how to give a kitten meds
February 20, 2007 8:56 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have any good tips for giving a kitten amoxicillin? It's in liquid form and pipette; I can't seem to bring myself to give her the dose the way the vet described; she's got to have 2 doses a day.

Any and every tip would be great. Thanks Hivemind!
posted by uncballzer to Pets & Animals (18 answers total)
You want to put the dropper/pipette in the corner of her mouth while tilting her head upward.

How did the vet tell you to do it?
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 9:07 PM on February 20, 2007

Just gently pinch her cheeks to hold her mouth open, then drop the liquid onto the back of her tongue... She'll reflexively start licking and swallowing... It shouldn't be a problem or a trauma at all... In fact, one of my cats seemed to like the taste of amoxicillin when she had it a few years ago.
posted by amyms at 9:09 PM on February 20, 2007

I'm fond of the "taco" technique that was demonstrated to me by a friend several years ago. Lay a blanket out on the ground, place the cat on the blanket. Have the cat lay on its side on the blanket. Proceed to wrap the blanket around the cat, just as you would wrap a taco. Pick up the bundle and cradle the cat as you would a baby, with the cat's belly up. When I do this to my cat he looks at me to figure out what the heck I'm doing. When the cat is looking at you he is now in perfect position to administer medicine. If looking elsewhere use a free hand under the cat's chin to direct his attention towards you and then give him the medicine.

This technique is also excellent for applying flea medicine, cleaning ears, inspecting eyes and mouth, etc. I've never tried it with a kitten but the principle should still (hopefully) apply.
posted by meditative_zebra at 9:21 PM on February 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

My cat's vet recommends gripping the kitty by the scruff and pulling back just enough to bring her front feet off the benchtop/floor/lap/whatever. It immobilizes dear kitty and forces her to open her face enough to stick the pipette in. She also recommends sticking the pipette reasonably close to the back of kitty's mouth b/c cats are good at spitting. Once the meds are delivered, lower the scruff-hand and hold kitty's face closed until she swallows.

It looks like it should be uncomfortable, but the little beastie doesn't seem to mind. It is how mother cats schlepp their wayward kittens about, so I think it is fine. The experience is way more awkward for observers.
posted by janell at 9:23 PM on February 20, 2007

kittens are very tolerant of being manhandled, and manhandling kittens makes for nicer adult cats. suck it up and so will she.
posted by twistofrhyme at 9:58 PM on February 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

If there's any way you can get the medicine compounded at a human pharmacy, I'd recommend that. We need to dose our siamese cat twice a day with hyperthyroid medication, and once he gets a whiff, he laps it up from the syringe. They use either tuna or roast beef, and he likes both. (Before this, we had success with janell's described method, but since this is a lifetime thing, we went for a more sustainable solution.)

If you can't find a compounding pharmacist (and it sounds like you already have the medicine anyway) you could probably mix ground up tuna or roast beef with each fully measured dose, and load it back up in the syringe. If you do the whole bottle, the dosage might be off.

If you need to give your cat any pills in the future, pill pockets are a marvel. They're a little pricey, but the kitties will knock them back without spitting out the pill the pocket is wrapped around.

Good luck with your sick kitten.
posted by truenorth at 10:45 PM on February 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Shouldn't be too hard if she's little. Get the syringe ready and start sweet talking your cat. Flip her over on her back in the palm of your hand with her head between your thumb and forefinger. Use those fingers to press gently on the side of her mouth and she'll open up. Drop in a little medicine, let her swallow, and repeat. I never had any trouble with this, and I had to give three of them cherry-flavored medicine for a while.
posted by puddinghead at 12:04 AM on February 21, 2007

The corner of the mouth is the correct way to dose a cat with liquid medicine. Don't squeeze too much out at once or it will start dripping down her face.
posted by tastybrains at 5:46 AM on February 21, 2007

One of my parents' cats came down with laryngitis about two days before they were supposed to leave to visit my grandparents for Christmas this year. They didn't want to have to make the cat-sitter (a high-school girl who lives next door) wrestle the cat to administer the antibiotic twice a day. Instead, they started mixing it with a small amount of plain yogurt & giving it to the cat. The cat lapped it up, the cat-sitter was able to give the cat all of her doses without getting lacerations, and by the time my parents returned the cat was able to welcome them back loudly.
posted by Johnny Assay at 6:49 AM on February 21, 2007

Second the towel "taco" method, especially if kitty is a squirmer. Squirt the meds into the corner of her mouth, then quickly shut her mouth with your finger to make sure she doesn't spit or drool.
posted by Koko at 8:29 AM on February 21, 2007

manhandling kittens makes for nicer adult cats.

posted by radioamy at 8:40 AM on February 21, 2007

Could you suck up a little tuna juice into the same dropper as the medicine, and get her to take it willingly?
posted by peep at 8:40 AM on February 21, 2007

I usually put an adult kitty between my legs while kneeling.

I put the meds (either a syringe or a pill popper) in my right hand. I grab the entire head in my left hand, and rotate the head back while pressing my left thumb in between lower and upper teeth at the hinge of the jaw. The mouth is opened perfectly wide. I deposit the meds, rotate the head back down and rub the bottom of the neck, which stimulates the swallowing response.

Works perfectly every time for adults. I haven't had to do a kitten in a long time, though, so some of the other ideas above may be better.

One thing I DO do, is not to scare them. I go directly to them, and do it all in about 5 seconds, then I make sure I pet them and assure them so that they are not scared of me.

They look a little bewildered, and usually don't even run off. It usually a good idea not to train them to be spooked by making things scary.
posted by FauxScot at 8:41 AM on February 21, 2007

As radioamy and twistofrhyme say, it's in your best interest and your cat's best interest for you to get over it and do as the vet tells you. I never had trouble pilling or dropper-ing my cats since they knew that once I grabbed the back of their head and pinched on either side of their mouths to open them that squirming and fighting was just going to make the process take longer.

If you're calm about it and sufficiently confident you will quickly get to the point where you do the whole deed before they even have time to register the discomfort, much less get freaked out.
posted by phearlez at 9:27 AM on February 21, 2007

Here's a tutorial on the aforementioned towel treatment.

Not to freak you out, because everybody else seems capable of delivering liquid meds without incident, but I will no longer use liquid meds because it seems likely that our cat may have aspirated some and caught pneumonia. Pills also turned out to be simpler for our cat because it was one or two managable pills versus a daunting volume (several mouthfuls) of liquid antibiotics. Since you have a kitten, your mileage may vary.
posted by Skwirl at 9:46 AM on February 21, 2007

Thirding the toweling technique, but you shouldn't need it with a kitten. Just scruff it, put the tip of the dropper in the corner of the mouth and squeeze. The kitten will instinctively drink it; it's how they got their milk when they were wee little babies. I've also found that pretty much all of the cats I have dosed (and that's quite a few) like the taste once they realize it.
posted by baggers at 10:57 AM on February 21, 2007

I have successfully given liquid medicine to my cats by mixing it with a very small amount of canned tuna (1-2tsp, depending how much liquid you need to hide), its like tuna-mayo but it's really tuna-medicine! In the excitement of getting some tuna, they didn't seem to notice the medicine, so that might be worth a try.

However, I'm going to N'th Janell and twistofrhyme's posts, as both ring true for me and my cats.
posted by Joh at 4:40 PM on February 21, 2007

Sounds like the meds are already compounded. Assuming you're right handed, I recommend scruffing the kitty and holding her in a "football hold" under your left arm. Use your left hand, which is scruffing the kitty, to tilt her head back. With your right hand, place the pipette in the corner of her mouth and shoot the meds in.

Hold her mouth shut with your right hand and then massage her throat to make sure she swallows/to encourage her to swallow.

My now three year old cat was on antibiotics for close to 6 mos because of recurring UTIs when he was a kitten and this was my foolproof method for dosing him.
posted by wildeepdotorg at 6:01 PM on February 21, 2007

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