TEACHING YOUR CAT TO TAKE PILLS
Goal: teaching your cat to come to you and accept medication
Your cat will realize that good things happen when you approach them with medication and/or pill gun.
We call this process desensitization and counter conditioning.
Before you start, get ready:
-your cat's favorite dry food
-your cat's favorite toy
-special treats reserved only for medication (canned food, chicken, tuna, anything your cat will go crazy for)
-syringe or pill gun; whatever you will be using to medicate
REMEMBER: your cat should willingly participate; if at anytime they back away or struggle SLOW DOWN. Repeat each step 3-5 times to make the cat feel comfortable.
Remember to do each step 3-5 times before moving on. GO SLOW!
- Present pill gun with yummy food; let the cat lick it off
- As the cat approaches to eat, place your hand on their head
-raise hand slowly by cat's head
-rest hand on top of head
-gradually increase pressure on head
- Hold head firmly while feeding cat
- Slowly rotate head upward while holding head and feeding from pill gun
- While holding head firmly, place pill gun in mouth; start with just the tip
- Gradually move further into the mouth with the pill gun
- As you remove the pill gun, try wiping the rest of the food on the roof of their mouth
- Next, place a piece of kibble in the pill gun with soft food around the kibble
- Start by placing just inside mouth and releasing the pill gun
- Gradually move further back in the mouth and releasing the kibble
- Repeat several times daily for several days; then on a regular routine to keep them acclimated
Tips and Tricks
- Let the cat decide the pace of the training
- Rank treats/toys from high to low. The best treats are the ones your cat will do ANYTHING for. As they become more comfortable you will be able to vary the treats used.
- Introduce a special bed or towel. The cat will learn to associate the item with the training session, treats, and toys.
- Using Feliway helps to make the cat more comfortable.
- Having your cat become comfortable with you manipulating their head is key.
- Go Slow! The benefits of the training will be worth it.