After much yowling and hissing with nothing to show for it but a soggy pill and two angry yellow eyes glaring at me from under the bed, I felt both frustrated and guilty for becoming such a kitty bully. I was so scarred by this fiasco that I would have invented any way possible to avoid pill time with Midnight. I tried to hide it in a spoonful of tuna and squished it between two of her favorite treats— but each of these methods only worked for two days before she solved the mystery. Midnight developed a sixth sense for finding a hidden pill in just about anything.
After trying and failing to trick her countless times, I figured the most reliable option for me to ensure that Midnight receives her medication each day is to place it in her mouth. I first approach Midnight from the side and place my thumb and index finger in the sides of her mouth, encouraging her mouth to open. While her mouth is open, I place the pill onto the back of her tongue (similar to how when we take a pill, we place it on the back of our tongue). I then close her mouth and stroke her throat, encouraging her to swallow. I also wait for a couple of seconds to make sure she hasn’t spat the pill out. Once she licks her lips, I know she’s swallowed the pill and I give her a favorite treat.
Midnight is a fierce advocate for the liberty to do as she pleases, so she became upset by this process in the beginning. When she became frustrated, I needed to allow her a couple minutes to cool down before trying again. Maintaining a regular routine and providing a reward eased Midnight’s adjustment to daily medication— once she knew to expect a reward afterwards, she was more willing to cooperate. As a result of some patience, Midnight has now willingly taken her twice daily medication for the past three years.
Strive to maintain a regular routine when giving medication. A routine will allow your cat to adjust to this process rather than experiencing an unpredictable situation each time. Also be sure to remain patient. Each cat will take a different amount of time to adjust to a new routine. A pill popper might be a helpful option for cats who hide the pill in the side of their mouth or for cats who might bite while taking medication.