Cat Medications

Get the Cat Medicine You Need From a Local Vet

There are many reasons that your veterinarian might prescribe medications for your cat. Giving those medications to your cat can sometimes be a bit challenging; if you need help, your veterinary team will be happy to help teach you some tips and tricks. It may also be possible to have your cat’s medication compounded into a flavored tablet or liquid. Talk to your veterinarian about the available forms of any medications your cat may need to take.

If you think your cat needs medicine or has recently been prescribed medicine you are unfamiliar with, contact a local veterinarian to get the answers you deserve to keep your furry feline safe and healthy.

Common Reasons for Medicating a Cat

Cats can have a variety of diseases that require either short-term or long-term medications. Chronic conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are treated with a special diet and daily oral medications. Other chronic conditions necessitating long-term medications are heart disease, hyperthyroidism, and some types of lymphoma. Some medications - like antibiotics and certain pain medications - are given for only a short period of time to treat an infection or wound. And in some cases, there are injectable forms of those medications that can be administered by your veterinarian.

How To Give Oral Medications to Your Cat

  1. It’s important to have a plan of action and be prepared before attempting to give your cat oral medications. On the whole, you have a limited amount of time before they figure out what is going on and begin to struggle and try to escape.
  2. Your first step is to have the medication dose ready to administer, whether it’s a tablet, capsule, or liquid.
  3. Once the dose is ready, it’s generally easier to put your cat up on a table and at your level; medicating a cat while on the floor is quite difficult.
  4. With a tablet or capsule, open your cat’s mouth and notice the V in the tongue at the back of their mouth.
  5. Push the pill past that point in the back of the mouth so your cat can’t push the pill back up with his or her tongue. For liquid medication (depending on the amount you need to give), you can push the end of the dropper into the cheek pouch and administer the medication there. As an alternative, you can work the end of the dropper between the teeth on the side of the mouth and give it there.
  6. It's a good idea to reward your cat with a treat he or she enjoys immediately after giving the medication, particularly if your cat is going to be on medications long term. The goal is to make a potentially negative experience a positive one. Remember to reach out to your veterinary team members for additional cat medicine tips, tricks, and demonstrations.

Other Options for Giving Medications

Some particularly food-motivated cats will willingly take pills that are wrapped in a treat designed for giving medications. There are a few different types available - either a dough-like substance that can be wrapped around the pill or another style that looks like a cup and is then molded shut after placing the pill inside. 

Other medications have a very bitter taste and, if you’re at least able to pill your cat with little difficulty, then placing the pill inside a gelcap to hide the taste may be an option. 

If you’re concerned about putting your fingers in your cat’s mouth in order to pill them, a “pill gun” or “pill popper” may be an option for you. This rubber-tipped apparatus works similar to a syringe. Put the pill in the rubber grip, place the pill gun in your cat’s mouth as close to the back of their mouth as possible, and quickly press down on the plunger to release the pill. Contact your veterinarian if you’d like a demonstration of how this works.

Some cat medications, such as for hyperthyroidism, can be compounded into a transdermal gel. The gel is applied to the inside of your cat’s earflap using an applicator. However, there is some concern about how well the medication is absorbed by this method depending on the gel base that is used by the compounding pharmacy. Ultimately, if there is no other way for your cat to take their medications, the transdermal gel may be an option that your veterinarian could be willing to try. Be sure to discuss the pros and cons of this and all methods of administration with your veterinarian.

Where to Get Your Cat’s Medication

Your veterinarian will have the most common medications in stock and available for immediate dispensing. There are several advantages to this: it’s convenient, the veterinary staff will review dosing and administration instructions with you, and the quality and safety of the product are assured. Some medications may be available at a human pharmacy and can be dispensed via a prescription from your veterinarian. Other medications may also be available through online pharmacies, but many veterinarians are cautious about using online pharmacies since they can’t be certain of the storage, quality control, or general oversight of medicine from online sellers.

Talk to your veterinarian about the options available to you, including any human or online pharmacies they may recommend over others if you are unable to get the necessary medication from your veterinary office.

Medication Refills for Your Cat

Long-term medications usually require your cat to have a check-up with the veterinarian every so often. Your veterinarian will want to make sure that the cat medicine is actually treating the condition and whether any adjustments need to be made before refilling the medication. Some medications have potential side effects, and blood work may be necessary to be certain the medication is not doing more harm than good. When your veterinarian prescribes a medication for your cat, make sure you understand the potential side effects, how often a recheck is needed, and what lab work may be required to monitor your cat’s health while on the medication.

Prescription Diets for Your Cat

Some medical conditions are more easily managed with a prescription diet. These diets have been formulated by veterinary nutritionists working with pet food companies to help manage specific conditions. Some examples of diseases or conditions that may benefit from a prescription diet include:

  • Urinary tract disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Hyperthyroidism

Talk to your veterinarian to learn if there is a specific diet or prescription cat food that could help manage your cat’s health.

Behavior Modification Therapy for Your Cat

Some cats need a little extra help behaving in an appropriate manner. There are some oral medications or pheromone diffusers that may help, as long as all other medical issues have been ruled out by your veterinarian. Each case is different, so an in-depth conversation with your veterinarian will help in creating the best plan of action for addressing your cat’s behavior.

Your Veterinarian Can Help

Giving your cat medications can be a bit tricky but, with practice in trying different methods and help from your veterinary team, you’ll be an expert in no time. 

If you still have concerns about medicine for your cat and how they should be prescribed, reach out to a veterinarian near you to get the answers you need.