Monday, September 14, 2009

Bits and Pieces: Cats

I think of my cat Sweetie Pie as still being a kitten, although she is 7 years old, the youngest and smallest of the three cats who own me. Sweetie Pie has been plagued with ear infections since she was about one year old, the cause of which is unknown; she just gets them. The other cats have had no such problems, at least to date, for which I am am truly thankful, as Sweetie Pie's visit to the vet this past Friday cost almost $100.

Usually, a week to ten days of a topical antibiotic squirted into the ear canal clears up the problem. This time, however, since Sweetie had a similar infection just this past March, the vet has prescribed an oral antibiotic in addition to the stuff in the ear.

For those folks who do not have cats, a note: cats DO NOT like to take pills -- or anything else given to them which is not to their liking! Sweetie Pie doesn't much like having a tube stuck down inside sore ears, either, but performing that task is "a walk in the park" compared to trying to give her a pill.

Gardening Daughter, who is also a cat person, said she would show me how to administer the pill, which is a bit smaller than a standard aspirin. Her process is as follows:

1. Place said cat on the floor and kneel over the cat (Note: one might want to say one's prayers while in this position);
2. Gently but firmly clamp said cat between the knees, cat's head facing outward;
3. Pry said cat's mouth open (all the while trying not to get one's hands ripped to shreds by cat's front claws);
4. Insert fingers, and the pill, between said cat's razor sharp teeth, placing pill as far back in the throat as possible;
5. Immediately remove fingers and clamp said cat's jaws shut;
6. Blow on said cat's nose (this part seems to be the key; for some reason it causes the cat to swallow);
7. Release a very upset cat.

O-K! Like eating a piece of cake, right?

Gardening Daughter demonstrated this intricate procedure for me on Friday evening, was cajoled into coming back here on Saturday to do the same, but was unable to be here yesterday evening when it was time for the pill. What to do? What to do? Sometimes I surprise myself with my foolhardy faux-bravery! Last night was one of those occasions.

My knees being in a somewhat less than desirable condition, I am not able to kneel on the floor (not if I wish to rise again without crawling to a heavy chair and pushing myself up with my arms), so I substituted the top of my higher-than-usual bed, where I could stand and just bend over to do the deed.

I placed said cat on the edge of the bed, rear feet hanging over the side, and gently leaned my body down upon hers to (Hah!) immobilize her -- I can think such foolish thoughts, sometimes! I pried open her jaws and threw the pill in, then clamped her jaws and blew on her nose.

There followed the immediate escape of said cat, with said pill lying nearby on the bedspread -- not even the least bit moist! Said cat was now sitting on the pillow on the other side of the bed sending stares at me that would melt the Polar Ice Cap! "Sweet kitty! Good girl! Come to Mama." Hah!!

After a small runaround, and much sweet-talking, said cat is once more under my control (Hah!, again!) This time I wrapped her body in a crocheted afghan in an attempt to entrap her feet. Once again I pried open her mouth and inserted the pill. I didn't get a chance to clamp her jaws shut before the pill, this time bitten in half and rather moist, was deposited on the bed and she was out of the confines of the afghan and gone.

Did I give up? Pat, the foolhardy? No, sirree!!

Ah! Enlightenment! A bit of information given to me by the vet tech who delivered the pills finally worked its way to my conscious mind. She had told me that the pills were "chewable" and I could break them up and put them in Sweetie's wet cat food. My cats don't eat anything but dry food, so that wasn't an option, or it would have been exercised with the first dose.

Chewable? That means they can be dissolved, right? So... I took the remaining portions of the pill, dissolved them in warm water and sucked them up into a small (needle-less) syringe that I had on hand. (No, I do not now have, nor have I ever had a drug problem. I think the syringe was a leftover from administering liquid medication to a long ago deceased dog. Thank goodness, in this case, that I am a pack-rat. It took me a while to find it, but I did find it!)

Said cat was captured, again; again wrapped in the afghan, jaws pried open, syringe inserted into mouth, and --- with one plunge, the now liquefied medication was administered, and swallowed.


Since there are seven more doses of this medicine she has to take, guess what system I'm going to use tonight?


Arkansas Patti said...

Pat, you are brilliant. I can pill a dog, give shots, but good grief--a cat is a lose/lose battle. The second lose if the skin you part with. I am laughing at a distance for in all my rescues, I have never mastered pilling a cat.
Your idea is great. Thanks

Snap said...

Oh, Pat! Been there and done that! What a wonderful post. I giggled all the way through. Thanks!

NitWit1 said...

The minute I saw the lead I knew I was in for a barrel of chuckles, unfortunately at your expense.

Even small mouth dogs are difficult. Luckie gets her daily meds wrapped in a tiny cheese ball which she swallows whole.

Cats won't do that.

We are dealing with feral cats at council workshop tonight. I dread that.

Btw the red naked ladies are up. They are nowhere nearly as prolificas the pink ones. I think you may have one bunch mixed in your harvest. But one did come up in that main bed. One has come up in a place I did not plant it. And some others are not yet up.

Will be posting some later as well as mums I placed in that bed. They will populate themselves and start over in the spring, if they are like the ones I have previously planted.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Brilliant solution!!!!! Oh, and Sweetie Pie is simply gorgeous!!! Those beautiful blue eyes would capture anyone heart!!! Pat, I am stopping by again to say a very heartfelt and special thank you to you and your church for praying for me!!! It means a great deal to me, and I am so very, very grateful to you for your friendship!! You have been and continue to be a treasured gift from God!!! My love and thanks! ~JanineXOXO

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Pat, I loved this post. I laughed all through it. Your daughter had the right idea---but OH--how I know about getting on your knees these days.

Sweetie Pie has gorgeous eyes. Hope your daughter came back to the rescue... I'm sure that Sweetie Pie will be HIDING from both of you....

Good Luck!!!!

Anonymous said...

Sweeties Pie is cute...and giving a pill to a cat is just about as easy as swimming with one....job well done. I did smile as I read this...being a cat lover.
Hugs to you, Pat.

Wanda said...

You had me on the edge of my chair...picturing the mayhem...glad you won the battle...hope it works again...if you can find her!

Snowbrush said...

I still call my twelve year old blue heeler "Baby Love Girl," and the only way I can hope to get a pill down her is to mix it with a LOT of peanut butter. Her jaws are so strong that I think that would break before they could be forced open.

Gallicissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gallicissa said...

"....sending stares at me that would melt the Polar Ice Cap!"

That is just brilliant, Pat!
Thanks for the infortainment and laughs.

On a related but slightly off topic note, may I please urge you to see the following educational videos?

1. An Engineer's Guide to Cats:

2. Advanced Cat Yodelling:

3. George Carlin saying that dry Cat food is bad for cats:

Peter said...

Sorry that your darling Sweetie Pie has the bother with ear infections.
Been there too, both as an ear infection sufferer and as an administrator of pills to a reluctant cat!

The kneeling with cat wedged has never worked well for me. In my experience, what usually happens is that the cat selects reverse and rapidly exits with me feeling foolish! Last time I had to visit the vet with Ginger suffering from some rat damage to one front leg, I was given the choice of antibiotic by pill for 2 weeks, or..., for a higher price, a slow release antibiotic injection. I looked at Ginger's impressive teeth and claws, my knees turned to jelly, and I opted for the injection and made some mugs with cats on them to help generate the money to pay the bill! It was marvelous to not have to suffer the humiliation and despair of dealing with a cat who won't take a pill.

Your solution to mash up the pill and administer with a syringe is brilliant. I may try that one next time.

Carolina said...

I'm still chuckling. Laughed all the through your post, hehe. Although: poor cat and poor Pat. I can think of funnier things than an earinfection and pilling a cat. It's the way you described it *chuckle*.
Good luck and keeping my fingers crossed that our cats stay healthy.

Hope the weather clears up soon ;-)

Linda Starr said...

Having given many pills to both dogs and cats, I can attest to the difficulty and I love your description. when giving a pill I always hold the animals head up a bit and rub under throat in downward motion while I am blowing on their nose, this supposedly causes them to swallow, thus swallowing the pill. Cats do seem to be able to spit the pill out more often than not though. Being a clay person I have syringes I use to apply liquid clay so your having that item didn't faze me a bit. Cat posts seem to be cropping up all over the place this week as I just posted about mine too Ha! thanks for the great cat story.

Patty said...

Hooray, you won that battle. Now you know how to do the next one. Good luck catching her. LOL

jinksy said...

This took me back! Although I'm not a cat person, it was always me that had to be the pill giver. I used to wrap Mojo in a large towel, clamp her under left arm, left hand over back of head so's I could squeeze jaws open (retaining all fingers), then with right hand, throw pill down throat, sharpish, before clamping mouth shut. Nobody told me about the breathing up nose, but it seemed to work, anyway!

Hilary said...

You sure made me laugh. I know all about pilling cats. I had an ornery old girl with razor-sharp claws who needed to be on regular medication. I became a cat-pilling expert. Though I have to admit, I've never heard about blowing on the nose.. just stroking their throat. Keep in mind that antibiotics do exist in powder form to be mixed with water. You might want to ask your vet to provide that for you if there's a next time. That way you know she's getting the correct dose, and not losing some of the pill to the walls of the syringe. I hope your Sweetie feels better in no time. :)

Fine Life Folk said...

LOL YEah any pet would be upset after the pill-poppin' experience.

Anonymous said...

How is Sweetie Pie doing?
I do hope she is better.
Smiles from Jackie

TSannie said... I see what's going on. Carry on o intrepid pill giver!