Any recommendations for flavoring for feline gabapentin?
May 8, 2021 2:31 AM   Subscribe

I'm about to switch my cat's oral suspension gabapentin prescription to a compounding pharmacy, which has a long list of possible flavorings. However, gabapentin is so bitter, I'm concerned a flavoring might actually make it worse. Has anyone found a flavoring that made their cat tolerate it better?

The list in question is: bacon, banana, carrot, cheese, cherry, chicken, chicken & marshmallow, fish sauce, grape, green apple, marshmallow, peanut butter, raspberry, salmon, strawberry, triple fish, tuna, turkey, tutti frutti, vanilla, vanilla butternut. There's also beef and liver but my cat is possibly allergic to beef so avoiding those.

She's also newly on methimazole, but that doesn't seem to have as strong a flavor so I was just going make that one chicken.
posted by tavella to Pets & Animals (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know about gabapentin specifically, but my cats seem to really like ham-flavored Gerber's baby food, so I mix medicines with a spoonful or two of the baby food. The cats also like A/D made by Science Diet, so I sometimes plop the baby food on top of the A/D. You need a prescription from a veterinarian to get the A/D, and it can be a bit expensive.
posted by alex1965 at 4:14 AM on May 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

Can't speak to the flavoring for the gabapentin, but one of my cats takes 5 mg of methimazole twice per day. I just crush the pill and put it in her wet food food, (food, the crushed meds, a little more food on top, not mixed in, just hiding the meds). I also occasionally give it to her in a pill pocket.
posted by XtineHutch at 5:34 AM on May 8, 2021

Go with fish, it covers everything.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:01 AM on May 8, 2021 [3 favorites]

My cat takes gabapentin sprinkled on top of her food from the capsule. But she also takes liquid fluoxetine compounded with chicken flavor, also on top of said food. So my vote would be chicken!
posted by Secretariat at 7:30 AM on May 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

We… were not given multiple (let alone two dozen) flavour options at our fairly boutique Canadian vet (America [I'm assuming] is wild). The gabapentin that our monumentally fussy Shadow takes just smells like some kind of generic "meat" (not like "fish" or "bacon," though I don't eat any of these things myself—my guess would be "chicken"?) and she likes it just fine. We squirt it on top of her morning and evening wet food, and she usually goes for the treated portion right away.
posted by wreckingball at 8:05 AM on May 8, 2021

i make pet parmesan- get those feeds dried chicken treats and powder them up in a blender, sprinkle on food and now the cat asks for it by name
posted by wowenthusiast at 9:28 AM on May 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

If your cat is amenable to taking pills, Pill Pockets work very well for my cat (who also takes gabapentin but in pill form). Finnegan likes the chicken or salmon flavours interchangeably. I know they are readily available in Canada and the US, not sure about anywhere else.
posted by MelanieL at 9:59 AM on May 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Cinder is sadly very unfond of pilling. I've gotten somewhat better at getting pills far enough back in her throat that they go down, but I've been fooled more than once where I think she's swallowed one and then find it later, often tidily spat up next to her food dish so she can eat. Thus the liquid suspension.
posted by tavella at 10:11 AM on May 8, 2021

My vet gives me pre-filled syringes of chicken-flavoured liquid gapapentin for my cat. Rather than putting it in his food, I just squirt a single-dose syringe of it into his mouth. It's probably not the tastiest but he tolerates it.

We… were not given multiple (let alone two dozen) flavour options at our fairly boutique Canadian vet (America [I'm assuming] is wild).

wreckingball, in my experience in a couple provinces, you can usually get most or all of those flavour options in Canada if your vet sends you to a compounding pharmacy, which might happen if your cat doesn't tolerate whatever standard cat-friendly preparation they usually prescribe. Compounding pharmacies that do human drugs often do vet compounding as well.
posted by blerghamot at 12:22 PM on May 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My elderly cat needed methimazole and hated pills and oral meds. My vet had the pharmacy compound it as a transdermal gel—it came in a “pen” and I just twisted the tip a specific number of times to get the right dose to appear, then rubbed the gel into the inside of her ear twice a day. (Ears are ideal because there’s very little hair and the animal can’t reach to lick it.) It was by far the easiest way I have ever medicated an animal, and I felt a lot less bad about asking pet sitters to do it when we were away, because it was so simple.

I just looked it up and gabapentin can also be compounded into a transdermal gel. Honestly I would skip oral meds if possible and request both the methimazole and gabapentin in this form. It is SO easy.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:12 PM on May 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I did look at the transdermal gels, but with methimazole I'd have to bring out a new pair of gloves to apply it every time since you aren't supposed to get it on your skin, which seemed likely to be annoying. So it just made sense to do them both as oral since I have to do them at the same time of day.

Possibly they are exaggerating the risks of methimazole, but the reason I'm doing the compounding pharmacy in the first place is that the vet has stopped doing methimazole compounding in-house because of the necessary safety precautions.
posted by tavella at 1:26 PM on May 8, 2021

Tuna in oil. It's the only way we can get a community cat we look after to take his monthly flea medication (for a semi-feral cat, he's surprisingly picky when it comes to food). Works every time!
posted by photo guy at 3:23 PM on May 8, 2021

with methimazole I'd have to bring out a new pair of gloves to apply it every time since you aren't supposed to get it on your skin

It's true you're not supposed to get it on your skin, but the pens are no-touch--you don't ever come in contact with the gel. You click the pen, the blob of gel appears at the top, and you use the pen tip to rub it into the cat's ear. I was careful not to get it on myself, but the one time I thought that maybe I had touched some, I called poison control and they said not to worry and that washing with soap and water immediately had taken care of it.

This article goes into a little more detail. It looks like one case that was a problem involved the owner using her bare finger to apply and rub in the gel, which you should not be doing. It also said owners need to be careful administering methimazole via pill, since you are actually coming into contact with the pill when you pick it up, put it in the cat's food, pick it up if the cat spits it out, etc. I actually found I handled the drug more when trying to administer it via pill or liquid than when I went to the no-touch gel pen.

I'm not trying to scare you, or say don't use the oral meds, just that the transdermal gel pen is not really more likely to have you come in contact with the drug and in fact might be less likely.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:49 PM on May 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I was just coming back to say that I had talked to another cat owner who was using the transdermal pens, who also said that it should be fine as long as you wash your hands. So since I found a pharmacy that does combination gabapentin/methimazole pen, so I'm going to give it a try. Thanks to everyone!
posted by tavella at 8:36 AM on May 12, 2021 [2 favorites]

Hey, that's great news! Good luck--I really hope this is a game changer for you and your cat.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:50 PM on May 12, 2021

Hopefully this tip isn't too far off-topic. My cat needs a twice-daily application of methimazole via a transdermal pen, and I'm supposed to alternate ears. How do I remember which ear to use when? I use a rhyme: "Right at night." So, apply in his left ear in the morning, his right ear in the evening. Now if only there was a rhyme that helped me pull him out from under the bed where he hides when he sees the pen come out...
posted by SuperSquirrel at 4:56 AM on May 13, 2021 [1 favorite]

« Older Help me find a UK based, LGBTQ specialising sex...   |   Let the seller beware. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.