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If you have ever tried to medicate a cat you know the terror. You break out the bandages, for yourself, before you begin. You have 911 on speed dial. You contemplate the best way to do the “kittie burrito” with a towel. You may have even invested in one of those special bags that just lets their head stick out. After the first dose you plan the strategy for even getting near your cat, well ahead of medication time. Unless you’re very, very lucky.

I have found a very reliable way to give meds to cats. Mix it into a very small amount of tuna or tuna juice. Use tuna that is packed in WATER not oil! A little bit goes a long way in covering up the nasty taste and that’s what you want when you need to be sure they get the full dose.

Now I know, I’ve been told many times that mixing the meds into food isn’t a good idea because you can’t be sure that they will get the full dose.

But, here’s the thing – when your cat fights and avoids the dropper or syringe to the point that you’re shooting half of the dose across the room or they shake it out or spit it out – they’re not getting the full dose!

If they foam and drool it out, or worse, they puke it back up because it tastse so bad or they get so stressed from the processs – they’re not getting the medicine.

You have to use your best judgment here. If your kitty feels so bad that they won’t eat a spoonful of tuna or less, then it’s not going to work.

But, in most cases, you can mix the liquid in the tuna. If it’s a pill, you can crush it up (I use a pill crusher now, but the flat side of a kinfe or the back of a spoon works too), then mix it in.

If the medicine tastes really bad and they won’t take it in a small amount of tuna, even though they have a good apetite, you can up the ratio. If you’re worried about the tuna upsetting thier stomach at that level, you might get by with putting it in canned food.

Sometimes you have to suck it up and take them in and get them pilled at the vet’s office. I’ve been there. And if that’s you, don’t feel bad. I can do feeding tubes and sub-Q injections all day (and night) long. I can do things that “can’t be done” and things that most people just won’t attempt. But for some reason I suck at pilling. I have to get professional help with that one, so I do.

Tuna can work for very shy or feral cats too! Any cat you can’t reliably get your hands on is serious candidate for this technique. See my post on Tuna Time.

And a note about eye drops…

This one only works with cats you can pet or hold onto. If your cat requires eye medication and you have tried to give drops unsuccessfully, or with a big fight, don’t hesitate to ask you vet for ointment form instead.

It has worked for me. You have to make sure your hands are very clean first, but with some cats it’s easier to squeeze a line of ointment on your finger and sneak it on the eye while petting them, than it is to hold them down and hold their eye open for drops. And when I was a vet’s assistant I learned that even if you can only get it on the edges of the closed lids when they squint up, some of it will work it’s way in there. Just be gentle about it.

You can buy some eye ointments for cats over-the-counter (OTC), at feed stores and the like, but you need to make sure you’re getting the right kind for the type of eye problem that your cat has. So don’t go off half-cocked and buy cheap ointment for your cat’s eyes without finding out what’s really going on first or it could make the problem worse. That goes for dogs too.