Lately I’ve been having a lot of experience with coercing a cat to take a pill. My tom, Bandit (see picture; yes, he's just got one eye and only three instead of four fangs, hence the name), is very ill and he gets three different pills a day.
For all of you who have healthy cats, bear in mind that this might not always be the case. Heaven forbid your cat falls ill anytime, but if it does and you need your cat to swallow a pill, here are some pearls of wisdom (14 steps) I’ve collected over the last weeks. I thought they might be helpful to you, so I'll share.
1. Take the cat into your left arm as if you were holding a baby. Place your right thumb and middle finger on both sides of the cat’s mouth and press softly until the cat opens its mouth. Insert the pill and let the cat close its mouth.
2. Collect the pill off the floor and get the cat from behind the couch. Take it into your arm again and repeat step #1.
3. Get hold of the cat curled up into a ball of resistance under your bed and get rid of the meanwhile gooey pill.
4. Take a new pill from the package, take the cat again into your arm and get hold of the cat’s paws with your left hand. Force the cat’s mouth open and shove the pill into the back of its mouth. Close the cat’s mouth, wrap your hand around it and count to ten.
5. Fish for the pill in the pot of your favorite orchid and coerce the cat from out of the wardrobe in your hall (don’t despair; a little more force is normal and required for this step). Call someone to assist you in the next steps.
6. Kneel on the floor and squeeze the cat between your knees. Get hold of its front paws in a vise-like grip. Ignore the cat’s mean growl. Ask your assistant to hold the cat’s head firmly and to nudge a small ruler into the cat's mouth. Let the pill roll along the ruler straight down into the cat’s throat, quickly shut the cat’s mouth and massage the cat’s neck lovingly.
7. Pick the cat off your curtain. Take a fresh pill from the box. You might want to make a note to buy a new ruler as well as a new curtain.
8. Wrap the cat into a big towel. Ask your assistant to hold the cat firmly so that it still gets some air while only its head peeps out of the towel. Put the pill into the end of a drinking straw. Pry the cat’s mouth open (you might want to use a biro for that) and blow into the drinking straw. The pill should ideally fall into the cat’s throat.
9. Check the package insert for possible side effects on humans. Drink a glass of water to get rid of the nasty taste. Patch up your assistant’s arm (you do have a first aid kit handy, don’t you?) and clean the carpet with cold water and salt. Note that blood will only vanish with cold water and salt; never use soap unless you already have brown patches in your carpet. If this is the case, don’t bother with this part of step #9; nobody will be able to tell the difference.
10. Catch the cat under the bushes in your neighbor’s garden. Take a fresh pill. Put the cat into your wardrobe so that the neck is captured between door and frame and only its head is outside. Be careful that the cat still gets a sufficient amount of air so that it won’t suffocate. Pry the cat’s mouth open with a tea spoon. Catapult the pill to the top of the cat’s pharynx with a slingshot, shut the cat’s mouth quickly and wait.
11. Get a screwdriver from your garage and put the door back into its hinges. Apply a cold compress to the wounds on your face and check the date of your last tetanus shot. You might as well get used to the idea of scars on your face at this point. Don’t be a wimp and cry over spilled milk. Get rid of your blood-drenched t-shirt and put on a new one if you’re concerned about modesty (or scars on your torso also).
12. Call the local fire department and ask them to get your cat from out of the tree in front of your across-the-street-neighbor’s house. Apologize to the other neighbor who has wrecked the fence with his car while trying to avoid running your cat over. Take the last pill out of the package.
13. This is your last shot at giving the cat the pill that may decide over the poor creature’s life or death, so don’t mess up now! Your cat shouldn’t suffer because of your incompetence.
Now. Bind your cat’s front and back paws together with a clothesline. If you don’t have one at hand, you might use any other thin and tear proof rope you have (You pervert you! Too bad those handcuffs are of no use now, eh?). Attach the bundle of hissing cat to the legs of your dining table. Open the cat’s mouth with a crowbar; no other instrument will do at this point. Shove the pill down the cat’s throat, followed by a piece of fillet steak perhaps. If the cat prefers poultry, a piece of finest turkey breast might do also. Hold the cat’s head upright and pour water down the cat’s throat to wash the pill and meat down.
14. Ask your assistant to drive you to the hospital. Keep still while the doctors reattach your fingers, try to stop the heavy bleeding on your arm and pick the pill from your right eye. On your way home, stop by the vet and get a new package of pills. Back home you might want to expand your list of things to buy (ruler, curtain) with a new dining table before you start with step #1 again.
Of course, I haven't had to go through all of those steps with Bandit. He's a good kitty - most of the time anyway. Some of my experience with giving a cat a pill comes from Princess Emily, my other cat. She's such a darling!
I think you can already see by the way Her Royal Highness scowls into the camera that you never want to be in Mimi's bad books.
It's true what they say about cats and dogs: People get a dog and the creature is happy to be part of the family and to get fed on top of that.
But cats select their servants very carefully... They are the ultimate masters. I even think they invented BDSM.
My masters are awake and require to be fed and tummy-rubbed.
I'm coming, oh sweet, adorable, furry, purring bane of my life! Is there anything else I can do for you? I live to serve.