How on earth to give a cat Clavamox by mouth?

So… I was sent home from the vet today with a bottle of Clavamox (animal antibiotic) and instructions to "give it to the cat every 12 hours.) You’re supposed to fill a little syringe with the liquid and stick it into the cat’s mouth. I have such a sweet loving cat…

Clavamox everywhere. I don’t think the cat ended up with any of it.

There HAS to be a better way to do this. Wrapping the cat up? Holding her mouth a different way? What???

It takes practice.

Our late Harvey was a strong cat. I would hold him by getting behind him and blocking him with my thighs, and use my hands to hold his torso. ‘Mom’ would open his jaws and quickly squirt – very quickly squirt – the medicine into his mouth. Fortunately, he anti-seizure medication was in pill form, and he happily ate it mixed into a teaspoon of wet food. We had to give Tonka liquid medicine once, because that’s what the vet gave me and I didn’t object. We used a technique similar to the one we used on Harvey. ‘Mom’ could also do it herself, as Tonka spent a long time in shelters and was probably used to being given medicines. But the trick was to get the mouth open and squirt in the medicine very quickly before he could turn away.

A trick to get a cat to swallow a pill is to drop it in it’s mouth, and hold it’s nose closed with your finger and thumb. The cat must swallow before it can breath through it’s mouth.

Whoever it was who thought that making a liquid med for cats that tastes like bubble gum should spend all of eternity cleaning the walls. I’m serious about that. Pills are so much easier, and you don’t have to deal with cleaning up the mess and wondering if kitty has gotten enough to make a difference or if you should try again.

I have learned to never try to give cats liquid meds, its pills all the way.

Put some kitteh treats on the table or counter, then put kitteh on the same forbidden surface. The shock of being allowed up there is often enough to make them easier to handle. Hold kitteh by the scruff with one hand and then hold the pill between your thumb and ring finger. Use your forefinger to push kitteh’s nose up while using your middle finger to push her jaw down. Quickly push the pill down her throat and then give her the treats and some canned food.

This does take some practice, but once you’ve got it down, it works every time.

I hope your kitteh gets better and that you will never have reason to get used to giving cats pills.

I’ve had to do this as well.
I swaddle my cat up in a towel so he can’t struggle then put the palm of my hand over his eyes and gently squeeze on his jowls. His mouth will open . I squirt the medication into his mouth on the side at the back. I find this prevents him from choking or being able spit it out. Then I hold his mouth closed and chin up, and stroke his throat gently until he swallows.

I’ve had to give cats both pills and liquid. Both are a P.I.A.!!!:mad:

I found that trying to mix either in food doesn’t work. One of my cats would eat like a goat until I mixed medicine in something. Then he became finicky as Morris.

Lift the cat by the scruff like it’s mother did. Set her down between your thighs and use them [gently] like a vice to hold her torso. Put your hand around her throat [also gently] and squeeze the sides of her jaw to pop her mouth open.

If you do this quickly and gently [but firmly] this is not as monstrous as it reads.

Squirt the med down into the throat and pinch her nose. She will have to swallow once. When she does, pinch her mouth closed so she swallows all of the med.
If it’s a pill do the same, dropping the pill straight down into the throat.

I got so I could grab my cat and do all this in about 6 seconds.

The cat will never get used to it (I had to do it for the last 4 years of one of my cats life) but the more you do it the more proficient you will get.

And do not feel bad about it. You are doing this because you love your kitty and want the medicine to help her.

Obligatory joke here.

This is similar to my method. Grab cat, roll cat in towel like a burrito, so only head and tail stick out, and all razor sharp bits are tightly wound up. Put thumb over nose until mouth opens. Put syringe in mouth. Squirt in medicine and hold mouth closed. Stroke throat until swallow. Resist temptation to whiiiiizzz cat across room by rapidly unwinding cat by jerking on towel. Gently remove towel. Watch cat streak away with betrayed look on face.

I’ll try some of these. But I really wish I had someone else here to help-- I don’t think this task was designed for one person to do. >:[

Kitty burrito.

Lay towel flat. Place kitty in center, so longest parts of towel are to the left and right of kitty. Fold one end over bum, then wrap the sides over, tucking the first side as tightly as possible around the cat and the other side over top to secure the first. The open end (where the head and front claws are) is then folded around the front, securing the paws/claws and leaving the head out for medicating.

Kitty bib

If kitty is slightly more amenable, as in not fighting all that hard, but swatty, use same towel to make a bib around the neck/chest, with enough length to thwart swatting. Not tight enough to choke the kitty, but hold the towel and scruff at the same time so towel stays in place and so does kitty. At least in theory.

Here’s a video from Cornell on giving liquid meds.

Here’s one on giving pills or capsules.

You can practice with plain water, or try diluting the clavamox with water (once you have the proper dose in the syringe first) which makes more to give but might make it a little more palatable - you can even try low sodium broth. Or try a little bit in wet gooshy, yummy food and if that goes well, give the doses in food - this is only recommended if other methods fail, and if kitty will indeed finish all of the food or won’t get the proper dose.

If all of these fail, how much is the dose? Is it close to 1cc? If so, take it back and ask for the 62.5mg pills, pilling might go better.

At the moment, I am in the exact same situation… after trying and failing with a syringe and getting it all over my clothes, I now just grind a tiny bit of meat and mix in the 2cc’s or so of medicine. Painless process and successful.

I was taught this by a nurse assistant who had been a vet assistant. Cats have reflexes like us, but one not like us. Anyone who has seen a mother feline move litter (lion or Persian) will Know that they can do this and the kittens stay completely still for the duration. I refer to this as the Mother’s Death Grip. They bite the back of the kitten’s neck and twist the skin. This partially occludes the air way but leaves the oesophagus open.

Don’t bite your cat, but grab the back of its neck and twist. The head goes back in reflex and the jaws open and the cat becomes quiescent immediately. Now squirt the liquid or place the tablet at the back of the throat and hold on for a few seconds. The medication goes down the oesophagus straight to the stomach and the cat cannot spit it out. Release cat a step away; the cat will run and hide and pretend that it has not been outwitted by its owner.

The cat will hate you until the next time it is hungry.

I give my cat liquid pain meds everyday by mixing it with cheese paste. He just licks it off my finger. But the taste of that medication is fairly neutral. I don’t know what clavamox tastes like.

(bolding mine) - sage advice there.


Okay… I am seriously going to try the hamburger idea. (already-ground hamburger would work, right?) The other methods-- I’m completely convinced that you need TWO PEOPLE. Or everyone else knows cat hypnosis. I just don’t understand how one person would do this otherwise. She’s a wonderful, sweet, loving cat, but she turns into a little squirm monster.

The weird thing is that she’s actually licking at the Clavamox as the drops spatter everywhere. So I don’t think it’s the taste. I think I’ll try wet cat food, actually, before the hamburger… I would have to go out and get it. More updates as events warrant! :slight_smile:

The cat food idea didn’t work. Through begging and pleading and a few threats, my sister is coming over and helping me. We’ll see how that works.

ETA: I watched the video, and it looks good, but both of those cats in the examples are on drugs!!! Do any cats sit quiet and motionless while this is going on? Who do they think they’re kidding?

Anise - one of the things our pets read from us is ‘our’ trepidation as well - so, your cat may be becoming a ‘squirm monster’ because you are not being ‘firm’ enough.

I know this is true of my dog when it comes to pills and things (thank god for peanut butter and fig newtons) - but when I have to do ear/eye drops or a direct pill , my approach makes all the difference in the world.

So - be confident, be firm - don’t be nervous or “omygodomygodoymgod” about it. get it done and get it overwith.

Just a thought as you deal with your clearly evil overlord.

Good luck, hopefully having a second pair of hands will help. The main key point - whether pills or liquid, whether kitty is being held by hands, thighs, or a towel - is to move as swiftly as possible. This is not the time for slow, deliberate movements.

Give kitty a few treats after it’s all over, too. Some animals will quickly realize that they’re not going to be hurt, they’ll get yummy tasty things afterwards and, most importantly, this IS HAPPENING whether they like it or not.

I’ve heard that you can mix the medicine in with a small amount of butter, then smear said butter on your cat’s paw. It’s their instinct to lick their paws clean, so they’ll eat the medicine.

I wish we had a video of what happened when my sister tried to help with this. :stuck_out_tongue: I could have edited it together with the fantasy instructions from Cornell where they used drugged hypnotized cats that sat still… it could have gone viral on Youtube… Anyway. I really do not understand how anybody gets it to work.

So after all that, I mixed the Claravox with a little bit of cat food and fed it to Amethyst from my hand-- and THAT’S what worked. (Giving it to her in a bowl didn’t accomplish anything.) Then she purred, and we scratched her tummy, and she did that thing with trying to put her head up my sleeve… so there was a happy ending. I guess. :slight_smile: