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I have very recently adopted a very shy 2-year old cat (Vinyl) from a shelter. Since adoption I have had to take him back to the vets for special care and hospitalisation. Once Vinyl came back from hospitalisation, he started to let me tickle his tummy, was eating well and happy to spend time with my younger cat (9 months - also male and spayed - whom I found stuck in a bush at 4 weeks).

Vinyl has had a very difficult medical and obviously psychological past (found lost in the streets of Paris, with many medical problems). Following his last visit to the vets, yesterday, he seems to have lost all the confidence he was slowly building up with me. And now I have to give him nose drops twice a day. He hides every time he sees me, so I'm not sure how to give him his meds without scaring the poor little boy even more.

Does anyone have any advice?

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Here are some suggestions:

  • Talk to the cat throughout the process. This helps to keep your breathing even. Otherwise, it's natural to hold your breath while giving the medicine, which frightens the cat.

  • Follow a consistent routine. Whether animal or human, the thing that frightens us most is the unknown. The routine will help the cat know what is about to happen. Even if the cat is afraid of the process, he would be more afraid if it has no idea whats coming. For example, I always give treatments in the same spot, and I show the bottle/nail clippers/whatever to the cat.

  • Approach the process with confidence. Try to be relaxed. Try not to feel guilty. If you're stressed, the cat will pick up on it.

  • Realise that this is only a setback in building your relationship with this cat. You may find your relationship even stronger after this.

EDIT: Forgot some important tips.

  • I find it helpful to give the cat a treat both before and after the treatment. This way you start and end on a positive note. During the treatment, the cat will have something to look forward to.

  • Whatever the treatment is, you want to do it efficiently in order to minimise the cat's stress. To give nasal drops, it may help to wrap him up in a towel with his head poking out. This is called a "kitty burrito" or a "purrito". It prevents the cat from struggling, making it easier for you to get the drops in quickly.

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