Alternative Ways to Give Your Cat Medicine

Pet owners are total “scaredy cats” when it comes to giving their feline friends medication. As a pharmacist who specializes in veterinary compounding, I talk to worried clients with sick cats every day. And I get your fears! You want to ensure your beloved cat gets the best treatment possible, but you’re also aware your cat probably doesn’t see it that way when you’re feeding it a bitter pill.

That’s where veterinary compounding can help. Your veterinarian may work with a compounding pharmacist to access a broader range of treatment options than are commercially available, and give you more ways to easily and effectively administer medications to your cat. Compounding is a technique of preparing customized medications for animals. Based on a prescription from a veterinarian, a pharmacist combines ingredients together to the exact strength and formula of medication your veterinarian requests.

So, in celebration of Responsible Pet Owner Month, here are a few strategies to make medication pleasing to your cat.

Make it appetizing.

Cats are notoriously picky eaters, and very sensitive to the bitter taste of most medications. Your veterinarian may refer you to a compounding pharmacist, who can turn medication time into treat time by flavoring your cat’s prescription. Soft “chewy” treats are a great way to get your cats the precise medication dosage they need and they even come in flavors like chicken and tuna, which tend to be popular with cats.

Pick an easy delivery method.

Most cats hate pills, but they love an ear rub! If possible, your veterinarian may suggest that you administer medication through transdermal gels and ointments. Your cat will love the attention and you’ll love building a stronger connection with your pet.

If your cat isn’t one for cuddling, an oral suspension medication is also an option. These liquid medications are usually fixed in almond oil and can be flavored to whatever is most palatable to your cat.

Don’t force it.

As aloof as cats can sometimes seem, they can also sense our moods. If you are tense when giving your cat medication, your pet will mirror your temperament. And if your attempt to administer medication ends in a vomiting kitty, don’t double dose. Some oral medications are quickly absorbed through the mucosal membranes in your cat’s mouth.

Talk to your veterinarian.

Your veterinarian and referred pharmacist can be great resources if you have any questions or concerns about giving your cat medication. Cats can be mysterious creatures and there are no dumb questions! Veterinary compounding is a great way for cat lovers to improve their cat’s health and develop a customized medication solution that is just as unique as their furry family member. Ask your veterinarian what options are available in your area.

About the Author

Kyle Sullivan, PharmD is a pharmacist specializing in veterinary compounding at Kelley-Ross Pharmacy Group in Seattle. He’s an animal lover who enjoys researching new ways pharmacists can help veterinarians improve health outcomes for pets.