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How to Administer Liquid Medication to Your Cat

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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Many cats only need to visit the veterinarian for routine health care, but sometimes they need treatment for illness or injury. Frequently, medications are prescribed. Once your cat is released from the veterinary hospital, administering home medications can be scary, confusing and, sometimes, difficult to do. Several medications are available in liquid or pill forms. If you feel that the liquid form would be easier to give to your cat, make sure you ask your veterinarian if this option is available.

Most liquid medications come with an eyedropper attached to the lid. If the medication does not come with an eyedropper, using an individually purchased eyedropper or oral syringe will also work.

As a reminder:

1 ml = 1 cc

5 cc = 1 teaspoon

15 cc = 1 tablespoon

  • Draw up the prescribed amount of medication in the eyedropper or oral syringe.

  • Firmly grasp your cat's head using your non-dominant hand. If you are right-handed, use your left hand. Grasp on top of the head, just on top of the ears with the thumb on one side of the face and the fingers on the other. Avoid holding the lower jaw and do not hold it so tight that it is uncomfortable or your cat cannot swallow. You may need someone to help hold the front legs and chest of the cat to keep him still. Some people find that wrapping their cat in a towel or blanket is a good restraint technique.

  • Once his head is held in place, raise the nose to point toward the ceiling. The mouth should then open.

  • Place the tip of the eyedropper or syringe in the mouth just behind the long canine teeth in the area where there are either no teeth or small, flat teeth.

  • Advance the eyedropper until it is just past the tooth line (jaw bone).

  • Slowly administer the medication and be careful not to give it faster than your cat can swallow.

  • Be prepared for some spitting of the medications. If this occurs, do not re-administer another dose unless you feel the entire dose of the medication has not been given.

  • The quicker you perform this procedure, the more cooperative your cat will be.

  • Always remember to praise your cat and maybe offer a treat after receiving medication. This will help make future medicine times easier.

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