Wednesday, March 2, 2016

How to Give Alice a Pill

I used to think that I was practically a pro at pilling cats.  All of our cats, past and present, have had times when they have to take medicine in the form of a pill ... and I have always had no problem opening up their little mouths and stuffing in the pill ... until it became necessary to pill Alice.



A few months ago, I noticed that Alice was losing the fur on her tummy, tail, and back legs.  A quick Google search told me that this is usually caused by an allergy.  Her vet and I decided to see if a daily dose of antihistamine would give her relief.  (5mg of Zyrtec)

Alice is the most tolerant, easy going cat that we have ever had.  I can do almost anything to her ... pick her up, throw her over my shoulder, wad her up like a baby in my arms, carry her under my arm like a football ... she purrs and is totally relaxed.  This is why I was so surprised to find that giving her a pill turned into a battle royal.

That first day, each time I tried to open her mouth to give her the pill, she hissed and fought and snarled and bit, and it was awful.  I thought about using a pill-popper device, but I doubted that I could get that into her mouth either.  There had to be a better way.  I have used Pill Pockets in the past for dog pills ... perhaps this would work with Alice.  (Just so you know, the pill has little to no taste, so it wasn't the flavor of it that was the problem.)



This is what I do now to get Alice to take her pill ... no fighting, no hissing, no trauma.

A whole Pill Pocket is too large for Alice's little half a pill ...



... so I break it in half ...



... and mold one of the halves around the pill.



I place the concealed pill on top of her little bit of morning wet cat food ...



... and I cover it with a little glob of cat food juice, to make it extra tempting and tasty ...



... and Alice eats it all up without any fuss. 

In this picture, you can't see that Alice's back legs look like little naked chicken legs.


For some cats, giving the little pill-in-the-pill-pocket like a treat may work.  It didn't with Alice.  She sniffed it and walked away ... and Dorothy raced over to try to get it for herself.  (Jealous sister thing, I imagine.)

Early results seem to indicate that this may be working.  Alice has been getting her little Zyrtec every day for about three weeks, and it looks to me like her fur is beginning to fill back in.  She definitely seems to be a lot less itchy.  (I have wracked my brain, trying to think of anything in Alice's environment that has changed and that she is reacting to.  There's nothing.  Same food, both canned and wet food, same laundry products for things around the house ... I can't think of anything that's different.  All I can think is that this may be a new sensitivity to something.)

Anyway, this post isn't about Alice's allergy, it's about how I give pills to her.  I put this out there to be helpful, in case you or someone you know finds yourself in the same situation that I was in, with a cat who totally refuses to cooperate and take a pill.

30 comments:

  1. I have to pill boarding cats quite often.
    Pill pockets make it SO much easier, especially with the hide it in the food trick!
    :)
    xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maggie and Dorothy are pretty laid back about getting their daily pills. It was a big shock to have such an ordeal with laid-back little Alice that first day. I am so grateful that the pill pocket works for her!

      Delete
  2. My dogs are masters at finding pills and spitting them out, even if hidden in wet food. The Pill Pockets, after a little getting used to, have worked very well. Glad you got this figured out because I'm sure it's no fun fighting with an angry cat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Emma was our only dog that was finicky about taking a pill. There were times when I had to manually do the open-mouth-stuff-in-pill operation, but rarely. Good thing, because when I did that it felt as if I had to go in clear to my elbow to get the pill down the length of that pointy greyhound mouth.

      Delete
  3. Hope Alice is doing better! My dogs have allergies so I understand the pill thing. What finally worked for us...I soften their dry food with water, and stick a pill into the middle of one of the pieces. When I put it pack in the bowl, they wolf it down and don't know they took it. Whatever works!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ruby is the easiest dog in the world for pill taking. That dog will eat anything! Put the pill in a little bit of cheese, make her sit, flip the cheese/pill ball to her, and she catches out of the air and swallows it in an instant.

      Delete
  4. Charlie was horrible with his pills and would eat the pill pocket and still spit out the pill. My Mom's cat gobbles up the pill pockets as a treat. Glad you got Alice to take her pills. So much fun isn't it!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was afraid that Alice would do what you say Charlie did. If she had, I'm not sure what I would have done.

      Delete
  5. My yellow lab, Sienna, was HORRIBLE with pills. She was infamous for extracting the pill from the pill pocket, eating the pocket, and spitting out the unscathed pill. When I first got Barbie, I prepared myself for battle when I had to give her the remaining few pills on a prescription. I was telling my mom about this and she said "dogs are all different like kids, just try and put the pill in her dish before you go complicating it". Lo and behold Barbie had no objection to it. So funny how animals all have their unique aversions and things that don't phase them at all. Though Barbie was prescribed "happy visits" to the vets office today. She had her annual and was so so bad. It would have been easier to examine a fish in the water. Have you ever had to help one of your dogs with vet anxiety? I know greyhounds can be skittish like border collies. Barbie's half lab still came though as she nervously ate every treat thrown her way and asked for more.
    Lastly, I love that Alice eats from a blue and white plate on the table. She is the grande dame!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ruby is skittish in public, but compliant at the vet for exams thank goodness. Our greyhounds marched into the vet's office like they owned the place. After all, everyone there loved them, and they got pets and treats, so what's not to love.

      One day I will have to show everyone my collection of plates for Winnie and the cats. I pick up random single saucers from expensive china at thrift shops. Their dinnerware is a whole lot better than what we humans use.

      Delete
  6. We went through this recently with one of our cats. She had licked off the fur on several spots on her body. We did the allergy pill thing too but I could give her the pill fairly easily though. We noticed she seemed to get better but not entirely so we decided to eliminate something from her diet (one thing at a time). I give a half a can of wet food in the mornings and we'd been buying a Purina product. So we removed it and that's when we noticed she was improving the most. Eventually I migrated to a different wet food made by Royal Canin (which is the brand we feed for the dry food). So far she's doing great. We don't give her the allergy meds anymore and the results seem good without it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are thinking that this itchiness has to be food related, but nothing has changed. The wet food is Purina Friskies Tuna and Egg, which used to be the only wet food that picky little Alice would eat. I’m thinking now that there may be something different in the formula, or that Alice has developed a sensitivity to something that she’s been eating all along.

      Which Royal Canin foods are you using? I’m interested to compare ingredients and see if switching is something that we should consider.

      Delete
    2. Royal Canin has 3-4 "novel protein" cat foods. The idea being the ingredients are not in regular cat foods so the cat is less likely to have developed a sensitivity to them due to exposure. Unfortunately, my vet says regular cat food manufacturers have started including some of these ingredients in regular cat food. She said the one still most likely to help is the rabbit.

      I have good luck using pill poppers. I press on the cat's jaw hinges with my left hand from the back of his head and pop the pill in with the right hand. The pill popper only needs to be about an inch into the mouth, just enough to get over the hump of the tongue and into the throat.

      Delete
  7. We use Pill Pockets also... what a great product!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! Pricey, but splitting them in half or smaller helps make the package last a lot longer.

      Delete
  8. I have the exact same problem with my older cat. I can do anything to that cat and she's ok with it. I even was able to feed her whatever pills were necessary until last summer. I cannot believe how different she was over the pill thing. I blame Max. Thanks for the tips!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Poor Max. He gets blamed for everything. (wink, wink)

      Perhaps it's those easy-going cats who have the potential to be so troublesome with pills.

      Delete
  9. If she catches on to your pill pocket trick, check if it's okay to crush the pill. Since it's tasteless and you give her wet food anyway, it could be mixed right in. I use Friskies Poultry Platter for allergy prone cat that looks very much like Alice. Initially just to give pills, but the first ingredient is Turkey, so I figured I'd use it as a treat to counter their bland limited diet Buffalo Blue grain free kibble and it doesn't cause any skin issues. At any rate, Pill pockets are a life saver for sure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So far, so good with the pill pocket and her morning tablespoon of food! It's been weeks now, so I hope that I don't have to try something else. Good to know about the food that you use ... another weapon in the arsenal, in case we need it. Thank you.

      Delete
  10. Well done! Our cat started losing his hair a few years ago. Usually in Spring and Fall. Gobs of it missing on his back lower half. No one ever told us to try the Zyrtec. Glad it's working for Alice. Also glad you found a way for her to calmly take her pills. Hope she continues to improve. :-)
    Martha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! We hope she improves, too. Liz commented earlier that she didn't have any allergy problems with her cat on Royal Canin food. It's fairly limited ingredients and I thought it was worth a try to get Alice away from the fishy Purina that she loves ... and may be what's causing her problem. We are going to try it.

      For seasonal allergies, Zyrtec (I use generic) may be something for you to try. Ask your vet if it's okay.

      Delete
  11. I had a dog that was impossible to give a pill. The vet said, here, let me show you. That pill ended up on the other side of the room. More than once. The vet was a little surprised that even he couldn't do it. Liquid was always much easier. The last time I kept my granddogs, one was on a pill. I was freaking out that I wouldn't be able to get her to take it. No problem! I was relieved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love it! Sounds like your vet learned a very valuable lesson during that appointment.

      Delete
  12. Poor Alice! I love your kitties! Our golden Maggie has a thyroid and fish oil pill every morning, it sits right on top of her food...down the hatch. Lucky with this dog. But I had a cat that every morning I had to stuff a pill down her throat, she let me, but these pill pockets would have been so much easier.

    ReplyDelete
  13. My cat was having allergy issues. He now eats Royal Canin HP. It's kinda pricey but NO more hairballs, because his excessive licking/cleaning has stopped. Also his #2 elimination is reduced I think because more of the food is metabolized. Win/win.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our three cats split half a can of food twice a day, so the added expense of better food shouldn't be too much of an issue. I tried Royal Canin for their breakfast this morning, and Alice ate it right up! I was nervous since she's known to be picky about her food. So far, so good.

      Delete
  14. Perhaps it isn't Alice that's changed. I wonder if Purina has added something different to their Tuna & Egg product that wasn't there before. Or substituted an ingredient of, shall we say, lesser quality in order to save money?
    But why would the hair loss be only on her underside? Could the change be in the kitty litter, then? A new deodorizing ingredient? One that only Alice is allergic to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wondered that exact same thing! No way to know if something in Alice's favorite flavor is different or not. Best to be safe and ditch it for something else.

      At first, I also thought that Alice's fur was falling out. It's not, she's grooming to excess. Each area of hair loss is in spots that are easy for her to reach when she grooms. I wondered why there were no hairballs with this much hair gone (and most probably ingested), then I remembered that Ruby eats cat barf if she finds it before I do. (TMI, I know ... but it was a clue in our little mystery and it may be significant to someone in the future.)

      Delete

Thanks for stopping by and reading what I share. Comments are moderated. Spam and trolls are not welcome!

Related Posts with Thumbnails