View Full Version : Cats and medications (pills of all things!) - any suggestions?
05-16-2005, 10:48 AM
Well... for the first time in his pretty long life (13 years and counting), my cat is ill and needs to go to the vet (he's been to the vet before, of course, but never before due to illness).
My question, though, is about giving my cat pills. See, my cat *hates* to travel. Hates it. He screams. He whines. He vomits. He urinates. He, uhm... well, let's just say it's very unpleasant, not only for Izzy but also for me, and for the vet. In his younger years I just did my best to calm him, but now that he's reached what would be considered fairly advanced years for a cat, I am concerned the stress of travel could cause irreparable damage (a heart attack or stroke comes to mind).
So, my vet prescribed some tranquilizers, which should help to alleviate the stress.
The problem I have, though, is two-fold. First of all, these are in pill form. I have no idea how I would get him to take a pill (it's not like I can hand him a glass of water and say "hey, swallow these, ok?"). Does anyone have any recommendations on that?
The other problem I have is that no one at the vets office could tell me how long it would take for these to take affect. I don't want to give them to Izzy too early (thus risking they'd wear off before I got him home from the vet), but if I give them to him too late they might not have taken affect by the time I have to leave.
The <sarcasm>very helpful</sarcasm> suggestion of the woman at the vet's office was "well, give him one today and see how long it takes to take affect, and then you'll know when to give it to him tomorrow." I find that very offensive (what they hell are they thinking - they want me to tranquilize my cat for no reason whatsoever, just so I can "see how long it takes"????? Are they nuts?
So... anyone know how long it would take 5 MG of Diazepam to get a common housecat high?
05-16-2005, 12:02 PM
I haven't seen anything definitive about how long it takes to kick in for cats, but here is some info I Googled:
A page at elephantcare.org (http://www.elephantcare.org/Drugs/diazepam.htm) (!) says, "Diazepam is rapidly absorbed following oral administration. Peak plasma levels occur within 30 minutes to 2 hours after oral dosing." Not sure if that's a general observation or elephant-specific, :wink: but they do have a breakdown of the serum half-life for several species, so draw your own conclusions from that...
First of all, these are in pill form. I have no idea how I would get him to take a pill (it's not like I can hand him a glass of water and say "hey, swallow these, ok?"). Does anyone have any recommendations on that?
You'll want to open his mouth using your fingers and when you get it open, drop that little sucker into the back of his throat. You want to make sure it goes down far enough to avoid a gag reflex. Once you get it in there, close and hold his mouth shut and struck the underside of his throat which will induce a swallowing reflex.
05-16-2005, 02:16 PM
I have done the same thing Betsy suggested, but by all means, wear some good leather gloves while doing so.
Wow, your cat's 13 and has never taken a pill? :shock: With those kinds of off-handed comments from the vet, I'd consider a different place to take my cat. A tranquilizer seems a little bit excessive, but you know your cat best. The question, of course, is whether the tranquilizer is going to last for the trip home or you're going to have to dose the cat twice.
Betsy's instructions for giving the cat a pill are pretty good. Hopefully your cat will cooperate. Some additional tricks are to pull it's head back by the scruff of the neck (this paralyzes the cat to some extent and helps keep it calm). You can make your cat open its mouth by putting your index finger and thumb on each side of its mouth, closer to the jaw hinge and pushing. This is a great way to keep from being bitten and cat is cooperative because it otherwise is incomfortable. If that just won't work and the pill is one you can crush or is a powdered capsule, you can mix it into a small amount of canned food.
05-16-2005, 02:32 PM
but by all means, wear some good leather gloves while doing so. I would think so. :blah: Some additional tricks are to pull it's head back by the scruff of the neck (this paralyzes the cat to some extent and helps keep it calm). You can make your cat open its mouth by putting your index finger and thumb on each side of its mouth, closer to the jaw hinge and pushing. I think I remember my dad doing this when I was a kid (to the cat, not me), and he didn't lose any fingers.
At least with most dogs you have a decent-sized snout to hold onto. Cat noses are too short for their own good.
05-16-2005, 03:32 PM
With those kinds of off-handed comments from the vet, I'd consider a different place to take my cat. Keep in mind that trying it IS the only way to know for sure how long it will take. Whether truly helpful or not, it was the only real answer. (Of course, the amount of food in the cat's tummy would be a factor as well, so YMMV even with a dry run.)
05-16-2005, 09:28 PM
Wow, your cat's 13 and has never taken a pill? :shock:
Yeah - he's always been a *very* healthy cat. The only thing I've ever taken him to the vet for was to be fixed, rabies shots every couple of years, and about 10 years ago when he got his first sebaceous cyst (a recurring problem over the years, but not dangerous and they generally just take care of themselves). This is the first time he's ever been sick, and I'm really hoping he'll be ok. He doesn't even *act* sick, which is the funny part. He just has blood in his urine. The vet said it's probably a urinary tract infection that can be treated with antibiotics, so hopefully it's nothing more serious than that.
With those kinds of off-handed comments from the vet, I'd consider a different place to take my cat.
I actually quite agree, and have for years wanted to change vets. The problem is, no vet will accept you as a new patient without examining you (erm... your pet, I suppose), but travelling is *so* traumatic to Izzy that I have hesitated a great deal to put him through that trauma for no real reason. I suppose I should have scheduled the vet switch for the last rabies shot, but I did that at a rabies clinic instead (was much much cheaper).
A tranquilizer seems a little bit excessive, but you know your cat best.
Trust me - the sedative (not quite so much a tranquilizer - it's not going to make the cat unconscious or anything, it's just going to mellow him out and relax him enough that he won't be stressed by the trip) is definitely necessary. The last time I took him anywhere I really truly didn't expect him to make it home. He is *that* traumatized by being in a car that he just freaks out. It generally takes 2 or 3 days before he'll even start eating again after any car trip, and at least a week before he has any sort of a "normal" behavior. I've never sedated him before, and don't know if it's going to really help or not, but I'm out of options. At 13 years old, I just don't want to risk the visit to the vet causing greater health problems than the problem I was bringing him to the vet for.
Anyway, thanks to everyone for the tips. Wish me luck.
How do you travel with your kitty? Hard cage, soft one? Lots of old towels with a familiar smell on them? Any comforting toys in there with him?
05-17-2005, 06:09 PM
Just got back from the vet about an hour ago. The news is not good news, and I am having to put out a public plea to those of you out there for assistance in helping treat Izzy's condition. You can get full details and follow the saga at http://www.aota.net/forums/showthread.php?p=133224#post133224.
Jason & Izzy
vBulletin® v3.6.8, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.