My cat was prescribed some ointment drops for yeast infections in both ears.

But, when I try to give him his medicine, he yowls pitifully, fights me tooth and claw, and runs away.

Clearly he doesn’t want it.

Should I physically force him to take his medicine, even though he screams and fights? Assuming he is an anxious and sensitive cat, would this be likely to traumatize him?

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    you can take a look here youtube.com/watch?v=ILVOjfR_LQU maybe you can give medication this way.if you let your cat stand on the table it will make your cat more relaxed and you will avoid the"force"part of your question and please listen to what he say in the video about petting and relaxing the cat before you give the medication.it is not the same medication but you get the idea on how it might be given. Commented Sep 18, 2021 at 4:06

1 Answer 1


Short answer: yes, you should force him. Any ear infection is uncomfortable, itches or even hurts. If you don't treat the infection, there's a risk that it becomes chronic and the discomfort never goes away again. One of our cats went missing for a year and came back with a very severe ear infection. He scratched his cheeks bloody for months and even went deaf on one ear. (Since the ear canal bends towards the nose inside the skull, cats tend to scratch their cheeks instead of their ears when they have an inner ear infection)

Before you even start treating him, prepare everything you need. The shorter the treatment lasts, the less stress for your cat. Having to stand up and grab the medicine prolongs the stress. Have everything you need at arms reach, have every medicine bottle opened and ready to be used, and have a tasty treat nearby to reward your cat.

The best way to treat your cat is to stay calm. Animals react to slightest signs of anxiety and get anxious hemselves. Pet your cat, do the "lazy cat blink" at him to calm him down before treatment.

Then grab and pinch the skin on his neck. This instinctively paralyses him for the duration you pinch his neck and reduces the risk of you causing him pain when he thrashes around.

Quickly apply the medicine to the entrance of the ear. Do not stick the medicine bottle deeply into the ear! That can cause even more damage and isn't nesseccary at all. You can spread the medicine by massaging the ear in circular motions.

Before you release the neck of your cat, hold the treat (like a piece of hotdog wiener) in front of his nose to let him smell it. Then let him go. Either he is so distracted by the treat that he forgets the treatment for a moment or he runs away. Give him the treat anyways to connect the treatment with at least some positive experiences.

  • I’ve read that grabbing a cat by the skin of the neck (“scruffing”) can traumatize it, and some vets swear against it. Is that not a problem in your experience? Also, how would this method compare with a firm “towel burrito”? (I tried gently burritoing my cat earlier, but he was too punchy for me to get ahold of him that way.)
    – Asker
    Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 7:04
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    In my experience, scruffing (if done confidently and calmly) is so much faster than the whole towel burrito procedure. Especially when you are doing something as short as giving ear drops. For cleaning up a wound or something else that’s complicated, wrapping is worth it. It also pays off to “practice” being handled with your cat. There are so many occasions where a quick checkup is needed and if you both can do it “en passant”, there’s no stress at all.
    – Stephie
    Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 7:43
  • Oh, and if you can have a helper, even better. There’s a reason why a surgeon has a bunch of staff handing them the tools etc.
    – Stephie
    Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 7:44
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    Only to clearify: scruffing does not mean lift the cat up (right @Stephie ?) Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 16:41
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    @Allerleirauh I am talking just about a firm grip - no need to lift, drag or even pinch hard. Just get a good hold, and the neck is a handy place. I am not even sure that the paralysis thing will work.
    – Stephie
    Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 16:43

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