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When it comes to giving pills to pets, dog parents tend to have it easier. Put the pill in a little bit of peanut butter or cheese, and most dogs will think they’re getting a treat and wont’ even notice the pill. When it comes to cats, it’s usually not quite that simple. Rumor has it there are some cats who will allow their owners to pill them easily, but if my personal experience and that with veterinary clients is any indication, they’re few and far between.

Options for pilling cats

There are several options for pilling a cat, from quickly shoving the pill deep into the cat’s mouth to using a pill gun to pill pockets to Pill Masker to crushing up the pill and mixing it with a small amount of food (caution: the latter may not be appropriate for all types of medication, check with your veterinarian to be sure.)

Many medications are also available in liquid form, which may make dosing easier for some cat owners. Some can even be compounded into tuna or chicken flavored liquids. Another option may be transdermal delivery: the medication is compounded into a cream that is rubbed on the inside of the cat’s ear.

And of course, there’s always the ever popular kitty burrito method (although I’m sure cats would disagree with its popularity).

In theory, all of these sound great. But there are some cats who simply won’t cooperate. And unless you’ve had one of these cats, you may not understand the emotional toll this can take on the owner.

There are some cats who simply won’t cooperate. And unless you’ve had one of these cats, you may not understand the emotional toll this can take on the owner.

Cats who refuse to take pills, and the humans who love them

I recently talked to a friend whose 16-year-old cat was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, and needs to take medication twice a day to regulate thyroid function. She can’t pill the cat, he won’t take pill pockets, and he refuses to take the liquid form of the medication in his food. She tried the transdermal version, to no avail. She kept trying, for several weeks. At this point, the cat runs from her whenever he sees her coming. He no longer sleeps on the bed with her, or sits next to her when she reads or watches TV. The bond between the two of them is completely broken. My friend is stressed and upset, and so is her cat.

The bond between cat and human is completely broken.

The cat is not a candidate for radioactive iodine treatment, nor is he a good candidate for surgery. The medication is the only viable option to control his disease. My friend is at the end of her rope: she feels like she’s killing her cat because she can’t medicate him, and most of the time she feels like she doesn’t even have a cat anymore since he wants nothing to do with her.

Sometimes, deciding not to medicate is the right answer

I told my friend that she has another choice. Making a treatment decision can also mean choosing not to treat. She can choose to stop giving her cat the medication, and restore the relationship with her cat. She will need to understand what will happen physiologically to a hyperthyroid cat with no treatment. She will need to accept that this will most likely shorten her cat’s life. She will need to monitor her cat closely for even subtle changes, and she will probably eventually need to be ready to make the euthanasia decision.

She’s afraid to tell her vet that she wants to stop treatment. Understandably, this may not be a popular decision with some vets. Vets are trained to heal and cure. But most vets also understand that they’re not just treating their patient, they’re treating the bond between patient and human. And when treatment interferes with the bond to the extent it did for my friend, shouldn’t they discuss this alternative with their clients?

Most vets understand that they’re not just treating their patient, they’re treating the bond between patient and human.

Deciding to stop treatment: my personal experience

I had to make this choice with Buckley. I was fortunate that I had my vet’s complete support when I decided to stop treating her restrictive cardiomyopathy. She was on multiple cardiac medications, and for several months, she happily took them with pill pockets. Once she started to refuse the pill pockets, the only way I could have gotten the meds into her was through force. Buckley was the kind of cat who, at a mere seven pounds, needed multiple veterinary assistants to restrain her to get anything done. I don’t think she ever had an exam that didn’t require at least mild sedation. There was no way I could have pilled her, nor would I have wanted to put a cat with heart disease through the twice daily stress of it. I also knew that she would come to dread contact with me, and I knew I couldn’t have handled that.

I made the choice to stop her heart medications, knowing full well that it would shorten her already much too short life even further. But I also knew it was the right decision for her, and for me. She lived for another month after I stopped her meds, and except for the last few days of her life, her quality of life was good.  If anything, our bond became deeper, knowing that our time together was limited.

If my friend chooses to stop treatment for her cat, she will most likely shorten her cat’s life, too. But what she will gain, in my opinion, far outweighs what she will loose. She will get the loving relationship with her cat back.

This post was first published in April 2011, and has been updated.

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131 Comments on When Cats Refuse to Take Pills

  1. excellent article, wonderful advice, I agree with you a hundred percent. I have been in that situation many times and have done exactly what you suggested.

  2. My senior cat, Moko, was diagnosed with hyperthyrodism about 3-1/2 years ago. The cost of a radioactive iodine treatment was $1300, and without any guarantee of success just too much for our budget. Her pills cost me 40 cents a day and she really doesn’t like taking them. I tried Pill Pockets and they worked – for about two days. I’ve tried putting the tiny 1/2 pill in cheese but she manages to eat the cheese and spit out the pill. I even tried the transdermal gel route but she had a serious allergic reaction to something in the gel and we came very close to losing her over it. While she doesn’t like taking her pills and I’m really not supposed to handle them directly with my hands, I find that the only way I can be sure she takes them is to hold her mouth open gently, pop the pill as far back as I can, and then close her mouth and massage her neck until she swallows. Fortunately, she doesn’t hold a grudge so I guess I’m lucky there. However, one of the things that has surfaced since she was diagnosed is that she may be getting a heart murmur. I can only assume it’s because, like with starvation, the body takes what it isn’t getting in the food from the body itself. Moko eats good most of the time, but is still lower in weight than the vet and I really would like, and she is on-and-off with how much she eats. I take her in for a steroid shot every 30-40 days – can’t do it any more often as that has it’s own issues, but that does boost her appetite and she will gain back a little weight following the shot. It can get stressful but as long as Moko is in good spirits and eating enough, I’ll keep up the routine. I doctor up her food to encourage her to eat and am generous with treats when she wants them. Any food I can get her to eat is a blessing.

    Funny but I had a dog before who had hypothryoidism and after a few months of her pills, which she took easily with Pill Pockets, she didn’t need the pills any more. I wish hyperthyroidism in pets was that easy.

    • Linda, my elderly cat Sam is hyperthyroid and also has IBD, so Methimazole pills made him vomit more. He has to eat only hydrolyzed food for IBD and can’t have pill pockets, treats, tuna, cheese, etc. to hide pills in. We switched to the transdermal and he developed an allergy to it which made his ears very red and irritated. The head of pharmacy at the Vet School here had us discontinue med for 2 weeks and then apply only the vehicle, Lipoderm, used for formulating Methimazole transdermal gel. This is what he was allergic to. Now his transdermal med is formulated with PLO, and he has no allergic reaction. It’s so much easier than pilling the Methimazole which I believe may have an unpleasant taste. The cost of transdermal here is $20. for a forty day supply. It sounds like your cat had a much more serious reaction to the transdermal. I don’t know if you could figure out exactly what she’s allergic to without risking another severe reaction. The I131 is very expensive, but the results at our vet school are 95-96% successful. That’s not 100% but pretty close. I haven’t decided to do it because my cat is 14 and also has IBD. I think the isolation, separation, and limited contact for 3 weeks would be too stressful and could result in a big setback for him. He’s doing ok for now. I do have to give him Prednisolone for IBD with a piller. I gently grasp him by the scruff to tilt his head back slightly. He opens his mouth voluntarily or with a little nudge from end of piller, and I then pop in the pill. It’s over in a few seconds. Sam is a relatively easy cat, but doesn’t like for me to open his mouth or hold it open with my hand. The piller is a life saver for us. I used to worry about hurting his neck or choking him, but I’ve been doing this for nearly two years years now without a problem. I always give the pill right before feeding him to make sure the pill doesn’t just sit in his esophagus. Good luck with Moko!

  3. My Hyperthyroid cat, Maggie, was on Hills Y/D for about 3 years and was doing fairly well. I refuse to subject her to surgery. I recently started her on Felimazolle and she is doing great. She has put on weight and is back to her old self in many ways. The pills are very small and I use a pill gun and, though she doesn’t like it, I am fortunately able to pill her that way. I am not clear if your friend’s issue with her cat is current or was years ago but if current, she might want to try feeding her Y/D only. It worked for Maggie but I have several cats so the Felimazzole is easier for me as I had to keep Maggie away from their food with wasn’t easy.

  4. This is obviously a “hot” topic. I’ve lived with many cats over the years and have yet to meet the cat who could be “pilled” easily. I’ve had two who would let me go thru the motions, get the pill down their gullets without a struggle. But a few minutes later, whoops there’s that pill on the floor. I had one vet who didn’t believe me and said, ‘I’ll show you how.’ He put the pill into the cat, turned around to me, and behind his back she spit the pill out.
    My currant wonderful vet recommends a compounding pharmacy (BCP in Texas) which sends meds to me very quickly when I order refills. 3 compounded forms have worked well for 3 different cats. One had asthma and finally accepted his med which came in a soft chew “treat.” He didn’t think it was a treat, but I cut it up and sandwiched it into a soft treat (Whisker Lickin’s), joking about being a kitty caterer as I cut up the treats into sandwich bun style and put the medication bits inside. This worked for this cat because he loved the treats. (Which he only got with medication in them.) The first time I opened a bag the scent brought him running over from across the room saying, “Hey! whatcha got there?” He took his prednisolone this way for years. After awhile he was so eager for the treats, I just put the med soft chew onto the plate with a few treats and he gobbled everything up.
    I have a cat now who does not like to be touched much at all — she rarely wants any petting and has never considered getting in my lap. To my surprise, she tolerates getting a med in her ear, compounded into a very small amount of cream. If you’re worried about putting it on your finger and absorbing a bit, just put the finger of a soft glove (the type you see in your doctor’s office) on your finger. When I have to do anything like this to her, including an anti-flea treatment, as soon as I’m done I say, “All done, All done” and move away. She quickly came to trust that when I say we’re done, I mean it and she doesn’t have to run from me. I don’t sneak up on her, either. She knows when I’m going to do something she’s not going to like. (She can read my mind. I just think about the anti-flea drops, and she starts moving away.) I talk to her, explaining what I’m going to do and why. Even while I’m gently restraining her to, say, put the cream in her ear, I’m talking softly and lovingly to her.
    The other cat who lives with me now is 16 and has hyperthyroidism. She takes her twice daily liquid med either in food she likes a lot, OR a little bit of baby food (“stage two” meat). Or, Nulo has come out with a soft food-like treat in a tube it’s squeezed from. She likes that, too. But I have to keep changing, daily, what I put the med into. She never eats the same thing two days in a row.
    I highly recommend BCP. They’ve compounded meds into liquids the cats don’t seem to mind the taste of, when mixed with something they like.
    I also strongly recommend telling your cat, when you do get a med into or onto her, “All done,” when you are done. I learned this from a support forum for people with cats with CKD. Thank you, Helen. This has made a huge difference to my Rosie.

  5. I soooo agree with not pilling yr cat if its very difficult. my peachy-pie had to take quite a few meds when she was 15 years old. it was a real struggle and my relationship with her was gone and I cried all the time. I was the enemy and after 7 months of this, she passed on. I will never forgive myself. my little cat sweet-tart 14 years old has had to be sedated just to cut her nails. she is definitely not pillable and I have a horrible feeling she may be diabetic since she drinks and pees like a camel. she appears to be doing fine though very loving. if she becomes ill to the point she can’t get up or won’t eat and is suffering, I have no problem taking her to the vets and not prolonging her life with meds.

  6. When Chuck was first diagnosed, he would happily eat the ‘treat’ we made using pill masker…until, he bit into the glob one day, and got a mouth full of bitter pill taste! The Hubby would then force the pills down his throat, and squirt water down the hatch afterward, but the toll on both human and feline was beginning to spiral out of control. At some point, The Hubby discovered that pilling Chuck when he had just awoken from a nap was the optimal time, since a sleepy cat wasn’t too worried about anything! And, leaving the cat with four paws on the floor was the next best step; The Hubby would squat down, tip Chuck’s head back, open his mouth, and pop in a pill masker blob! Chuck stayed with us for almost three years after his heart defect was diagnosed, and it’s all because of those pills. And yet, we would have stopped pilling him, if his quality of life went down the tubes due to the stress. My heart goes out to your friend whose cat was hyperthyroid.

  7. Knock on wood, crushing Mau-Mau’s pill for hyperthyroidism and mixing the powder into a small amount of kitty treat creme (comes in packaging like a freeze pop) and putting a dollop of the cream on top has worked like a charm. Today I’m going to try a pill pocket….well, it’s not exactly a pill pocket, as I haven’t been able to find the feline kind here in Germany. It’s a soft, chewy treat that I’m going to hollow it out a bit and put the pill in. I watched the video you had linked last week (I think it was) and I hope it will work. I need to change up my strategy a little before she gets wise to the cream. I can’t use the transdermal version as it will interfere with my own medication. She seems to be responding well to the medication (we go for a follow up in a few weeks) but I totally understand weighing in the benefits when quality of life is very compromised.

  8. I understand. I have a cat how will not let me do anything like give a pill or meds. He gets really stressed out and foams at the mouth and runs around the house.

  9. When Pono was alive, he used to take his pills in Pill Pockets without any problem. But towards the end of his life, he started refusing the Pill Pockets and I would have to give them to him the old way. It was heartbreaking having to upset him like that. He did act scared every morning when he knew it was time. The same with Kiki who is dealing with ear problems. She just gets drops, but she has learned when it’s time and runs and hides.

  10. I have had many cats over the years and none of them wanted pills. Sometimes I would be lucky with liquid meds and tuna juice, but I have a cat now who i know will never be fooled into taking any meds whatsoever. I am still amazed that more has not been done to make medicine palpable for cats.

  11. Hello, another suggestion for a short term course of meds or meds taken as needed, is injection. My cat Lewis, who had his gallbladder removed recently, refuses pills, liquids, & most transdermals. My vet worked with me to release him from the hospital with injectable meds. Surprisingly, it is much easier to give him a shot while he’s distracted by treats! Now, this is just a subcutaneous injection (right under the skin). I wouldn’t dare try an intramuscular injection. But, he was able to take his full month long course of antibiotics and nausea meds. I even combined the 2 so I wouldn’t have to stick him more than needed (ask your vet before you do this). He also gets B12 injections every 3 weeks. And he made a full recovery!

  12. I crush up my cat’s thyroid med between two spoons. Place the pill in a teaspoon and use a second spoon to “nest” into the spoon with the pill. Gently press down and crush the pill. Add a little bit of mayonnaise to the spoon with the crushed pill and use a toothpick to stir and mix the pill and mayo together. My cat licks the mayo-pill up with no forcing at all.

  13. I crush the pill and put it in infant baby food meat only. It’s worked for a year, she looks great. Sometimes she skips and I have to put it in raw ground beef, turkey or chicken…. She gobbles away!!

  14. Hello All! I am currently researching how on earth I will be able to get my 17-lb former feral housecat a pill twice a day that he will die without. I’ve spent about $2500 in the last week on treatment and testing. His prognosis isn’t good and I know that giving him a pill twice a day is not an option. He also refuses canned/wet cat food, will only eat hard/crunchy food and treats. However, I’ve come across a place that does Veterinary medicine compounding that I wanted to share with everyone. They have over 80 different flavors for liquid suspension and treats and also make transdermal creams. the website is
    and their phone number is 1-800-718-3588. This is a company about 30 minutes from where I live but they ship quickly anywhere. I hope this can help someone else with a problem piller! Best of luck to everyone, sending all my love.

    • Hi. Since you mentioned treats, I wonder if you’ve tried pill pockets. It’s true that not all cats like them, and as far as I know there are only two flavors for cats: chicken and salmon. My current cats were suspicious of them, but when I gave Mr Fluffy his pill in a pill pocket with a few of his other treats, he gobbled it down. Good luck to you!AND thank you for the info that you shared about compounding.

      • Hey Christine thanks for the advice, I’m willing to try anything. I’m still waiting to hear back from the compounding place to see if the chemist there was able to come up with something for me. I’m trying to give my cat Rutin so I’m actually researching how to bake up something on my own, I’m desperate! He’s an extremely finicky eater and has recently gone 5 days without eating until he got the food he wanted. Hopefully this place will come through with some tasty crunchy treats for him!

        • Hi Carter,
          We have to give our boy the Rutin also, and for the 1st month he did well with the capsules because we would open them and sprinkle the fine powder into tuna water and a little tuna and he would lap it up. He also gets hyperthyroidism meds 2x a day but we use pill pockets and kind of smash it on to the back of a crunchy treat.. but the one of course he really needs now is the Rutin and he has gone 2 days without. I too have been looking online to find recipes maybe to make a ‘dough’ for cats that I can hide pieces of the Rutin in. I tried cooking ground turkey ‘seasoned’ with one 500mg capsule of rutin and he would have nothing to do with it. We have tried smashing an actual tablet into about 30 pieces but the tablet just turns to powder. we would hide those 30 pieces into pieces of pill pockets and he would eat the treats and there would be the little piece of rutin he left … Now I am trying to find a compounding pharmacy (Walgreens does it for pets too just to let you know- and may be cheaper) anyway, my thought is that if I can get rutin compounded into a FLAVORLESS pill or liquid I will have no problem mixing it with tuna or whitefish because I know he smells it and tastes it. I have also seen peoples comments on the flavored compounded pills/liquid and most say their cats still wont take them but on a DVM website it suggest trying flavorless and odorless pills/liquid for the tough patients.
          If you would be so kind and let me know what you found out with having yours compounded I would appreciate it and I will relay what I find out.
          Thank you, good luck and prayers for you and your furry baby.

  15. Thank you for this really helpful article (and also for the comments).
    My cat Polly is already taking thyroid medication twice a day and now she has been diagnosed with heart disease and been prescribed several new medications.
    She is a nervous cat – I am her third owner – and I haven’t even tried to pill her because I think she would just avoid me and be afraid of me.
    Originally she liked one (only) flavour of pill pockets but after a few months she wouldn’t eat them anymore.
    I started grinding up the medicine and adding it to her food – she would eat some but managed to spit out even tiny fragments of the medicine.
    Next I started dissolving the medicine in water and adding cat food – although I had to buy the ‘junk food’ brands. This has been working fairly well and her thyroid levels are good.
    The new medications must have stronger taste or bad taste because she is back to refusing to eat the medicated food.
    I am now dissolving the pills in three different bowls and then adding the food – hoping she will eat at least some of the medicine. The problem is that I don’t know how much of any medicine she is getting.
    I will keep experimenting for now – but I can foresee a time when I might give up and let her enjoy her life and accept that she will not live as long.
    Your article has helped me to think about this decision. Also, I feel reassured that Polly is not ‘abnormal” and I’m not ‘spoiling’ her by not forcing her to take the medicine no matter what.
    I have had many cats over the years and this comment really rang true with me: “No matter what choice you make you will think at some point you should have chosen differently”. This has been my experience and it is great to hear that I’m not the only one!
    Thanks again for all the information, advice and compassion!

    • hi! why donjt you try herbals?My cat also has a severe case of hyperthyridism and there is a herbal option for it…i like it for it takes care of her overproduction of thyroid hormones and also calms her.its drops so no problem putting a little in the food or a tiny bit of cat milk(not too much for its not good for her…)i would buy it and check in some time to see if thyroidlevels came down?

  16. I have had some success by putting the pill in a small amount of petroleum jelly and then into his mouth. Even then I may have to put it back in since he will still spit it out but not as much. We always get it down and it certainly won’t get stuck. As a side benefit he even gets a hairball treatment.

  17. My cat had surgery for severe abscess on check and other areas from chronic ear infections and had surgery for abcesses last week. We were told to pick him up Friday which we did. He had to be on oral as well as pill antibiotics. The tech would not administer pill as she said he needed food first and to give it at home. So we went home gave some food which my cat didn’t eat much and 1/2 hour later my husband put the pill in his mouth, closed it and stroked his neck and I blew on his nose. My cat layed on side and I noticed right away he was breathing heavy and got on phone with tech and was told it was normal cause he was anxious, an hour went by I called again and the guy that answered thought my cat was in pain so I gave him his liquid pain medicine. My cat looked sleepy which I thought was from pain medicine,eyes half open
    but still breathing heavy.Needless to say he passed away several hours later and I regret not taking him to an emergency clinic and wish I didn’t listen to techs and wasn’t so blind at the symptoms. I have no idea if pill was stuck or what caused this. We were never told to give water after pill or anything but I did give alittle in dropper but not sure how long after.Maybe he shouldn’t have been released from hospital but I will never have these answers.

    • Oh Linda, I’m so sorry. I can’t believe the tech didn’t tell you to bring your cat in or take him to an emergency clinic when you reported labored breathing. I hope in time you can find peace with this. My heart goes out to you.

        • hi i have got the most awkward birman in the world on heart meds he literally rears up if you try to pop them in to him THANKFULLY at mo at least there is easy pill a piltable soft sticki type thing i hide it in there from vet with out it there is not a chance i would be able to med him

  18. If forcing my cat to drink a pill is to cure him and make his life longer , i am okay if he hates me. Health comes first and my baby is little yet, 2 years old.

    • This is the way to go IF your cat allows you to catch him but it isn’t easy when an outdoor cat runs and hides in places where he can’t be reached and has always refused to come inside. Pill pockets worked for a while and treats but he would wait until he was out of reach before he would go for it.
      My other cats, indoor outdoor, I was successful with giving medication even if they fussed a bit.

    • Absolutely! Just not for life extension but for quality of life . Thank you so very much for loving your little cat

  19. My large creamy orange tabby Fernando has had to take antibiotics for a finicky stomach a few times a week since we rescued him a little over a year ago. It was a little bit of a learning curve for him and I but he never protested all that much and now It has gotten to the point where I shake his pill bottle and call him and he jumps right up on the couch and calmly lays down and waits for his medicine. If I hold the pill in front of him he will actually gently take it from my fingers with his teeth. The syringes of pain killers we had to give him after a minor surgery were a bit of a different matter though. He was decidedly not a fan of that stuff (he liked it even less when he struggled a bit too much and got some squirted in his eye)

  20. Just read this article, it’s relevant to my current situation. Right now I am in the mindset of “Sometimes, deciding not to medicate is the right answer”. My Minkey (11 y.o. sphynx) collapsed twice this week he’s spent 3 nights in an emergency vet hospital. He has HCM. He comes home a little more lively, but his front leg wrapped from the IV and he has scars from being scuffed. Shooting the crushed up meds down his throat make him foam from the bitterness, he doesn’t eat treats, and he doesn’t like pill pockets. He’s slower, not the same cat and his disease is progressive. I opt for no meds, because he hates getting pilled and even the vets agreed. The anxiety on both ends is not worth it! Animals deal with pain differently than people.

    This paragraph spoke volumes to me:
    “I made the choice to stop her heart medications knowing full well that it would shorten her already much too short life even further. But I also knew it was the right decision for her, and for me. She lived for another month after I stopped her meds, and except for the last few days of her life, her quality of life was good. If anything, our bond became deeper, knowing that our time together was limited.”

    I have a home euthanasia number to call if it gets rough, but I want no more money spent on expensive cardiologists and hospitals to prolong the inevitable. I love my Minkey.

    • I’m sorry about your Minkey, Casey. My heart goes out to you. I hope that the time you and Minkey have left together will bring peace to both of you.

      • Thanks Ingrid for your kind words. It’s nice to see Minkey enjoying today – eating, drinking, sleeping, scratching, pooping, and even joined us at the dinner table at the end. My other cat Zuma is not like him, he would be easier to pill/give treats/sneak in meds.

    • I completely understand your decision. But I would like to offer this…. you mention the bitterness of the crushed up pills. Would putting the pills in a capsule work? At times when I have a couple of pills to give I put them in a blank capsule so I can shot them down all at once. Then I follow it with a squirt of water. But I again, I do understand not wanting to stress your kitty by giving meds.

  21. Give treats after pills. My cat currently needs 6 pills/day and eye drops 4 times/day. She hates these things but shows up asking for them because immediately following pills and drops she gets treats. Lots of them. I also give treats to my 2nd cat. She too, is now trained to show up 4x/day for treats. But she doesn’t get pills or eye drops. Just treats.

  22. my previous cat peachy-pie (16 years young) had liver disease and with great difficulty, mostly unsuccessful, i had pilled, syringed and did everything to keep her well. from the first day i treated her to 1-1/2 years later, peachy hated me and it broke our bond. i went into a deep depression, cried constantly and to this day i will be on anti-depression pills for life. she had to be euthanized in 2006 and as i held her and told her how much i loved her and that i was so sorry for putting her through hell i vowed to never ever put my next cat through this. oogie-boogie is a 13 year old fiv cat and is now showing signs of ill health. she is only eating some pumpkin and a little tuna juice. her back legs are weak and she nearly falls down. i am taking her to vet tomorrow and praying they can treat her with a needle or give me medication in cream form to put in her ears. if not i will cherish whatever time i have with her where i can comfort her until the time comes when she will go on her journey to the rainbow bridge. i am crying as i type this and i know her end is coming soon. i love her so much. she is beside me now in bed looking into my eyes with such sadness. i love her so much.

    • I’m so sorry about Peachy-Pie, June. It’s always devastating to lose a cat, but it’s especially hard when you have so many regrets. I hope you can find peace eventually. All my best to you and Oogie-Boogie. I know it’s hard, but try to stay in the moment as much as you can, and treasure every single one while she’s still with you. My heart goes out to you.

      • thank you ingrid. i know what i have to do for my boogie. i am just praying the vet can give her shots or medication cream i can put inside her ear. so sad.

        • June I am so sorry to hear about your experience with your two beloved cats. I posted here at the beginning of 2015 when I was struggling to pill my lovely but feisty Persian cat Amber after his heart disease worsened. At first it did damage the trust he had for me and I felt so guilty for doing that to him twice a day. Then he grew to accept the syringe and didn’t sulk for long. We had a good eight months ( apart from our venture into acupuncture- but that’s another story!) before he had another crisis last month. This time it was his chronic renal problems that caught up with him. On the second occasion I chose not to treat this aggressively i.e. force feeding and IV fluids ( Sub Q and kidney transplants are not really offered here in the UK)- he hated the vets and staying there over night at his age and with all his health issues would have distressed him and me. The vet said his blood results were so poor the damage would be irreversible and it was doubtful it would buy him any more time, so I petted and pampered him and fed him by hand n the hope he might bounce back. it wasn’t to be and I had to make the difficult decision to let him go when it became clear he was suffering. It seemed totally the right thing to do but again I felt guilty! I read somewhere that grief is the price we pay for loving, and unfortunately if you are a caring pet owner guilt is part of that grief. No matter what choice you make you will think at some point you should have chosen differently, so try not to be too hard on yourself and know that you have loved both your kitties and done the best you could for them. I try and remind myself of this when I feel upset about my boy’s last days. Sending love and a big hug to you and Boogiexx

          • Thank you for sharing your experience, Elaine, and I’m so sorry about Amber. I don’t think it’s possible to not feel at least some guilt when we have to make the decision to end a cat’s suffering, even if we know it was the right thing to do. It’s such an awful responsibility, and yet, trite as it sounds, it’s also the ultimate gift of love.

          • thank you elaine for your kind words. i really regretted doing this to my peachy-pie after she passed and i feel strongly that i will never force meds on oogie-boogie or sweet-tart.

          • ingrid, oogie-boogie passed on to the rainbow bridge november 11 at the vet’s office with me holding her. after all reports came in, my vet said even if i wanted to keep her alive, she would be his cat 90% of the time because she would have required so much medication. he made the decision for me even though i knew i wd lose her. i have a beautiful urn for her. it is a cat angel sleeping on a rock. i had the cat painted in calico colors and her resting place inside is lined with deep blue velour and she lies in a blue velour pouch with a silver cat angel on top of pouch and 6 dried pink roses. i also have her foot print cast in a calico colored small placque in front of her urn. i have pictures of her with cat angels surrounding the urn on shelf. on the shelf below her the same urn holds my peachy-pie with the same items around her. i feel so much inner peace now that she is home as well. sweet-tart is lying beside me now and she is such a love. i remind myself of all the wonderful memories i have of my babies. xoxoxo

          • I’m so sorry, June. I’m glad you’re at peace with your decision, and that you have sweet-tart to comfort you. My heart is with you.

  23. Tears streaming down my face reading this…Pluto my special boy is 14 yrs old and has been diagnosed with Feline Infectious Anemia. He took his antibiotics of doxycycline last Tuesday and Wednesday but then just refused to eat anything they were crushed up in. I got some Lick E Lix Saturday and managed to get him to eat that yesterday with his pills crushed up in iy…but today he just wouldn’t eat it! Today he has hardly eaten anything at all…And I fear I am losing my little man to this infection. He has always been a very feisty boy so there is no way any for forceable methods are going to work on him. At the vets on Tuesday they had to sedate him to examine him and take bloods etc…If he doesn’t take his meds I know I will lose him.When are the drug companies going to manufacture animal medicines properly!! Makes me so mad…they could produce medicines that are at least palatable for our precious pets!! But no…And because of that fact I feel sure I’m going to lose my darling Pluto…

    • Mandy, like Ingrid mentioned, it’s possible that the medication can be compounded into a topical or oral medium. In the past, a local pharmacy compounded an antibiotic into a topical cream that I applied to the cat’s ear, and from there it is absorbed into the body. You may want to consult with your veterinarian for other possibilities of administering the medication they are prescribing.

      • Thankyou for your advice and support…I’ve got 5 days into him via Greenies Pill Pockets. But he is now refusing to eat them…I think I will speak to a pharmacist about this..
        See if they have any ideas. He is a bit stronger in himself and less boney…So going in the right direction..

  24. I realize this is an old post but it’s a recent problem for me. My cat needs meds for a life threatening condition and I have tried so hard, watched and tried to follow every YouTube video with no luck. He clamps his jaws shut and when you get them open constantly moves his tongue and flicks it out.

    I was at my wits end as he wont take it in a pill pocket or food. But then I used a teaspoon and I would use a dry spoon for the first pill (nasty tasting one that starts to dissolve when wet) and put the pill on the spoon slide the spoon into the side of his mouth at the back, use the spoon to keep his tongue down and mouth open and drop it in his throat. I immediately squirt some water in using a syringe and he swallows.

    His second pill is easier as I can put it on the spoon with water and it slips down his throat.

    I find it easier to do it myself I get him between my knees, hold his head by putting my entire left hand under his neck and tilting his head up (fingers pushing the chin back) and then I keep him in place while I insert the spoon.

    It’s done in under a minute with minimal stress to me and him. I am so pleased as I have never been able to give him so much as a worming tablet.

    I was really frustrated that every video showed a docile cat! Mine wriggles, snaps his jaws and flicks his tongue like crazy so the videos were useless. Now I have been doing this for a few days I am much more confident. Before, I was shaking so hard I kept dropping the tablet. I am pretty sure I was the worst person ever at giving one.

    • Well that’s great that you finally became a pro at pilling your cat. I’m SURE that helps others believe there may just be hope for them too!

  25. Thank you so much for this kind and compassionate article. Kramer the cat was born with a heart murmur but has ticked along quite happily for 14 years. He now has blood in his stools which the vet has given me medication for. He is quite wild and feral and is refusing medication. I meditate in the mornings and approach him calmly to give him his medication, trying to pop it into his mouth with a draft of water, unfortunately to no avail, he gets really stressed, as do I and he spits them out. I’ve crushed them and put them in his food, which is refuses to eat! I like you, feel that the stress really is too much for us both. I don’t want to put any stress on his ailing heart and am seriously considering stopping medication so that I can spend my time giving him lots of love and support. I read your article and wept, I love him so much and it’s the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, but I feel in my heart that it’s the most compassionate way to deal with this stressful situation.

    • I know it’s a difficult decision, Tania, and unfortunately, it’s one only you can make. You know Kramer best. Follow your heart.

        • Hi Tania, I posted the comment below yours when I felt I was just upsetting my 18 year old cat trying to pill him twice a day. I am not sure if it helps but I now crush the two pills pop them in a syringe with a tiny amount of milk squirt this down his throat and then feed him a piece of chicken. At first he hated it and fought me and my husband. We were stressed and so was the cat. I am not sure how long you have been trying this for Tania but if it has only been a short while it might be worth persevering? Amber now treats this process as no big deal. I guess he has just got used to it. Kramer being semi feral may not,,,but you never know. I would not have expected Amber to accept us squirting a syringe down his throat either. Absolutely follow your heart and your instincts though. You know your cat best. Good luck. xxx

    • Thanks for the delicate article when i am trying to find a solution for my 19yo cat. So agree with you and the mates here. My cat is always nice and very close with me until recently I pill him twice a day. He hates me now and runaway whenever I called his name. I am so broken-hearted. I tried to talk with him everyday and explain this to him but it’s useless.

      By looking through this article and all the comments from other mates made me feel stronger and I am not alone.

      Great thanks everyone!!

  26. Thank you Ingrid. I tried that today it smelled delicious but he gave it one sniff and walked away! I will persevere for now. He will take pieces of chicken from my hand I just can’t hide his pill in that so easily and if he catches me trying he may trust me even less tricky! Wish me luck.

  27. Hi Thank you for posting and making such a radical but ultimately compassionate suggestion. My Persian cat Amber is 18. He has a heart murmour and has happily taken his heart pill, arthritis meds and constipation meds once a day mixed in a supermarket own brand of cod in butter sauce. Unfortunately Amber’s heart condition has worsened and he needs medicated twice a day just at the point the supermarket has decided to discontinue this product. I am giving the meds disolved in a syringe twice a day while trying to stay calm and find an alternative food to use. However although he doesn’t run from me, he no longer ‘speaks’ to me sleeps on the bed or purrs when I pat him. He looks so sad…and he is making me sad too. He is suspicious of the food I am giving him. He has gone from being contented and living with a human he trusts to being sad and unable to trust. I wonder if articficially prolonging his life by giving him medication is actually the right thing to do, perhaps it would be better to let nature take its course and be ready to have him put to sleep when he begins to be distressed. No easy answer…I am just praying like your friend I find an alternative food he likes soon.

    • My heart goes out to you, Elaine. There is no easy answer in a situation like yours. Have you thought of trying to cook cod in butter yourself to see if maybe the smell will entice Amber to eat it with his meds hidden inside? All my best to both of you.

  28. When I first found out about my foster cat’s cancer (lymphoma), I was scared and ready to start treatment. I started him on chicken flavored chewable tablets, which he liked for about two or three days, then started spitting them back out.
    I tried to use pill pockets, but he only accepted those for a couple days and then refused.
    Now I’m on the liquid medication and it’s easier, but not perfect. I waste medication sometimes when he won’t eat it mixed in with his food, and I just have to wait until he gets pretty hungry and try again. I rub his back when he eats and it’s been the most helpful thing. Petting them as they eat stimulates their appetite. I have no idea why it works, but I foster cats and I’ve done this with several cats who won’t eat, and it generally has helped me. Liquid medication should be chicken or tuna flavored (or mouse, lol) but the medication I have for my cat isn’t flavored. I think they just forgot at the pharmacy or something because I had requested it to be chicken. Oh well, he’s taking it for now. And if he were to stop, there’s no freaking way I’d force him to take pills or liquids. I’ve tried it before and it just stresses us both out and puts me in danger of getting scratched or bit hard. I give my cat prednisone to increase the quality of his life and help him to live longer and happier. If giving medication only serves to counteract my efforts to improve the quality of his life, then I’m straight up just not going to do it. Real talk. I’m not going to stress my cat out when this is probably the last leg of his life. He deserves SO much better than that.

    I started fostering this cat with the idea in my head that he’d be adopted soon. But he’s FIV+, older than 10, all black, and just overall not a good candidate for adoption because nobody wants an old, FIV+ black cat. Nobody but me. I’ve had him for almost 2 years now. And honestly all those people are STUPID for not wanting this cat because he is the most amazing, SWEET, most human-like, most talkative, most interesting, most expressive, most gentle, most kind, most PERFECT cat I have everrrrr met in my entire life. Nobody will ever have a cat like this and all the people who passed him up for adoption just have no idea what they are missing. He doesn’t just meow at me, he trills and tries to say words. He isn’t just a sweet purring cat, he’s the most affectionate and huggable cat that has ever existed. He takes real hugs. His eyes look like a Pallas / Manul cat, and his face looks just like a Maine Coon. He has one floppy ear that just adds to his character. He is scruffy with longish hair and it makes him look like a scrappy old man with an interesting backstory. His feet have little tufts of fur that make me think of a monster from Where The Wild Things Are. He is EVERYTHING. This cat has a soul, he has humanity inside of him. He even gives me a little head nod when I enter a room, the way a cool guy would. My foster cat is the brightest star in the sky and the most humble and loving little creature. Losing him will destroy me but damn I am so lucky that I ever even got to know him.

    • Bless you for taking in your special boy, Bing. “He is the brightest star in the sky” – what a lovely way of putting it. All my best to both of you!

  29. I am having this problem right now. My girl just turned 10 and after months of trying to find out the source of her vomiting, she has been diagnosed with small cell lymphoma. She is healthy in every other way, has a good quality of life but now runs away and hides under the bed. I feel terrible and putting her down is not an option. I am at my witts end and feel like our relationship is being damaged. I know you don’t have any advice for me and it just helps to write it all out.
    Thanks for reading my post.

    • I’m sorry about your girl, Connie. I know it’s really hard when your cat runs and hides from you. I wish I had words of wisdom for you beyond what I said in the article.

      • Boy, between the two of you, you sure have had a bad run lately. Keep us posted on Stirfry and Liberty. I’m sending good energy to both of them.

    • Have you tried using the products from NHV? I am having a horrible time now giving my cat his prednisone too. I have also purchased the natural meds to see if it will help him like it has others. I am trying the ES Clear and the Tripsy.

  30. I am so happy to have come across this posting. We have been trying to medicate our cat with an anti-anxiety medication because of an upcoming move and long car trip involved. He absolutely refuses to take medication no matter how we have tried to give it to him. We have come up with 50 different ways to try to give him his pill and he will have none of it. It would be a beautiful thing if he would just take a pill pocket or take it mixed with a favorite treat but he knows it’s there. The three days we actually got a pill in him it took my husband and I to hold him. The howling that came from the cat and our other cat was terrible. We to have war wounds to prove it. After that experience our cat does not go near us and is suspicious of every movement and that is heartbreaking. We have been trying options for two months and have now decided to let things be. This process is stressing him out so much more. I don’t know what will happen when the movers arrive and begin to pack up the house and then we head out for a 24 hour car trip. He hates to be in a carrier but it is large and he will be comfortable except that I’m sure he will howl for 24 hours. It has been very upsetting but I’m at a loss for what else to do. He does not like other people- he is almost like a feral cat in many ways. We have purchased everything, tried everything and read a million suggestions. Feliway seems to help but I fear the next few weeks. Thank you for posting this topic. I don’t feel so alone. Up to this point everyone I have talked to suggests ways to pill a cat, says it is easy and can’t understand why we are not having luck. I certainly feel for those who have gone through this process.

    • Try using Spirit Essences holistic remedies, Pawsey Girl. I’ve had good results with them for both my own cats and my clients’ cats. There are several different ways to give them, the easiest is to just spray them on your hand and then rub them on your cat’s fur. The formulas I recommend for your cat are Stress Stopper and Easy Traveler: Start using stress Stopper three to four times a day right away, and start Easy Traveler a few days before the move. You may also want to consider Changing Times, you can start using that once you start packing and things in his environment start to change.

      • Thank you for your suggestions Ingrid, however we are currently living in China and do not have access to the products you recommended and would not have enough mailing time (customs,etc) before we have to leave. I did have a look at the products and next time I’m home I’ll look into it. At this point just hoping our cats survive the drive. We have three people and are going to try to drive straight through. I will put a small litter pan in each carrier (carriers are large enough). I know they will howl for hours but I’m hoping that they will, at some point, sleep. 🙂

  31. I have never before read anything which openly discussed our cat situations as individualized. And choosing to potentially not treat our sick animals as an option is amazing. Over the past few years it’s become evident to me that there are many who feel quantity of life is more important than quality as if to deny that someone here CAN get out alive. It’s just not going to happen. So, since we know that sickness and death are natural parts of life, I’m voting with you that with the means and options available to us, we should try to make the quality of our dependents’ lives excellent based on each individual situation. A similar situation presented itself with a stray cat I wanted to become a house cat. Might he choose to be indoor eventually? I don’t know. I’m not clairvoyant. The option is open to him. I, meanwhile, have taken responsibility of fleaing him, feeding him twice daily with high quality food and being responsible for his health (vet trips) as necessary. Could I force him to become an inside cat? Yes, but maybe that’s not his preference. He and my other cats sniff and snarl at each other behind closed doors, but they are still too aggressive to meet. And Loupy (stray cat) attacked me last week for a reason I cannot imagine (a real head-scratcher), so after Tetanus and rabies shots , I am wary and trying to better “listen” to what my cat is saying. Now, we’re spending more quality time outside together. My stray situation is relevant to this article because it got me to think that we maybe let our own emotions (“Am I a bad parent?”, “Will OTHERS think I’m a bad parent?” or “I want to keep my cats around FOREVER no matter what” (we can’t), etc) impact our listening abilities. Of course, there is a difference between your article and negligence. I think you’ve made that clear, but for the flamers out there…just don’t start. We need to do our best for others in any situation. Sometimes, that requires hard choices, but they’re OUR compassionate choices. Best wishes.

  32. I have this problem right now with my Spicy! I have to give her two pills every other day and one pill the other days. She is not my smartest cat but she caught on and runs away if I even pick up her pill bottles! Once she has the pills, she reverts to at least laying near me and she still will sleep right next to me.
    The option not to medicate is not an option to me. And hopefully this will end soon.
    But with Allergic Pnunomia, she had trouble breathing and I could not stand the pain in her eyes!

  33. I’ve had many cats who needed medication, and only ONE of them would use pill pockets. I’ve gone to extreme lengths to pill one of my cats — he began growling whenever he saw me with a pill gun (he never growls!), and he wouldn’t eat pill pockets at all. What finally worked for him was cutting the tablet (not capsule) into 4 teeny tiny pieces, wrapping each piece in a tiny bit of pill pocket, and then covering each of those with a little of his pate-style wet food and giving it to him when he was REALLY hungry…. extreme lengths lol. This took forever!

    For most of my cats, liquid compounds or pill gun (sometimes w/ butter on the pill to make it less dry and then something really special immediately after like a favorite treat or a meal) have been the only answer, but I also would stop treatment if it meant one of my cats being terrified of me or becoming aggressive. Fortunately, I’m pretty creative when it comes to finding ways to give medication…

  34. Thank you for your very informative website. I am right now struggling with whether to continue medication for my 15 year old cat. She fights me on the pills, tried pill pockets and no longer works, crush it up into her food sometimes works but now she’s not eating, tried the burrito method and we both hated it, she even managed to get her paws out. She’s very independent and I keep getting the nagging feeling that I should stop giving her the pills. She has a heart murmur that started 2-3 years ago, no meds for that. She was diagnosed with kidney disease in the last year and hyperthyroidism earlier this year. Also around the same time it was discovered that she has high blood pressure, which to this day we cannot seem to get under control so they add more meds or increase dosages every 3-4 weeks. The vet says that with the thyroid being managed for now that it makes her kidney values better. I don’t really understand that. What I do understand is that her body is shutting down. She is very vocal now when she’s not sleeping and she often runs from me at pill time. I find myself more frustrated and irritable now. And yes the guilt of wanting to do everything in my power to keep her comfy but at what cost now. I know she’s not ready to go yet and know that I will know when its time. I guess I just needed someone to vent to about this whole ordeal. Its not easy at all. But thank you for being a source for me to turn to, I truly appreciate your work here. As an FYI, I was told early on to give her sub-q fluids and that didn’t go well either. I’m guessing that I am hearing her wishes of going more natural (without meds) yet my own fear and difficult time of truly letting go and letting things be as they may is getting in the way of my decision making abilities. Thats what happens when we know what is ultimately coming for our furry babies.

    • I know it’s so difficult to let go of our fear and worry when it comes to making decisions for our cats, Misty. I wish I had easy answers for you.

  35. I also have one cat who runs every time I had to give her a pill. She is 18 pounds but she can really move when she wants to.
    I have been able to catch her by blocking every room and then sticking her between my legs to restrain her without hurting her. Only then will I be able to pill her.
    The bad news is she taught my oldest male cat how to fake taking the pills. Recently he had oral surgery but didn’t want any pain pills. He used to be good about it but he would spit it out when I walked away. I gave up after finding the pills on the floor 2 days in a row.
    I was so glad when the vet told me they could give him antibiotics that would last for 14 days by injection so I didn’t have to worry about an infection.

  36. Glad I found this article via one of your more recent. I can relate to the frustration and sadness of fighting to medicate your cat. Dali is an 11 yr. old tabby cat, diagnosed with hyperthyroid this past summer. He had to be on tapazole and a blood pressure medicine. I was so upset when he began distancing himself from me, especially at a time of illness, because I was chasing him down to wrestle pills in to him. Soon I switched to the liquid tapazole (compounded), waiting till there was a good opportunity of him in a relaxed moment, then snuck up on him and squirted the medicine in his mouth quick. It was over before he knew what hit him. Then for the night dose which included the blood pressure pill (which I didn’t have a liquid of) I put both the medications in some tuna water, which he loves. Just a small amount so I had less worry of him not finishing it, from regular canned tuna. Thankfully he was healthy enough for his i-131 radiation treatment and I saved $$ up for the treatment within a few months and no more medication is required.

  37. My Cat also had hyperthyroidism and eventually refused the pills. I finally decided to quit treating her. I figured it was better for her to have a shortened life that happy than it was to lengthen her life and have it be miserable. I have had to make this decision every time one of my kitties gets older and stops cooperating with treatment. It’s a hard one to make, but I want them to spend their last days as comfortable as possible and not dread seeing me coming toward them. My heart goes out to those who also have to make this decision.

    • hi Amy please try herbals for hyperthyroidism, you can get great mixtures especially for this condition….and she will not hate it….mine takes the drops in a little bit of catmilk.

  38. Thanks for showing another perspective. Not choosing can be a choice which doesn’t make it any easier. The last time Merlin was ill and hating the flavor of the liquid antibiotics, I ground up pills in a mortar & pestle, added water in a dropper and squirted it into the corner of his mouth before he noticed. I followed up with his favorite treat and all was well.

  39. Ingrid, thanks for sharing this information and your experiences. The choice not to medicate is one of the most difficult choices to make ~ I know. We have to honor ~ the cat, ourselves, and the relationship.

  40. Great post, Ingrid. I so agree with the choice to stop pill treatment to save the relationship. I attempted giving fluids to Cinnamon once at home, and once only when I experienced her response. And I made the same choice with prednisone (which may have bought her some time), for the same reasons you describe in your post.

    And one thing I was forever grateful for were the bach flower remedies, which could not cure her but sure did calm her in her final days.

    • Thanks, Dawn. It’s all about making the right choice for each individual cat. When you’re as connected with your cat as you and Cinnamon were, it’s not possible to make a wrong decision. I’m glad the flower remedies helped.

  41. Thank you for such a well-written post about a difficult subject, Ingrid. As we continue to make advances in veterinary medicine, we need to have open discussions about what is best for us and our beloved companions. Fortunately, more treatment options means more treatment options! But as we can diagnose and treat an ever-increasing range of illnesses and our pets live longer lives, we are sometimes put in the position of having to weigh out what that means for their (and our) quality of life. Having a discussion about this and how challenging it is helps all of us.

    • It always comes down to quality of life, Shanna – and that means different things for different people, and for different animals. Hmm – that might be a good subject for another post.

      • Beautifully put, as always, Ingrid! Emma is here on my lap, purring, as she often is when we come to visit The Conscious Cat….the picture of contentment for a 12 year-old tortie…

        A post on that subject–quality of life–would be fascinating, as it is a phrase we use so often. Mitzi’s Person puts it so well: “We have to honor ~ the cat, ourselves, and the relationship.” If we can do that, we are definitely honoring the life of all concerned.

  42. I appreciate you talking about choosing to not treat as a viable option. We tried giving our Little Miss Girl pills to help with her anxiety, but it backfired in a BIG way. Actually giving her a pill caused WAY more anxiety than it helped.

    I also know that if or when I have to think about giving medicine to my grumpy grey, Oscar, it will be a difficult decision. He would be the cat that you spoke of, I’m afraid. He won’t be restrained, and I worry that he would pull away from me like your friend’s cat has done. I would likely try medication, but I do think it might come down to choosing to not treat him.

    Thankfully, right now, Oscar is healthy, though he’s getting old (he’s 14). Henry does have to have medicine, and he does OK, though he hears the medicine bottles, and runs from me. He comes right back and wants love though.

    • Tammy, I feel very strongly that we need to treat each individual animal as just that – an individual. There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to medical care. It sounds like your Henry is one of the forgiving ones, like the one Marg was describing. Here’s to many more healthy years for Oscar so that you never have to worry about this topic with him!

  43. I agree this is so heartbreaking. Last November our 15 year old, 15 pound cat quickly developed CHF and needed several medications. He allowed me to pill him for a few days, and his symptoms improved dramatically. However, over the course of a few days he changed his mind, and it was literally impossible to pill my 15 pound cat. I still have scars on my arms from trying to do the kitty burrito trick, but he was just too strong, and the sessions stressed him so much. If I did get a pill in his mouth he would usually spit it out after I released him. Ultimately, I had to send him to the Rainbow Bridge, and it was awful. Thankfully, my vet was very supportive. She told me about ten percent of cats are impossible to medicate. Unfortunately my Oliver was in that ten percent.

    • I’m so sorry about Oliver, Cheryl. It’s so hard when we have to let them go, and with your situation, there’s always that question of what if he hadn’t fought getting the medication. I certainly went through that after Buckley died.

      I can’t tell you the number of times I heard some version of this story when I worked in veterinary clinics: a client thought her cat was taking medication twice a day, and neither the client, nor our vet, could figure out why the cat wasn’t getting better. Then one day, the client cleaned behind her sofa. There was a little pile of pills behind it. Apparently, the cat had faked it and then spit the pills out behind the sofa!

  44. That is an interesting and great post. I have several cats here that are very easy to pill. One of them I have been giving pills twice a day for 4 years now. I had another cat that was very hard to give pills to, including chasing her around the house etc. and after about a year, she actually got kind of used to me giving her the pills. She never did get mad at me and kept sleeping with me even with me chasing her around to take the pills.
    Now, I do have one cat that is on the feral side and I really don’t think I could give her pills.
    It is a hard decision. Wish they would come out with a shot for the thyroid business.
    Great post Ingrid.

    • Marg, you were lucky that even though your cat didn’t like you giving her the meds, she also forgave you quickly! It is a very tough decision.

  45. Thank you for this insightful and helpful article on a really important topic! This is such an important and tough subject all pet owners have to face at some point, and we all know giving medications to a cat is often VERY difficult. One of my “furry sisters” (my mom’s cats), who looked a LOT like Buckley and Amber, was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and a heart condition too, when she was about 15. We were so lucky because she was such a sweet girl and she accepted her daily treatment as well as frequent visits to the vet’s, and we were so lucky that this didn’t ruin our bond. But I know we were really lucky! She left us these days in April 2008, just before her 17th birthday, we strill miss her madly. I realize we have been very lucky — often we are faced with much more dramatic decisions.
    Thank you again Ingrid for this wonderful and so helpful blog!!! I’m so thankful I discovered it!

  46. Tough one, Ingrid. I would have the same challenges with my Nola if she got sick to the point of having to take meds. Last year, I decided to treat her for an eye infection (the time before I let it run its course) and she freaked. I would get her (I once got her curled up in the litterbox from fright). She is semi feral and up to that point, I had made significant progress with her – she would sleep with me which was unbelievable! After medicating her for 1.5 days, she stopped trusting me and would not come into the bed. I stopped treatment and it took her months before she came into bed with me! Now, she sleeps with me every night and curls up next to me on the sofa as well. Her vet check up is long overdue and I am very concerned about taking her as I’m scared it will set her back significantly. I am torn because I want to confirm she is healthy (she is senior) but if she is diagnosed with something, I would not be able to medicate her. Hmmm…

    The one concern I have for the cat you mention with hyperthyroidism is that she will become very hungry without the meds and I hate to see cats struggling with that. I wish both of them well.

    • I completely understand that you’re hesitant about taking Nola for her check up because you’re worried that something may be wrong. Just keep in mind that there are many different options for many conditions. I think it’s always better to be proactive and to know if something is wrong so you can make informed decisions.

      I know my friend will keep a close eye on her cat and not let him suffer. The good news is that shortly after writing this article, she found a food that he seems to not be able to detect the liquid form of the medication in, so at least for now, she’s able to give it to him again!

    • Pill Pockets can be a great option, Lady Geek. As I mentioned in the article above, I had good success with them with Buckley – up to a point.

      • Some cats like them, some don’t. I got lucky with a former foster who was semi-feral in that he DID like them; otherwise I’d never have gotten medicine in him.

        • Ours loved her pillpockets for about 6 months, then she discovered there was something nasty inside and now bites them in half and rejects the pill bit.

    • My cat is on prednisone and he hates those pill pockets. He took them like twice but he absolutely refuses now. I had to get the liquid medication. The pharmacy was supposed to make it chicken flavored, but it’s not. It smells sickly sweet and gross. I have to mix it in his food. He refused it at first but I stopped feeding him as often as I used to and I started giving him smaller meals. That way he is hungry enough to just eat the food with the pred.

      Another trick is to pet the cat when he’s about to eat and while he’s eating. Petting them stimulates them and it makes them want to eat. I’ve done this with every cat I’ve had just about (I foster cats so I have had many), and it works pretty much every time. Rubbing their backs / petting them while they are eating is immensely helpful. Only problem with putting medication in food is that if you have other cats, they will try and eat it. My other cat ate my sick cat’s prednisone. It didn’t do anything to her because she only had a couple bites from a plate that probably didn’t have much pred left, but it made me worry.

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