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I found a sick female orange tabby kitten 4 months ago. One eye was completely covered with the 3rd eyelid, upper respiratory issues and a high fever. She ended up hospitalized but everything came back normal or negative but they do believe it to be feline herpes. She has had to take a lot of medicine at home and when I give it she runs/hides from me for days. Will not come to me for any reason. I do try to act disinterested/bored to get her to let me pet her but she will just run away. When the meds stop she will continue the behavior for a few weeks and then will have moderate trust with me. But she ran a high fever again and had to be hospitalized over night again and need antibiotics and eye drop x 2 daily - she actually did pretty good with these. But they had me start the anti-viral med famciclovir - compounded liquid “bitter masked”. It still must be terrible as she reacts very strongly when I give it. First scratching to get away and then heaves or throws up for about 10-15 mins then seems back to normal. I give 1 ml in a syringe aiming to get as far back in her throat. I do try to comfort her after swallowing but she is scared and fights to get away. This is given 2x daily on an empty stomach for 21 days. But after just 3 days she is not coming near me and I don’t know how I’m going to keep this up.they estimated her to be 6 months when I found her and she should be almost 10 months now but only weighs 6.6 pounds and is very small. Still intact as she hasn’t been well long enough for surgery and plan to wait until about a year since she is an only cat indoors. Specialty eye vet recommended removing the bad eye as it is blind and because it does seem to cause her some irritation - some gunk always around it and she paws at it occasionally. If I have to give her these meds - how will I get her to trust me? It will mean I have to go to her and corner her and block any hiding places that I cannot get into. Being scared like that must be awful for her. But when she’s not sick she is very, very playful with me or anyone. Loves her toys. But right now will not engage with me for treat or toy.

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Unfortunately, handling pets is like handling kids. Sometimes you do have to do something they won't like, and they may be grumpy about it. Youngsters in particular may object because they don't have the experience to know this isn't seriously threatening.

In the end, you just have to decide that "I don't wanna" is not an acceptable answer, give the cat the medical treatment they need, and trust that they'll forgive you. Which they will. They may continue to object to treatment, but they'll figure out that it's normal.

Rewarding them afterward with a treat, or extra cuddling, may help with that process. Like giving a kid a lollypop after they've had an injection, it helps them decide to accept the annoyance.

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  • Some dog and cat treats come in tubes (like toothpaste), which I find to be extremely helpful in situations like this. The treats have a better smell than dry treats and the pets can associate you opening the tube with them getting treats. All our cats and dogs go bonkers for these tubes and cannot resist, even after a negative experience (like ear cleaning) when they actively avoid being touched by us.
    – Elmy
    Sep 10, 2023 at 10:32
  • @Elmy: I usually make those an interactive treat , slowly squeezing the tue for Hazel to lick directly. I know some folks have also found that their cats will happily eat pills with a dab if this stuff on them,though that may depend on how bad the pill tastes
    – keshlam
    Sep 10, 2023 at 15:08

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