How to give liquid medication to a cat

How to give liquid medication to a cat


Hi, my name is Dr. Uri Burstyn. I’m a veterinarian in Vancouver BC and I’d like to welcome you to my series
of practical skills for pet owners. Claudia and I are here to talk to you
today about a much requested topic of how to administer
liquid oral medication to cats. Now I already have a video on
how to give pills to cats but veterinarians often prescribe
liquid medications to felines and we’re gonna talk a little bit about why,
and then we’re gonna show you the how. But before we do that,
please hit like and subscribe below. And don’t forget to squish
that bell notification button so that you get updates whenever
I upload a video or do a live stream. And off we go! So Claudia, here is an awesome little cat. She can be quite wriggly though. And when it comes to medicating cats, when cats get sick, like all of us it’s really important to take
your medication on time and unfortunately,
not all cats understand this and not all cats are terribly cooperative
about taking their meds. And sometimes giving a
liquid form of a medication is much easier than giving a pill. Now this is not always the case. Some cats are easier to medicate by pill. Some cats are easier to medicate by liquid. It is just good to have options. Now there’s also,
just for general information, there’s a couple other ways
to get medication into a cat as well. Pills and liquid are the obvious oral routes. There are also transdermal formulations which are typically pastes
that you can actually rub, usually on any part of the skin
that doesn’t have hair, usually on the inside of the ear in cats. So usually on the inside of the ear in cats, right in there that will get absorbed They have their own pros and cons. There are palatable pastes that
some compounding pharmacies make. But giving those is essentially the same
as giving a liquid medication so you’ll be able to see
how to do that today. And of course, there’s also injections and other more technical ways of
getting meds into your patient, but the oral route is always the
simplest, easiest, and cheapest. and most of the time, with the majority of
cats, with a bit of practice, you can do it. Giving medication to a cat, whether it’s liquid, or pill,
or transdermal, is a skill. And like any other skill, it’s hard the first couple times you do it
and then it becomes easy. So you just stick with it, practice and I promise you that 99% of the time, unless you have that one in a hundred cat
that is just impossible to handle, you will find medicating them
to be easy and simple with just a little bit of know-how
and a lot of practice. So one way in which veterinarians
will try to make your life easier- I’m just gonna let Lancelot out. Mr. Lance wandered by. And like a proper cat he’s standing in
the doorway half in, half out of the room. Nope, nope, he now wants to be in the room. Don’t stare at Claudia. Get outta here. Bye Lance!
[Laughs] So here’s the tools you’ll need
to give your cat liquid medication. Now most vets will try
to make it easier on you and try to give you the smallest volume
of drug they can. This will be limited by two factors: One is just the concentration
of the medication and how little of a volume
you can get away with. The other one is the taste, because we often compound medications using some flavor or… to mask- -to mask the taste of the drug, one advantage of giving medications
in capsule or pill form is that often that they’re coated
and they don’t have any taste whereas medications and drugs
are often quite bitter or unpleasant-tasting otherwise. And when you do use liquid medications, you quite regularly have to
compound them into something. You know, chicken paste or even something simple as
glycerin syrup just to kind of mask the taste and texture
and make it a little bit more palatable, meaning to make it taste good enough
that a cat will take it without objecting to it. And usually you will get medication and you will get it in a bottle and
you’ll get either a 3 mil syringe or a 1 mil syringe to administer it. And it’s important to know the difference. So a 1cc syringe contains a maximum volume
of 1 mil of medication. And it’s broken up into 0.1 mil gradations. So this is half a mil, this is 1 mil, this is 0.1 mil. A 3cc syringe will have
a total volume of 3 mils. So this is 3 mils. You’ll probably never
give this much to a cat, because the problem with larger volumes
too is you get a lot of spillage and your drug administration isn’t as reliable. This is 1 mil, this is half a mil. This is a very small volume that you
should probably use a 1cc syringe for. So you have to know- You have to make sure you have
the right kind of syringe. Hopefully your veterinary team
will show you exactly how to use it. But these are the two kinds of syringes
you’re likely to come across when orally medicating cats. So we try to give you the smallest volume
possible to get the job done. And the next step is to draw up
the correct amount! I have a little kidney dish of water here
and I’m just gonna draw up… Let’s say around 0.2ccs.
Pretty easy volume to administer. Now like I said, one of the major issues with giving a larger volume
of liquid medication to a cat is you do get some spillage. The other thing to be aware of is,
because cats can often taste liquid meds, more than they will a capsule or pill, you may get this very alarming
foaming phenomenon. Now when cats taste something that
they find unpleasant or noxious, they can foam at the mouth
like a rabid dog. Just a dramatic, dramatic,
just salivate like crazy. The mouth foams. It looks terrifying to the owner. So sometimes I get owners calling me
like wondering what the heck happened. It’s not harmful. It’s not a bad thing It just means the cat tasted
something they didn’t like and they really object to it,
and so they just foam up. To avoid this happening, you just need to get the medication
to the back third of the tongue. Inevitably this happens when that bad tasting medication
hits the front of the tongue, and the cat reacts poorly to it, and then they may sort of avoid
medication in the future. So the trick here,
just like when giving the pill- and you can look at the
“How to give a cat a pill” video that I published some time ago
for cross reference- is always to get the medication,
whether it’s a pill or liquid, to the very, very back of the tongue. So… Now that we draw up our medication, we’re gonna position ourselves for success, and I feel this is a very, very important
principle in veterinary medicine. You always want to position yourself
for success. In this case, positioning yourself
for success means having your little cat
facing away from you. If you’re right-handed like me, you’re gonna use your left hand for cat, and your right hand for syringe. Usually I just hold it like this with my index finger Bigger syringe is just as easy.
Hold it like that. Gonna put this in the cat’s mouth
and you’re gonna give it the meds. Now the technique here is very, very
similar to “How to give a cat a pill”. You want them pointing,
looking up at the ceiling. You wanna deliver the medication
to the very very back of the throat, and then you want to close their mouth and point their chin at the ceiling
for a count of three. So allow me to demonstrate. Cat positioned. Now, I always sweep the whiskers back
and kind of hold them by their top lips. Medication in.
Back of the tongue. Squirt. One, two, three. Just like that, all done. Cat medicated. Like I said, it’s a skill. First couple of times you do it it’s
difficult and then it becomes easy. So let me demonstrate one more time. Whiskers swept back. Cat up. You work the pill- you work the syringe
into the side of the mouth. Just till they start opening.
Squirt to the back of the mouth. One, two, three. Stroke their little chin.
Easier to swallow. And medication has been administered. So that is how you give a cat liquid meds. Now honorable mention goes to
one particular medication that cats often get called buprenorphine. This is a very common painkiller used in cats. It also comes in liquid formulation but the cool thing about buprenorphine, is that it gets absorbed through
the mucous membranes of the tongue and the gums so a cat doesn’t even need to swallow it. And now when I give buprenorphine
I use exactly the same technique. But if you have a difficult to handle
or aggressive cat, Excuse me, Claudia.
You’re so difficult to handle. You can actually just kind of squirt it
in the side of their mouth. If you guess, you’d get away with
much sloppier administration than you do with most liquid meds. And in really angry cats, you can even wait for them
to open their mouth to hiss at you and you squirt it into their mouth. That’s something you often do in
the hospitals or in shelters when you’re working with really, really
anxious aggro cats. Not something that most owners
have to deal with but just so you know. Medications absorbs through
the mucous membranes you can just be a lot of sloppier
about administrating them and they’ll still do the job. So in terms of pitfalls there really
aren’t that many like I said before. If you hit the front of the tongue
and the medication doesn’t taste good, you will get this dramatic foaming effect. You might also just find the cat
will just drool out or spit out a portion
of the medication dose. This can be avoided by just giving the
liquid meds to the very back of the throat and just pointing that chin
at the ceiling for a count of three. Thank you very much, Claudia. You’ve been a really, really
generous little demonstration cat. Just done wonderfully. I’m gonna give you a little pat on
the bottom. Good cat. Good cat, yes. Squish you. Oh, yeah, of course if they’re wriggling
and trying to get away from you, you can squish them. But positioning yourself for success, again. I think I’m gonna close this video
with just emphasizing that again. Positioning your cat correctly
is the absolute key to having a good experience at this. Don’t try to do it with them
in any sort of angle, awkward angle where you’re reaching around them or
have to really, really contort yourself. You know, they’ll just back up and
you’ll lose the cat, you’ll lose the battle. Just try to have them- as close to
facing away from you as possible. it just really lets you be tucked into your
left arm if you’re right-handed like me. And this really lets you
just manipulate them and my right hand is ready for squishing
until I grab the med. Bam. Cat medicated. Well I hope you found that
to be educational and helpful. If you’d like to see more videos like this I would really appreciate your support which you can express by joining me on Patreon where I have a wonderful community of patrons already, or by getting some “squish that cat”
merchandise like this t-shirt. I also have mugs and a bunch of other stuff! So please support me. I look forward to making more videos
like this and until next time, have fun with your pets
and I’ll see you again.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Thank you, Dr. Uri! My cat Smokey gets liquid meds and I have two questions after watching this.

    1) She is stubborn and will refuse to swallow. (More of a problem with pills than liquid, but you mention a technique here…) Any tips beyond tipping her nose up for three seconds? She has spat things out after 10 seconds. 😐

    2) She takes buprenorphine, so thanks for mentioning it specifically! However, I was told that since it’s absorbed through the gums/under the tongue, you should administer it into the cheek pockets. The idea being that you want it in the mouth against those membranes as long as possible, since once it enters the digestive tract, the body doesn’t absorb it as well. Can you elaborate on your thoughts here?

    Thanks again!

  2. THE DRAMATIC FOAMING EFFECT god I know that too well! It's sort of an anxious reaction for my cat, vet visits are freaking impossible! It's just so much foam and drool and the entire cat is covered in it and it's weirdly slimy and ugh XD Happens always when we start giving meds too. She knows. You pic her up and she already starts foaming.

  3. What the???? why is this in my recommendations??
    Weird coincidence, just yesterday I finished giving medication to my cat, there was a lot of resistance!
    It wasn't as easy like that video XDD maybe if the video was out earlier it would be lol
    (good thing I have a nice cat, she was just very pissed and didn't attack me)

  4. When the cat foams, does that mean the medication was not successfully received and should be administered again?

  5. I tried to give Atticus CBD oil with him towards me. Now he's rubbed the fur off his mouth behind his whiskers so I just give it in his food now. Can you so a video on success stories you've heard or any science behind CBD oil?

  6. I wish I knew this before, when I was young my mom gave my cat medication and the cat started foaming at the mouth. It scared the hell out of me, I thought she was dying…the cat wasn't panicking, she just sat there looking slighly annoyed spitting foam while I was completly freaking out and yelling at my mom to call an ambulance..lol

  7. I had a mouth foaming incident and it scared the life out of me! Lol I seriously thought I had poisoned her!! 😱😱
    Clawdia is such a good girl to do demonstrations so well. 😻

  8. Hey quick question- This came up on another youTube video, Can you talk about the dangers of alcohol and pets? For example, if a dog drinks beer. Thanks! (I'd never give a dog beer on purpose, but I've seen people give beer to their dog and it makes me worry).

  9. I’m always afraid of my cats getting a chipped or broken tooth whenever I have to give an oral medication – either from them chomping down on the syringe (in the case of liquid meds) or from me trying to get their mouths open (from either liquid or pill).

  10. So my cat had to get medication for a week or so and I would mix it with some chicken paste which is her favourite treat. So whenever she saw a syringe it means candy. Fast forward to me studying medicine and having syringes (without needles) laying around (to practice the processes of hypodermic administration) and my cat would steal it and throw it in the kitchen and demand food. Stop, you criminal scum, you've violated the law

  11. LMAO! This cat is obviously a ringer! My cat would start struggling and slapping at me when I put it on the table. Claudia IS very beautiful, however.

  12. Hi Doctor .. My cat Is 4 years old and had her sterilization three years ago she had health problems now she is fine but I have seen with her litter a point of blood which is three days ago she fell from the top of the wheel with the knowledge of eating and natural appetite, what should I do?

  13. "Door: noun, something a cat must be on the other side of."
    Unless, of course, they're standing halfway through while contemplating the meaning of existence.

  14. I can give liquid meds to my mild-mannered cats. However, I will just get bitten or scratched by two of our mean-tempered cats.

  15. Get kitty in position, whiskers back, chin up, wiggle syringe into side of mouth aiming for rear of tongue, and squirt! Now… am I the only one who will swear that the cat executed a perfect eye-roll after that first squirt of water?

    Seriously, this technique works, but yes, you MUST practice. If you're owned by more than one feline, practice on them all.

  16. My cat just got prescribed some liquid medication and I was wondering how I was going to give it to her, then you posted your video! A life saver once again

  17. I just realized clawdia has very round instead of point ears (in some angles you can see it very well) . So cute! And so brave. Squish das girl gently for me!

  18. My cat seems to have a lot of self control when it comes to eating but is there a tell tale sign of overweightness other than them being fat. Hes not fat and hes very active but I could just have a blind eye because i love him lol any tips?

  19. Hi Doc I hope that beautiful black and white sweet kitty is okay?
    Is he/she yours.
    Is he/she happy?
    I truly hope so?

  20. I love how Clawdia has this sudden revelation, oh wait, it doesn't taste bad. I guess owners could also practice with a bit of water. Harder to practice with pills.

  21. what a cute kitty. can you do dogs the same way. can I ask you something. I have a chihuahuas that when it storms are rains. It scares her so bad it will though her in a sizer I dont know what to do.

  22. My little kitty was very sick as a baby so she’s used to taking medication. As soon as I put the little syringe next to her mouth she’ll open and wait until it’s all done 🙂

  23. hi doctor, love your practical skills for pet owners series! youve helped us take the best care of our almost 1 year old kitten🐈 i have a terribly pressing concern though and was wondering if you could do a video covering some ways to keep our long-haired furbabies cool during the intense heat?

    unfortunately we dont have working air conditioning and here in southern california its already gotten unbearable. id love to hear your advice!! we already purchased her a cooling pad but I want to do more.

    please and thank you✌

  24. As someone who has had to give my cat liquid meds daily for the better part of the last year, I definitely would have loved this video when I first started!

    I'd love to see a video on 'things non-cat people should know about interacting with cats', I'm moving in with two decidedly dog people and having something about reading cat body language might help smooth the transition for my furry gremlin.

  25. Can you give the link for syringe I have seen many on Amazon I want to buy it to keep it there for emergencey. What if the cat is nervous I bought a medication bag and wrap a blanket around the bag put a pillow on a big table. I will buy a new one it’s called cat inthebag on Facebook. I feel you can make videos about emergencey supplies Thanks for helping I will save this video for those urgent times!

  26. Dear Dr. Burstyn: I have a question and I'm hoping you can help me. My question is this: do I need to continue to blend two different flavors of kibble (transition her) even if they are the same brand? I ordered a new flavor of the same brand of cat food for my adult cat, Abby. She has been eating Blue Buffalo Wilderness kibble chicken flavor since we rescued her in January. Recently, I ordered "trout" for her and it just arrived yesterday and SHE LOVES IT. (I have just given her a Tablespoon here and there with her regular (chicken) flavor and she's eating both, but diving into the trout). I'd like to dispose of the chicken because I bought too much the first time, being a new cat mama, – and it's six months old by now; this time I only bought a 3 lb bag or so. Or I can continue to blend the two until she's at 100% trout and throw the older food out. Thank you! Love your videos. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KEDS3K2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  27. Had to give a chalky medicine to a foster kitten today . . . it was interesting. I think I'll try this, in combo with a towel hold tomorrow. Kittens are waaaay squirmier than sweet Claudia there.

  28. My cat was injured, and the wound was infected. I brought her to my vet, then the vet gave her antibiotic, 2x a day for 3 ml. Is that okay?
    Edit: she weigh 5,64 kg

  29. I wish this video was around when I had to give my cat liquid oral meds 3x per day! I nearly died the first time.

  30. I love these cat videos so much even though I’m more of a dog person, its probably because I’ve never owned a cat before. Keep it up! 😀

  31. Claudia looks like how I look when I get a massage or back scratch.🙄 2:10 "Head please" 2:14 (Eye roll) "Ok fine then… I'll just move over here". It starts at first like "over here please" and then eventually you just start wiggling around to get that spot that for some reason barely gets touched🙃

  32. Great video. I want to know if I can train my cat to travel with me (especially plane travel) Is it possible ?

  33. 6 Days after the publishing of your video, my cat is now permanent on liquid medication. Your presentation contains very usefull details. The same goes for all your videos. They are helpful. My cats and I thank you.

  34. Hi Dr. Burstyn, my family loves your videos, thanks for sharing your knowledge! We have a much-beloved 15 year old kitty. She's in great health (aside from aging kidneys) and is spry. In a few weeks we're moving to a different house just a few miles away; we've lived in our current house since she was very young. Do you have any suggestions for making the transition to a new house (and yard–she goes outside some) as easy as possible for our sweet girl? Thank you!

  35. Cat: LET ME IN LET ME IN LET ME IN LET ME IN… oh um, I did not expect you to open the door… I just go.Me: So you're telling me I got out of my chair for nothing?

  36. I remember my first attempt to my cat, didn't position properly… i didn't face him away so yeah, its tough hahaha

  37. Hi

    Not related to this video but do you have advice to brush a long hair cat that run away when she sees a brush? I'd to avoid traumatic event, she is taking good care of herself but she still needs a brushing now and then as her hair mats 😓😱
    Many thanks in advance

  38. 5:15 or so… this is a very small volume that you should probably use a 1ml syringe for…
    Just cracked me up.
    Meanwhile, my kids grew up using 60ml syringes as squirt guns

  39. just when my kitty Needs liquid medication 🙂 great Timing. love your Videos, cat has been medicated 👌

  40. Very helpful. Thank you. Can you please put some light on choosing cat food? The battle of dry food and wet food is messing my head. Also the Netflix show "Cat Fooled" scared the cat-poop out of me🤔

  41. Hehe I have a chocolate lab dog and when she needs her pills I'll trick her into thinking I'm giving her a treat and them give her a pill. If that doesn't work I just grab a tiny piece of bread and hide the pill in the bread

  42. My baby boy is sick and his medicine must taste awful, because he always foams his mouth and tries to get it out. I was really worried but this video explained it and taught me how to properly administer medicine to my kitty. Thanks so much doc, this was really really well explained for newbies like me. 👍
    My kitten looks a lot like sweet Claudia here. 💙

  43. I've had cats my whole life, and this was extremely helpful. I wish I had this in the past when I needed to give medication to them, I'm sure it will improve my future relationship with cats immensely.

  44. I need to give my cat antibiotics for the next 2 weeks. I'll be giving this a try. Wish me luck. My cat is demon. The vets are petrified of him.

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