If your veterinarian has prescribed some kind of medication for your cat to take in pill form, you may be worried about how to get them to eat it. One thing vets often suggest is using a pill pocket treat, which is designed like a soft shell that you can mold around the pill and hide it in. While these treats can be effective, cats are very smart creatures and may not cooperate with the pill pocket right away, which could make you feel frustrated. Here are a few tips on how to get your cat to take their medication with pill pockets.
Pockets First, Pills Later
The first thing to do is to get your cat acclimated to the pill pockets treats themselves before you ever try to hide a pill inside of them. If your cat normally enjoys kitty treats, do whatever you normally do when you give them a treat - shake the bag, talk to them in a happy voice, and get them excited about it. Then give them a pockets or two with nothing inside of it. With a little luck, your kitty will eat them right away, and you can move on to the next step.
If your cat doesn't seem interested in the pill pockets, try tucking a morsel if their favorite food (or another treat) into the pill pocket. The scent of their favorite food should entice them to eat the pocket and become accustomed to the texture and taste.
Hand Smell Counts
Chances are when you try to seal up a pill inside a pill pocket, you use your bare hands to do it. Unfortunately, this can leave your fingers smelling like medicine, which can be a warning flag to your cat that the pill pocket is hiding something they don't want. Washing your hands may not be enough to remove the smell, either. Cats' noses are much more sensitive than humans', with 80 million scent receptors versus humans' 5 million.
Instead of picking up the pill in your fingers and placing it in the treat, try using a tweezer or even chopsticks to pick up the pill. Set it in the treat, and then pinch it closed with your tool, rather than your fingers. This will prevent the medicine smell from spreading to your hands, and your kitty should be none the wiser to your ulterior motives.
Break it Up
Another common mistake is trying to stuff an entire pill into a pill pocket. If it's a fairly large pill, the pill pocket may tear around the pill, revealing the pill. Even if it doesn't tear, your kitty may take one bite into the pill pocket and get a mouthful of large, hard pill, and promptly spit it back out.
You shouldn't break up your cat's medication over the course of a day without a veterinarian's permission, but there's no harm in splitting the pill into pieces and giving all of them to your cat in multiple pockets. This should prevent the treat from tearing, and reduce the chance of your cat spitting the pill back out.
It's tricky getting a cat to take medication, but it can be done. With these tips, your kitty should be enthusiastic about taking their new pill pocket treats, and if done correctly, they'll be none the wiser that there's a medicinal surprise inside. Contact a business, such as the Peninsula Crossing Animal Hospital veterinary clinic, for more information.