How to Give a Cat Liquid Medicine? Learn the Easy Steps on How to Administer It
Cat is feeling under the weather and a liquid medication is involved? Wondering how to give a cat liquid medicine effectively? Read on!
Liquid medications will always be part of your cat’s life whether you like it or not, unless, of course, you’d rather skip giving him his daily dose of vitamins, supplements, or prescribed antibiotics.
However, cats can be stubborn little creatures, especially when it comes to taking their pills or capsules and liquid medicines. So, as pet parents, it helps to know the effective ways on how to give a cat liquid medicine.
No matter how difficult it can be, giving your cat his liquid and other oral medications is important so he can live a long, happy and healthy life.
Then, again, it’s just normal to feel like giving up at times because of how time-consuming, stressful, and challenging it can be to administer your cat’s medications.
If you feel defeated by your cat’s tenacity of not taking his meds, just breathe and give yourself and your cat a break.
Give time for cuddles, give your cat some treats, and give it a shot again. This time, get creative and feel free to try the steps that we’ve listed below.
Remember, there’s no single way to give your cat his due medications. So, you might have to try several ways in giving liquid medicines before you can find the one that works the best with your cat.
Nonetheless, the easiest way that works with most cats is is by mixing the liquid medicine with canned food.
Mixing With Canned Food
Cats are also just like kids when taking their medications, they can be swayed to believe that you aren’t giving them their meds by mixing them with their favorite food.
There are two basic tenets as to why this technique works: the canned food hides the taste of the medicine and makes it more palatable, and it distracts them from figuring out that you are about to administer their medication.
However, to make sure that the food won’t affect the potency of the medicine, it’s best to ask the approval of your vet first before doing it or else your action would just be good as none.
You should also inform your veterinarian if your cat is taking other medications, including flea and tick spot-on treatment and shampoo, as well as ointments or creams.
Once your vet gave you his go signal, you can proceed in mixing your cat’s liquid medication with his favorite canned food. However, before doing so, make sure to aspirate using a syringe, the exact amount of medication needed.
When it’s ready, simply mix the medication in a small amount of wet food to be sure that your cat will consume everything.
Doing so will also prevent you from wasting what you’ve prepared in case your cat won’t eat the food. You can’t also serve it to your other cats at home, because the medication is only intended for your sick cat.
Some cats would also prefer that you feed them by hand because it mimics what you do each time you give them their favorite cat treat.
By following this simple gesture, they may associate the food as a treat, instead of just an ordinary wet food that you regularly serve along with their kibbles.
Hence, they will be more likely to be interested in it and finish everything that you’ve prepared.
Easy Steps on How to Give a Cat Liquid Medicine
If you can’t mix your cat’s meds with his food, then, you’ve got to give the medication directly inside his mouth using a dropper or syringe.
However, using a syringe is better because you can be sure that you are giving your cat exactly the prescribed amount of his medication.
Before you administer the medication, make sure that you understand the prescription label and that you follow the dosing instructions provided by the vet.
If the medication was refrigerated, you may want to warm it first by placing it in a warm water bath. However, don’t put it inside a microwave. Once it’s ready, don’t forget to shake it gently before you draw the medicine into the syringe.
Also, before you proceed with the steps below, it’s best to trim your cat’s nails first just to be on the safe side. Now, that you are all set, simply follow the following steps to increase your success rate:
- Prepare a quiet, well-lit, and convenient place where your cat will feel safe and you can handle your cat more efficiently.
- Make sure all the medications are ready and placed in an area that is easily accessible for you. You would not want to draw the medicine into the syringe in front of your cat.
- As for your cat’s position, some cat owners find more success in placing their cat on their lap, while some find it easier to tuck their cat into their arm. Whatever you choose, make sure to position your feline companion facing away from you.
- Hold the syringe with your right hand or dominant hand, and your pet cat with your left hand. Again, make sure that he is facing away from you, and that you tuck him securely around your arm so he can’t wiggle free.
- Some cats may need to be wrapped in a towel or blanket exposing only his head. And this is more likely what will happen with your cat, especially if it’s his first time to take his liquid medicines, or if he simply doesn’t love taking his meds. You may also need to wrap your cat in a towel if you are doing it alone. However, for the first few times, it would be best if someone can hold your cat for you while you administer the medication.
- While your cat is tucked around your arm, hold the syringe with your dominant hand and let your cat taste the medicine first by allowing him to lick the tip of the syringe.
- Gently hold your cat with your fingers near his top lip and slide his whiskers back. Position your cat’s head that it is facing the ceiling. It’s worth noting, though, that some vets prefer giving liquid medications without tilting your cat’s head as this can increase the risk of your cat inhaling the medication or aspirating it into his lungs.
- If your cat is not interested in licking the liquid medicine, gently place the tip of the syringe inside your cat’s mouth by his cheek. In particular, place the syringe just behind one of your cat’s fangs or canine teeth and advance it that it specifically lands in the gap between the canine tooth and his pre-molars. This will encourage him to open his mouth.
- Position the syringe that its tip angles towards the back of your cat’s tongue to ensure that the medicine won’t go directly into his throat. This is important to prevent gagging and/or aspiration.
- Push the plunger of the syringe slowly while aiming the back part of his tongue. Pressing the plunger too quickly or too close to the front of his tongue may cause foaming or may cause him to spit the medication. Most cats would still spit the medication even if you did the procedure correctly. However, only re-medicate when you are sure that none of the medicine was swallowed. Your vet has already accounted for a small amount of loss when computing the dose of your cat’s medicine.
- Continue to hold your cat’s head back and count up to three to ensure that he swallowed the medication. It can also help to stroke your cat’s chin gently to encourage him to swallow and to talk to him calmly as a reassurance.
Once you are done, don’t forget to praise your cat and reward him with some treats or wet food so he can have a positive association with the experience. This can make it easier for you to medicate him next time.
After use, don’t forget to rinse the dropper and syringe, and refrigerate the remaining liquid medication if necessary.
Liquid medications are prescribed for several reasons. Most vitamins and antibiotics are given in this form. And one of the reasons is that it’s easier to give liquid medications than pills.
Some medicines that are only available in capsules, or pills, can also be compounded to be given as a liquid. However, you have to consult this with your vet first if it’s possible with your cat’s medications.
It’s important to only give your cat medications that were prescribed by your vet. And even if it’s not an antibiotic, you should make sure to treat your cat for the full length of time that it was prescribed.
As always, even if your cat’s symptoms have resolved, you should still continue with the medication until you are done with the prescribed number of days.
Additionally, sometimes your cat will exhibit an unusual reaction, such as foaming. Most cat owners would think of this as a sign that their cat is harmed by the medicine. However, the truth is that foaming happens because cats don’t like the taste of the medicine.
To avoid foaming, simply ensure that you are aiming the back part of your cat’s tongue with the liquid medication. By doing this, your cat is less likely to taste it and won’t foam in his mouth.
Giving liquid medication is a challenge to every cat owner. However, if you start your cat younger and create a positive association with this experience through rewards and treats, your cat will more likely love taking his meds.
Nonetheless, even for adult cats, it is never too late, as well. This is something that you have to practice with your cat regularly, and eventually, it will be a less stressful experience for both of you.
And no matter what, don’t resort to harming your cat or using force as it can only discourage him further to take his meds in the future.
What is the best way to give a cat liquid medicine?
Do not tilt your cat's head back; this may cause him to inhale the medicine. Squeeze the dropper or depress the syringe plunger to empty it. Hold your cat's mouth closed and stroke his throat or blow on his nose to encourage swallowing. Reward your cat with a treat after.
How do I give my cat liquid medicine in the cheek pouch?
Place liquid medication into the cheek pouch, small amounts at a time, keeping your cat's nose pointed slightly upward, but careful not to point straight up. Give the medication slowly; ensure your cat has swallowed a small amount of liquid before placing any more liquid into the cheek pouch.
How do you open a cat's mouth for medicine?
Gently tilt your cat's head back, so that its chin is facing upward. With your other hand, hold the pill between your thumb and index finger, and place downward pressure with your middle finger on the front of your cat's lower jaw. Combined with the upwards head tilt, this will cause your cat to open its mouth.
How can I hide my cat's medicine?
Place the medication in a small amount of wet food, if they like it. Use a bit of peanut butter or cream cheese to disguise the pill. Plain yogurt is another good food that can mask medication. A piece of cheese, hot dog or liverwurst can conceal the pill.