I doubt anything brings forth terror in a cat owner’s heart more than Fluffy’s veterinarian saying, “…and you will need to give this medication to your cat x times a day!” Well, having to give your cat a bath is a near equivalent, but medicine…!
When I learned Andy needs a daily dose of medication for a heart murmur, I was a bit terrorized when his veterinarian mentioned pills. Imagine my relief, then, when he said I could get it crushed and mixed in liquid with any of several cat-friendly flavors! Of course, I chose Andy’s favorite, tuna, thinking that would make this daily task less difficult for us both.
The first day, I messed up on the dosage. attempting to give him something like 1/10th the dose required. Never mind. Most of it went on his fur anyway.
Next, I realized Andy needed a little help holding his head steady for the medicine. Wrapping him in a towel was the ticket! Not only did it help steady him, he looked incredibly adorable in swaddling! 🙂
Of course, getting Andy into that towel was the next challenge. Each day, he taught me new ways to hide from or to evade one’s human. Eventually I caught him, but — think about it — do you really want to stress out a cat with a heart murmur catching him so you can give him heart medication? I decided not.
We now have a happy method of catching the cat, using his love of –ta duh! — tuna-flavored kitty treats. Instead of trying to catch Andy before I give him treats for being a good boy, the tactic I had been using, I let Andy’s anticipation of getting the tuna-flavored treats trap him.
Specifically, I come over to my computer, read through my e-mails, maybe start my blog post for the day. It isn’t long before Andy comes over and pats me on the arm to get my attention. (“Where are my treats!?”) I ignore him or give him a little pat on the head.
This goes on for a time, then Andy plops down on the floor beside my computer. Trapped! I just reach down and pick him up, transport him to the dining room, wrap him in the towel, and squirt the medicine in his mouth. Oh, he squirms, and sometimes some of the medicine gets on his chin or face instead, but cats spit clean themselves, right? He gets his medicine.
While Andy’s still wrapped in the towel, just his sweet face popping out, I rub his head and that little space between his eyes that both my cats loved to have rubbed. I tell him what a good boy he is for a few seconds till he starts to wiggle. When he starts to wiggle, I let him down onto the floor, then put his treats down for his reward.
What I didn’t expect out of this medicine routine as it has evolved is that Andy now is more tolerant of being held, and lets me hold him for longer periods of time. He also seems to be a happier cat than before, more playful, more mean to his brother…. Hey! I was trying to bring this to an uplifting end!
No, seriously, the process of giving Andy his daily dose of medicine brought about the unexpected consequence of a sweeter Andy, an Andy that lets me snuggle him a bit. We are more bonded than ever.