Calming former feral during medication - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-30-2008, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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Calming former feral during medication

As I wrote in another thread, all of my former feral housecats are currently receiving Flagyl. Two of them became so wild and unmanageable that we are having to board them. Now hellion #3 has emerged. Taro had been taking his in a Pill Pocket, but started rejecting them over the weekend, so we have had to start giving him the liquid by force.

He used to be a fairly easy cat to give medication to, but it's been at least a year since we had to do this, and this time he's going crazy. He screams, thrashes, seriously tries to bite us. We have no idea what changed, except that perhaps he has been influenced by his siblings' behavior. We can manage him so far (barely) but if it gets much worse, we will have to board him, too. He is normally completely socialized and docile, even friendly to strangers.

Are we doing something obviously wrong? We medicate in a smallish enclosed room that has a Feliway plugged in, supplemented with At Ease spray. We've experimented with holding him in a couple of different positions, and switching off who holds him vs. who medicates, but right now the only way that works is for my husband to restrain him in a Sphinx position on the table (we learned this from vet techs) while wearing heavy gloves.

When it's over, Taro gets an immediate reward of chicken baby food, which he accepts with gusto -- and is totally mellow and friendly, as if nothing bad had ever happened!

If anyone has any advice, I would be eternally grateful.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-30-2008, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Well, tonight's medication didn't go badly at all. We medicated Yoshi first, since he is fairly mellow and sets a good example. Then we took things verrrry slowly with Taro, talking soothingly and consoling him at every step. He did great!

I guess we should have taken that approach from the beginning. We were just so used to thinking of him as "the easy one" that I guess we rushed too much, not even thinking that he might have been affected by all the recent drama with the other cats. Dumb us.

But I'd still like to hear how others with former (or current!) ferals get things done. What techniques do you all use?
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-30-2008, 10:43 PM
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I think you're doing great, JG! I'm sure you're wrapping your Taro in a large towel. I prefer a liquid medication. Whatever works for the individual cat is the right way!




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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-01-2008, 03:21 AM
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i had a similar problem a while ago. My cat Jitzu is a very nervous girl. SHe's very protective of herself, and has definite boundaries. I'm the only one she really likes, and she tolerates my boyfriend. She's just started trusting me the past year or so because i respect her boundaries...Then she got a UTI.

She had to get the medicine because she was noticeably uncomfortable. The vet recommended a pill, but i knew i'd only get one in her, and then she'd avoid me for weeks. I got the liquid thinking i could mix it with something.

I tried dripping it on her food, she stopped eating. I tried mixing it with wet food, she threw it back up (typical for her with wet food). I tried adding it to her water, but stopped once i realized both my cats would be getting it and i had no way of making sure Jitzu got her full dose.

Finally i tried mixing it with catmilk. It was a delicate balance, if I mixed it with too much catmilk she wouldn't finish it, If I mixed it with too much medicine she wouldn't touch it. But i did get her to down the full course.

It was difficult for the first dose, but i found that if I gave my other cat a small bowl of her own (un-medicated, obviously) first then Jitzu got so jealous that when i put hers down she gobbled it right up.

Maybe that would be something you could try. it's definitely a lot less stress, and if they think they're getting a treat out of it...*shrugs*

Good luck either way!
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-01-2008, 12:18 PM
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I've had some luck mixing dry meds with canned food...something I knew they couldn't resist.




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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-01-2008, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips! We haven't had luck mixing meds with wet food -- they prefer dry food and it's a struggle to get them to eat wet even normally -- but I never thought of cat milk! I will have to try that.

We've used a towel, but find that a heavy denim jacket works better. Stuffing the cat into biking shorts also helps a little, although you need the element of surprise.

And of course, just to confound us completely, this morning Taro decided to accept a Pill Pocket. I'm not complaining -- whatever works is fine with me!
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-01-2008, 12:44 PM
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They just have to be inscrutable, don't they?




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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-08-2008, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm, I'll have to try that. We may have another round of medication coming up soon, since the Flagyl didn't work. I am taking careful note of all these tips -- thanks so much!
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