Pilling cats is a chore. If you’re fortunate that your cat goes ga-ga for treats, flavored pill treats and treat doughs might be a great solution for you and your cat. Cats associate positive reactions to things they like, and the pilling process can be a good experience if your cat feels rewarded from getting something tasty.
Pill pockets are soft treats with a hollow center. You can place several pills inside one at a time and mold the treats around the pills to make it a ball. They are flavored to make it more appealing. Since cats are skillful at detecting medication in their food, pill pockets provide a good option because your cat won’t be suspicious of the smell. The reason cats often reject their regular food when medication is mixed in is because the medication changes the scent of the food. In the wild, cats instinctually sniff meat to determine if it is safe to eat. If the meat has a bad odor, the cat rejects it. This same instinct applies to your cute house cat. If they detect a change in the odor of their food, they determine it isn’t safe. Often, pet owners think if they leave the food out that eventually their cat will eat it. This is not true. A cat will starve before eating food they feel is contaminated. Also, the longer medication sits in food, the more it degrades, reducing its effectiveness. If you use wet food to deliver medication, your cat must eat all of the food within fifteen minutes for the medication to be fully effective.
It’s important to note that not all cats will readily accept pills pockets. Some cats may be suspicious of new treats or may simply not like the texture or flavor of the pill pocket. In such cases, you do have other options. Try a different brand or flavor pill pocket. Flavored pill dough is another option. You can also try crushing the pill and mixing it with tuna juice or chicken broth.
Always consult with your veterinarian before trying pill pockets or other food-based medication delivery options. Your cat may have a specific health condition that prohibits the use of certain types of food items. Be mindful not to overdo it either on the treats. Treats are like eating cookies; if you eat too many your stomach is going to have something to say about it. The same is true for your cat. For example, our Client Director, Danielle, started using flavored dough to give her cats, Tonks and Luna, their daily medication. Danielle found it easier to stuff all their pills into a treat and pill them with the treat ball. Luna loved it, and so did Tonks, except Tonks developed diarrhea from the dough. Danielle discovered that Tonks was sensitive to the flavor, so she changed to a different flavor and Tonks’s diarrhea resolved.
You may find that your cat will not eat the treat every day. Cats are simply not consistent about their food routines. If you are able, using pill pockets and manually pilling your cat is a good option. Not only does it give your cat the reward of getting something that has a good taste, but it also helps them swallow the pills better when wrapped in soft food.
There are many solutions to help you medicate your cat. The important thing to be aware of is the fact that there is no one size fits all solutions. Talk to your veterinarian, friends with pets, and research blog articles for further advice and ideas for administering medication to your cat.