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32–35 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Kitten

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How to Administer Medications to Your Kitten

Aside from litter box duties, medicating a cat is probably one of the things high on the list of "Least Favorite Things Cat Owners Must Do." We get nervous about the idea of giving our cat a pill or other medications because we know just how sharp those teeth and claws can be and we have an idea in our heads that this task is always a struggle. But it doesn't have to be if you follow the steps below.

  1. First, make sure you and your cat are relaxed. If you're uptight, your kitten is going to pick up on that energy and she'll get anxious too. If you're well prepared and you know what you need to do, the experience of giving a pill will be quite painless for both of you.

  2. Before you start, trim your fingernails so you won't scratch her mouth as you administer the medication. Wash your hands (your cat isn't going to like it if you smell like onions or hand cream or some other offensive aroma), and make sure you have the medication ready. We've found that a counter or table is the best place to give pills.

  3. Pick your kitten up and place her on the counter. Cradle her against your body with your non-dominant arm and then, with your non-dominant hand, hold her head with your fingers pointing in the direction of her nose, and place your thumb on one side of her mouth and your middle finger on the other.

  4. Apply slight pressure to her lips against her teeth, and she'll open her mouth partway. Grip the pill between the thumb and index finger of your dominant hand, and press the middle finger of that hand gently but firmly against her lower jaw. This will open her mouth just enough to push the pill in with the index finger, gently pushing it against the back of her throat. Don't hold her mouth shut or hold her head back because that will make it harder for her to swallow. You can gently massage her throat, and once you see her lick her nose, you'll know she's swallowed the pill.

Note: Do not try crushing the pill up and sneaking it into her food! Some medications are extremely bitter, and mixing those with canned cat food could cause your kitten not only to refuse the medication but to reject that food from now on.

If you're giving liquid medication, hold your kitten the same way as described above, but do not tilt your cat's chin up. Instead, introduce the liquid filled syringe (or eye dropper) just past the lower back teeth and slowly squirt small amounts into the mouth. Pause between amounts to allow the cat to swallow all the liquid. This video demonstrates how to give pills and liquid medications to your cat.

When you've finished giving your kitten her medication, give her a treat and praise her for being such a good, brave kitty.

Here are some more helpful videos: 1) How to administer eye ointment and eye drops and 2) How to give ear drops.

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