Sneezy kitty won't take his meds
February 25, 2012 6:10 AM   Subscribe

Need clever ideas to get kitty to take his meds

Our big boy Luke has developed some sneezing over the past year. It doesn't seem to bother him, but we finally took him into the vet to see if anything was wrong. After some blood work and a couple of rounds of antibiotic injections (just to be sure), the vet suggested we supplement kitty's diet with Immuplex, as an immune system booster. Our vet is heavily into holistic treatments.

Now the fun part. We've gone through the special hell that is called "giving your cat a pill" last year, and it really doesn't work with Luke. We did the wrap-kitty-in-a-towel thing and used the pill-shooter. We barely survived with our skins.

Since the Immuplex is a capsule of powder, the vet suggested we try sprinkling the powder into some tuna water. We went that route, first giving Luke a little plain tuna water to get him used to having it. He loved that stuff. After a few days of plain tuna water, we added a small bit of the Immuplex powder to the tuna water. He didn't like that. He'd sniff the water and walk-away, never to return. Likewise, sprinkling a little of the powder on his regular, dry food made him sniff and ignore the food until it was changed.

So, we're stumped. How to get the picky kitty to take the Immuplex? Any tricks that worked for you would be appreciated.
posted by Thorzdad to Pets & Animals (27 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Give him a Petromalt sandwich? Petromalt on a plate, with powder on top, then Petromalt on top of that? I've also seen (for pills), lined up in a row: dab of Petromalt, dab of Petromalt, pill, dab of Petromalt, dab of Petromalt, the idea being that once kitteh is on a Petromalt-eating roll, he'll go ahead and eat the pill.

Also, put the powder into a ball of butter?
posted by SillyShepherd at 6:39 AM on February 25, 2012

We use a combination of pill pockets and Gourmeds
posted by exogenous at 6:40 AM on February 25, 2012

Stuff him down one leg of a pair of sweatpants. No fooling around with the towels bit.
posted by valkyryn at 6:43 AM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding pill pockets - those things can work REALLY well, even without hiding the pill in it completely. I had to give Zach a dietary supplement for a while, and the capsule was pretty big - in fact, it was too big to fit in the pill pocket. But I decided to try it anyway; I gave him one of the empty pill pockets so he could see what it tasted like, and he snarfed right down and started nagging me for another one. Then I sort of poked the capsule through it, so it looked like a capsule-pig-in-a-pill-pocket-blanket. He snarfed that down just as eagerly as he'd done the first one. I never had a problem giving him his capsule after that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:45 AM on February 25, 2012

Response by poster: I've looked at Pill Pockets, but figured Luke would just eat the pocket and leave the pill. Or simply walk away. He's a pretty picky eater. He's never cared for kitty treats, for instance. Doesn't care for wet food, either. The only non-regular food he's ever gone for is american cheese (I have no idea how he came to like that stuff. Honest). But, we've tried disguising meds in cheese before and he sniffs and walks away.

The Petromalt/hairball goo might work. He generally likes that stuff when we give it to him.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:53 AM on February 25, 2012

Try stinky baby food, like a chicken or beef flavor.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:59 AM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

The two cat ladies in my office swear by pill pockets.
posted by Wolfie at 7:05 AM on February 25, 2012

The stinky baby food might do the trick. Just make sure you buy the kind without any onion in it (onion is very very bad for cats). There's a Gerber's plain turkey that previously sick cats I've had loved.
posted by rtha at 7:09 AM on February 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

It looks pretty much like just a multivitamin. Unless you're not feeding him right, it won't make much difference to him whether he consumes only a partial dose or the full dose. Certainly not worth annoying the hell out of him and having yourself scratched and bitten.

So sprinkle a tiny unnoticeable amount on his food if it makes you feel better. If you do this for a long time, you can probably work him up to a full dose without him noticing (or caring) any longer.
posted by pracowity at 7:20 AM on February 25, 2012

Make sure there's no garlic in aforementioned stinky baby food, if you go that route.
posted by SillyShepherd at 7:25 AM on February 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

Hmm, for a while I was making kitty truffles: chopped up pill, nested inside a pill pocket, which is then coated in crumbled up treats and cheese bits. (Yeah, crazy.)

I find it's pretty rare to find a cat that loves pill pockets. (Also rare to find a cat that enjoys pilling!)

In the end, you might have to be like many of us, and just get really good at pilling. It suuuuucks, for everyone.

I do think that you're in a much better spot than most of us, since you can give this as a powder. But yeah, you're going to have to disguise it pretty well. (Have you tried a nice grass-fed heavy cream? My cats will do ANYTHING for that. Which I try to do sparingly, since, uh, it's probably terrible for them.)

Also: go to your local healthy hippie holistic cat food place. (Indianopolis surely has one.) They'll probably scoff at Immuplex and recommend 20 other things. Fun!
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:25 AM on February 25, 2012

Have you tried hiding the pill in cream cheese? It seems to work better than regular cheese - a little harder to eat just the cheese and spit the pill back out.
posted by dilettante at 8:44 AM on February 25, 2012

Sounds harsh, but the way the vet showed us to give the cat a pill is to pry his little mouth open and shove the pill down his throat. Use a single finger and just poke that sucker down there. Have to get it far enough down that his swallow instinct takes over, past the point he could gag it up. Never had any luck at all with the various methods of camouflage.
posted by Bron at 9:08 AM on February 25, 2012

Pill pockets or you sit on him (sit with him stuffed between your legs, undignified but works great) and use a long piller thingy to put it deep and make sure he swallows (blow on face, make a loud noise, tickle nose til you see the gulp motion).
posted by meepmeow at 9:22 AM on February 25, 2012

My cat is hard to pill, too. Usually what I do is kneel in front of a wall with my ankles crossed and my butt on my feet, grab him (so that he's facing the same way as me, not looking at me), open mouth, use pill shooter, hold just long enough for him to swallow. The trick is to be fast and to block his exit routes behind you.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:48 AM on February 25, 2012

I use a plastic pipette after grinding up the pill and mixing with a tiny bit of cream (my cat's favorite).
posted by acidic at 9:53 AM on February 25, 2012

I have had uniformly good luck with pill pockets. My cats like them and gobble them down, doing nothing that could separate the pill from it.
posted by adamrice at 10:13 AM on February 25, 2012

When we had a cat on daily medication, we found that we had to rotate methods around. Pill pockets are great. We used those for a while, until he started refusing them. Then we covered the pill in mashed up tuna, which worked for awhile. Then chicken bits. Then we tried pill pockets again, which worked for awhile, then chicken again, and so on. He loved wet food, but would not eat it with the crushed meds mixed in. Since he was a large tomcat, trying to pill him directly was nearly impossible, even with the pill pusher gadget.

Dogs are so much easier to medicate! But we love our cats. Good luck!
posted by lawhound at 10:59 AM on February 25, 2012

Our boy doesn't like cat treats either, but pill pocket was the answer. The key is, the pill pocket in its natural state is much bigger than you need (more material) so you want to wrap it around the pill and then pinch away some of the excess to reduce it to the smallest possible size. Basically the pill pocket just makes it slipperier and not smell so bad.

Also, get him when he's hungry. We would prepare a pill at feeding time, put it in his dish with a tiny one-bite bit of wet food (baby food or tuna or whatever would be the same, as long as it can coat the outside of the pill ) and just wait. He would eat it, then get the rest of his meal.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:08 PM on February 25, 2012

One of our cats had a bout of pancreatitis last year and was on prednisolone for awhile. She is not a treat-eater, but she fucking loved those pill pockets. We had no trouble getting her to take them.

I say it's got to be worth a try.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 12:21 PM on February 25, 2012

I roll pills in a little ball of sour cream or yogurt and feed them to my cat. This works best if I hold the ball over her head so she'll pop up on her back legs for it -- that way there's no opportunity for her to spit the pill out and lick the sour cream off, it's just right down the gullet and gone. Your mileage may vary if your cat isn't as much of a dairy-hound, but mine will actually beg for her pills now!
posted by vorfeed at 12:36 PM on February 25, 2012

I don't know what a pill pocket is, but I used to roll the pill in cheese. That mostly worked.
posted by Jubey at 2:56 PM on February 25, 2012

I'm with procawity, above. If you're giving prescription medicine to save the cat's life that's one thing, but if Immuplex is just an over-the-counter multivitamin, it isn't worth the fight. For you, or the cat.
posted by exphysicist345 at 3:43 PM on February 25, 2012

Luke is be-utimus! Just ship him to me.

If you really feel this will benefit the cat, you have to be determined, and you may have to confine him; remember to protect yourself. Wear gloves, get the cat in a hammerlock, and use a piller. Will he go limp if you also scruff him when he's rolled in a towel? Maybe get him stoned on catnip first. Try the Feliway. I've never used it, but MeFites seem to swear by it. Roll the pill in his favorite cheese before you poke it down him, and he may not hate you so much. You're going to have to decide if it's worth it, but remember, you're the boss, and you're in charge.*

*Oh, hahahahaha! Let's keep deluding ourselves
posted by BlueHorse at 4:12 PM on February 25, 2012

Ask your vet if you cat cat take FortiFlora. If so, put the powder from the pill in his food, stir the food up (assuming this is wet food- if not, no stirring required), then sprinkle Forti Flora on top. I guarantee your cat will love it.
posted by superfille at 10:13 PM on February 25, 2012

Response by poster: Well, so far Luke seems to be accepting of some hairball goo (similar to the Petromalt SillyShepherd recommended, but a whole lot cheaper) rolled in some of the capsule powder.

It's sort of a moot point now, though, as, somehow, over the weekend, we came into possession of a new 7-month old puppy. Now we're faced with the far more important matter of getting Luke to accept the new member of the family. Much hissing and fluffy fur has ensued.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:11 PM on February 26, 2012

Well, the good news is he might become possessive of his food, and eat anything you put in front of him so that the interloper doesn't get it.

Also, congrats on your new addition! Han or Leia would be a good name. Just sayin'...
posted by SuperSquirrel at 1:10 PM on February 26, 2012

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