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My senior cat has a chronic illness and needs to take a liquid medicine for the rest of her life to keep her healthy. While she's still largely happy and energetic now, if she doesn't get this medicine, she's likely to decline very quickly.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, she hates getting this medicine. When she realizes I'm giving it to her, she'll try to run away, and sometimes she struggles hard when I administer it, flailing around in a way that I know has to be very uncomfortable for her. Sometimes it goes great, though, and it's over so quickly that she seems more bewildered than anything else.

What really bothers me is that my relationship with her has soured quite a bit since I started giving her this medicine. While she still trusts and loves me more than not, she's definitely anxious when I move my hand towards her head. She's no longer certain whether to expect pets or medicine. And after I give her medicine, she'll sometimes get pretty ticked off at me. These bad moods can last for the better part of the day as she hides under a bed and slinks away from me if I try to climb underneath to give her attention.

I'm not sure how to proceed from here. My cat really needs this medicine, so not giving her anything isn't an option. I can take her to the vet for regular (and much more infrequent) shots, but that medicine isn't as effective, and things haven't gotten bad enough that I think the decrease in effectiveness is worth it.

What can I try to be able to continue giving my cat her medicine while regaining her full trust and ensuring our relationship remains a happy one?

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  • Did you try to mix it into some food? Is this possible with this medicine without loss off effect? Apr 25 at 12:40
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    Have you tried feeding her right after giving the medicine?
    – Berend
    Apr 25 at 12:58
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    It is never easy: pbs.twimg.com/media/EzHiJybVcAU-f3H.jpg
    – C.Koca
    Apr 26 at 0:37
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    Is it possible to have a compounding pharmacy produce a better-tasting version for you? While normally they do fruity flavors for kids, many can also do meaty flavors for animals.
    – Allison C
    Apr 26 at 14:03
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    @AllisonC That's a good idea, I'll look into it!
    – Kevin
    Apr 26 at 15:07
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After a month, I'm happy to say that my cat and I have a much better time with giving her medicine! She still isn't excited to get medicine, but she doesn't fight me with it anymore. And after being given a few minutes to collect herself, she's a happy friend again.

So my answer is, give your cat time and it gets better.


There are a few things that I did that I think helped my cat get used to the new routine with medicine. And giving a cat medicine is going to be a test of your relationship with them. If they know you love them, you have a good chance of getting them to accept the medicine; if they aren't comfortable with you, medicine is going to exacerbate the issues you already have.

Based on my experience, here's the advice I have:

  • Make sure your cat has a lot of positive experiences with you outside of medicine. I went out of my way to make sure I pet my cat or gave her treats more often than I gave her medicine. So most of her interactions with me were very positive ones.
  • Make sure you understand how to hold your cat's head correctly. Ask your vet for help if you're unsure. When I first started giving my cat medicine, I held her whole head in a way that didn't give me much leverage, making the experience much more uncomfortable. I asked my vet for help during our latest visit, and she showed me how to hold my cat's cheekbones, making it much easier for both of us.
  • Comfort your cat after giving them medicine - but do so on their terms. I make sure to give my cat a bowl of milk, one of her favorite treats, immediately after giving her medicine. By the time she's finished it, she's perfectly happy again. And knowing that the milk is coming makes it easier for her to be emotionally ready for medicine. I don't think she'd appreciate getting pets right away, so I don't try that.
  • Give your cat the space they ask for. My cat still doesn't like being touched for a while after being given medicine. Being grabbed and having a syringe shoved down her throat means she's had enough physical touch for a while. So I make sure to let her go as soon as I'm done giving her medicine and dash off to get some space and collect herself. This is comforting to her and lets her get to a place where she's happy with me again more quickly. And when my cat was getting mad at me, the fact that I rarely chased after her and forced her to interact with me anyway meant that I didn't make things even worse between us.

My vet also recommended wrapping my cat in a blanket to keep her from flailing or panicking. I have found that I don't need to do that, but it's something else you can try if you need to.

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    Purritos are very useful for cats who don't want to deal with whatever you have to do. :) Glad to hear she's doing better, this is great information!
    – Allison C
    May 19 at 16:36
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    Thank you for following up with useful advice for anyone else who has a similar problem in the future!
    – StephenS
    May 20 at 0:48
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It’s not that your beloved cat is angry with you darling never think that!! It’s simply the fact that medication for cats is against what they want and we sadly have to give it to them whether they like it or not, some people have to take their cat to a vet weekly so that the vet can make the cat drowsy and it’ll take the medication better that way. When you have to give your cat medication in tablet form be it on its own or mixed with food, it can irritate the cats throat and sometimes cut the throat. Humans dogs AND cats have this issue. Honestly I’d say if possible ask the vet if you’re able to crush it down to put in the cats food or ask them if they can administer it as an injection or your final option would be to ask if they would happen to have effervescent(water solvable) tablet medication for the cat. I really hope this helps

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  • As the first sentence states clearly that the medication in question is in liquid form, this answer doesn't contribute anything to the issue; because different problems require different solutions, it's important to read and understand the entire question first (not just the title) before jumping to write an answer. :)
    – Allison C
    Aug 16 at 13:50

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