevent that from happening. But, unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world, which is why by the time cats find their way into the care of an animal rescue charity, it’s often too late to prevent anything and all we can do is to ensure constant treatments into the future.
Why do cats need to be treated for parasites regularly? Because gastrointestinal parasitism is prevalent in 45% of cats, and if left untreated, they can cause serious damage to cats’ intestines. And then there are the external parasites: fleas, ticks and mites. Again, if left untreated, they too can cause harm to cats (e.g. fleas can be infected with intestinal parasites and they can, in turn, infect cats).
Therefore, treating cats regularly for parasites is a must. And it can usually be done at 3-month intervals. Your best bet is to talk to your vet and decide with their help which treatment is most suitable for your pet. Some parasite treatments come in a spot-on form, which is relatively straightforward to administer (although it is a lot easier to do it together with someone than alone). Some people use natural remedies (sprays with essential oils, etc., there are all kinds available) – whatever you use, always read the label!
However, it’s not always possible to get the drugs your cat needs in a liquid form; no, some meds (some wormers, for example) come as tablets only.
And then the fun begins😉 Yes, there are loads of legends about cats’ reluctance to take drugs and our eternal struggle to administer them. There are stories and memes about us looking like we’ve just returned from a battle with a pride of lions when all we did was try to medicate our cute little furball😊
But there are ways of doing it without anyone having to suffer more than necessary. It does take practice, of course, and patience. Loads of patience.
But don’t despair! We’ve compiled a little list of things you could try to help you with the task of medicating your feline family member.
TIPS ON HOW TO ADMINISTER DRUGS TO YOUR CAT:
The most important thing about medicating cats is for us humans to stay calm. The calmer we seem, the calmer the situation seems to the cat. So, even if you don’t actually feel all that calm, become the great pretender! Cats are very good at picking up on vibes, so no matter how you feel, try to ooze calmness and control.
Never try to medicate a cat who’s in play mode or agitated in any way. The best feline patients are sleepy — either just about to fall asleep or recently awoken.
Some tablets can be crushed into powder and then mixed in with some wet food. If the cat is hungry (or just a very greedy individual), this usually works a treat!
But not all tablets can be crushed and mixed with food (often because they’re very bitter and spoil the taste of the food for the cat – metronidazole is one of them: they just hate the taste of it!).
To give your cat a tablet, you could try some of these things:
If the tablet is small enough, you could use one of several pill pockets or assists that are available in stores and online (it’s basically a little treat in which you can hide the tablet before giving it to your pet).
Some people use other foodstuffs to wrap around the tablet, like a clump of cheese or something else that your cat might be into.
Position the cat on a non-slippery surface in front of you and make sure there is no way for the cat to back away from you. (One of the ways of doing that is by having the cat sit between your knees.)
Invest in a pill popper — they are cheap and can be very effective little helpers in this situation.
One thing you can do after you've placed the pill in the popper is to cover the tablet entirely with cat food gravy to mask the smell and make the drug potentially acceptable, if not desirable, for the cat.
Approach the cat's mouth from the side, do not go straight at it with your suspicious gadget.
One type of pill popper available at vet shops
Once you’ve got the pill in the cat’s mouth, make sure it gets swallowed.
For instance, you can gently stroke the cat’s throat to stimulate swallowing.
You can also dab some extra gravy on the cat’s mouth as it’s swallowing.
Sometimes, blowing gently on the cat’s nose can help.
After the pill’s gone down, it’s nice to give the cat a little wet food immediately, as a reward, and to make them associate drug administration with this delicious treat.
Charlie is licking his lips prior to his drugging because he smells the gravy on the popper, and sure what's not to like about that;)
*Of course, you might say that your cat simply won’t tolerate any drugs anywhere near them. Yes, it is true that not every cat will allow you to follow the tips we’ve just given you here. Some cats actually need to be restrained for safe administration of drugs. By that we mean wrapping them gently but firmly in a towel or blanket before proceeding to drug them. But you must make sure it is a tight wrap (not to hurt anyone, but to make sure that there is no way for the cat to wriggle out of the burrito-style confinement). This is both for the safety of your cat and yourself.
**Again, a two-people tandem would make things easier in this situation (one to wrap and hold the cat and the other to pop the pill in its mouth).
You're gonna do what to me now???
Hopefully you found some useful tips here to try.
Remember above all: don’t give up! If you don’t succeed the first time, take a break and try again later. And whatever you do, always make sure that you are comfortable in the situation.
Of course, the relationship between you and your cat will help you figure out exactly how you can make it work. But the point here is that drug administration to cats doesn’t have to look like a blood-soaked battlefield with no winners on either side. It might not happen overnight, but with patience, practice and perseverance we might just be able to make it a somewhat tolerable experience for all concerned😊
You said something about treats?