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I have a 4 month old cat / kitten that comes from a shelter. She is afraid of both my girlfriend and me and still hides in corners after 2 weeks of being here.

She needs eyedrops and medications, which we need to drip in her eyes and put in her mouth. At the moment we try to pick up the cat and force the eyedrops (have not yet done the medications), but this makes her even more scared of us.

How can we give her her drops (up to 6 times a day) and her medications, while at the same time making her get used to us and getting picked up?

Edit: After 2 days of doing the medication /eyedrops first, and then the bribery, our cat-relation has improved.

Here is a picture of Piep enjoying a toy for the first time enter image description here

  • For pills see this question. I'd suggest editing this to focus on eyedrops to avoid duplicating the pills part. – Monica Cellio Dec 21 '14 at 2:14
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I am in the exact situation with a newly adopted cat, and the first rule is that you need to get the medication in, scared or not scared. Part of the cat's fear might well be that she knows that she is made helpless by her eye condition, is in pain, or just feels bad. If this cat is out in a large room, consider moving her into a smaller, more isolated area with beds and toys to make her more secure during the treatment. A new house, rooms and other pets are scary enough without being sick too.

So the best thing is to start by matter-of-factly getting the medication done. Then, you can start the bribery. Use petting and/or treats or food right afterward to put a positive spin on this encounter. If she is so scared she refuses, leave a treat there and leave her in her safe room to eat it in peace. That way the scary encounter has a definite ending.

Then go back in about an hour and have some interactions where nothing bad happens. Bribe lavishly--nothing bad can happen with a cat if you spoil them. This should help reduce the fear when you walk in next time to give medication.

And if none of that helps a lot, well, there's time to recover your ground when the kitten is healthy. A healthy kitten bounces back fast.

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  • 2
    +1 Also add, even if the kitten is not scared of you give a treat after medicine or treatment. In our house we need to trim bunny nails regularly and every encounter ends with some snuggles and a treat. – James Jenkins Dec 20 '14 at 11:00
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In my experience, it really helps to always be upfront to the cat. If you reach for her for cuddling, let her know that - and don’t switch to giving medicine. If you need to give her her medicine, say so, and matter-of-factly just do it, in a professional manner. Get it over with quickly, give her no chance to fight, and give a clear indication (again, including talking to the cat) when you are done.

There’s no reason for prolonged hunting or hurting the cat in any way really: You are that much stronger and in control of the surroundings, just use that to get the thing neither of you likes done quickly.

The big advantage of this approach: The cat always knows what’s coming. If you just pick her up for caressing, she doesn’t need to worry what might be coming. She knows it’s something good. Carrying the cat to her food goes a long way towards making her feel safe on your arms in the future.

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