No cat enjoys having their mouth pried open and a bitter-tasting pill shoved down their throat. This is why getting your feline friend to take their medicine can prove difficult. The experience can be even more stressful if your cat is sick and you have no choice but to give them the pill. Fortunately, there are several ways you can ensure cat pills go down smoothly. One vet-approved option is using Pill Pockets.
If your cat is unwell, your vet might recommend medications to alleviate the illness. Cat medication comes in a wide range of formulations, including chewable tablets, liquids, tablets, and capsules. Tablets and capsules are usually more difficult to give to a cat because they can see and smell them. To circumvent this problem, experts have come up with several ways of tricking your cat into taking their medicine. You can hide the capsule or tablet in cat food, yoghurt, baby food, butter, cream cheese, or pill pockets. Alternatively, you can ask for a liquid formulation from your vet.
You Can’t Fool Your Cat
Cats eat and drink by sense of smell: they will not consume anything they cannot smell, or that smells bad. This, and the fact that cats have excellent taste buds, means that you cannot fool your cat by sticking a pill into their food. If you do, they will detect it and either refuse to eat the food or eat around it. A Laguna Hills vet, Bernadine Cruz, DVM warns that trying to medicate your cat’s food could put your cat off it for a long time. “…they may never eat that food again, even if it’s not stained with drugs.”
What Are Pill Pockets?
Pill pockets are tiny treats designed to look and function like little pockets in which you can hide pills or capsules. They usually come in different flavors, shapes, and sizes, depending on your cat’s preferences and the type of medication you are trying to conceal. When buying pill pockets for your cat, you need to read the labels properly. The ideal pocket should be healthy, have some nutritional value, and be low in calories so it does not affect your cat’s weight and diet. Using a pill pocket is very straightforward. As with a normal pocket, you insert the pill, pinch the pocket closed and then feed it to your cat. Your cat will usually swallow it in no time, thanks to the flavoring, but you should confirm that they are not just hiding it.
Feline Greenies Pill Pockets
Whenever someone mentions Pill Pockets, the name Greenies comes up. Feline Greenies Pill Pockets are a trademark product in the form of cat treats. Essentially, they are designed to make giving your cat medicine easier by allowing you to hide the capsules or tablets in the built-in pouches. Feline Greenies Pill Pockets are a go-to for many cat owners and vets because the treats are made from natural ingredients and contain essential minerals. They are also healthy and come in different flavors, including chicken and salmon. Generally, the flavor helps mask the taste of the tables. According to the Greenies website, these treats are the “number 1 vet recommended choice for giving pills” and are free of fillers, artificial preservatives, and artificial flavors. They are among the best ways to give your cat their medication without all the stress.
How to Use a Pill Pocket
Pill pockets go a long way in convincing your cat to take their medicine. Even better, pill pocket treats from brands like Greenies are designed and recommended by vets because they are healthy and don’t contain a lot of calories. They are also produced in different sizes to work for any cat age or size. Once you get your pill pockets, using them is very easy. Here is the process:
Step 1: Take out one pill pocket treat and drop a single capsule or tablet into it.
Step 2: Pinch the top of the pocket to close it.
Step 3: Give your cat the treat.
Be very careful when giving your cat the treat so that they do not bite into it and expose the medication. This will make them refuse the treat in the future. Also, unless you get the go-ahead from your vet, you should never grind or crush the pill as it could be bitter or lead to problems like oral irritation. In the event, your cat bites you, wipe the area, clean it with antibacterial soap, and seek immediate medical attention. Cats’ mouths contain a lot of pathogens and bacteria that could cause infection.
Never Dry Pill Your Cat
Dry pilling a cat refers to feeding them a tablet or capsule as-is without accompanying it with water or a treat. This action can create a choking hazard as the pill could get stuck in your cat’s throat. In fact, a 2001 study showed that 64 percent of tablets and 84 percent of capsules remain in the esophagus after up to 5 minutes after swallowing. Another risk of dry pilling your cat is esophagitis, which can result from irritation caused by pills remaining in the throat for too long. Severe esophagitis can lead to permanent blockage.
Do Pill Pockets Work?
Yes, they do. Cats are very picky eaters, so unless you have that one rare cat that loves medicine, you have to get creative so they can take their tablets. Usually, a pill pocket treat will be effective because the flavor and small mask the smell of the medicine, and your cat will be none the wiser.
Just like with baths, cats do not get excited over the prospect of taking pills. Unfortunately, sometimes your furry friend is unwell, and you have no choice but to medicate them. A Pill Pocket treat that tastes and smells nice will go a long way in helping you get your cat to swallow their tablets. Even the most finicky cats will be none the wiser and will gobble up their medicine along with the treat. Remember, when choosing a pill pocket for your cat, find one that is healthy and low in calories.