Why can't they make tuna-flavored medicine?

I’ve been having to dose my gal’s kitty while she’s out of town (and probably will still be doing it once she’s back). He got into a fight that resulted in an abscess on his leg, and he’s on antibiotics for about a week.

And this must be some really foul (not fowl, unfortunately)tasting stuff! I have to break up the tablet into small pieces to feed him one at a time because every time I dropped the intact tablet into his mouth, he was able to spit it back out before I could close his mouth. Oh, and the first time I did it he scratched the hell out of me trying to get away. I backed off when he started with those deep, low growls.

Then I started wrapping his body in a towel, to trap his legs, and feeding him the broken fragments of the tablet. That has worked a lot better, and I haven’t been scratched anymore. But afterwards, he makes the ugliest faces, shakes his head, and licks out his tongue a lot. It must really taste bad.

Why couldn’t they put some kind of flavoring on the outside that might make it more palatable?

HA! You want fun…try dosing a three month old kitten with antibiotics and vitamins twice a day. Two eyedroppers of the antibiotic per dose, and one of the vitamins.

Half the damn stuff got on his fur, half on me, the couch…ARGH! Was NOT one of my more fun experiences with little Alex.

Geez, I feel lucky - the worst I had was when HyperKitty got fixed and I had to give her some antibiotics. She was too weak to move for a couple of days (or maybe she liked the pampering and apologizing).

Please keep in mind Law #24 of Feline Physics - Law of Pill Rejection - Any pill given to a cat has the potential energy to reach escape velocity.
And for grins and giggles, the rest of them:


1 - Law of Cat Inertia - A cat at rest will tend to remain at rest, unless acted upon by some outside force - such as the opening of cat food, or a nearby scurrying mouse.

2 - Law of Cat Motion - A cat will move in a straight line, unless there is a really good reason to change direction.

3 - Law of Cat Magnetism - All blue blazers and black sweaters attract cat hair in direct proportion to the darkness of the fabric.

Variation: Dark fabric will attract only light cat hair; light fabric will attract only dark cat hair.

4 - Law of Cat Thermodynamics - Heat flows from a warmer to a cooler body, except in the case of a cat, in which case all heat flows to the cat.

5 - Law of Cat Stretching - A cat will stretch to a distance proportional to the length of the nap just taken.

6 - Law of Cat Sleeping - All cats must sleep with people whenever possible, in a position as uncomfortable for the people involved as is possible for the cat.

7 - Law of Cat Elongation - A cat can make her body long enough to reach just about any counter top that has anything remotely interesting on it.

8 - Law of Cat Acceleration - A cat will accelerate at a constant rate, until he gets good and ready to stop.

9 - Law of Dinner Table Attendance - Cats must attend all meals when anything good is served.

10 - Law of Rug Configuration - No rug may remain in its naturally flat state for very long.

11 - Law of Obedience Resistance - A cat’s resistance varies in proportion to a human’s desire for her to do something.

12 - First Law of Energy Conservation - Cats know that energy can neither be created nor destroyed and will, therefore, use as little energy as possible.

13 - Second Law of Energy Conservation - Cats also know that energy can only be stored by a lot of napping.

14 - Law of Refrigerator Observation - If a cat watches a refrigerator long enough, someone will come along and take out something good to eat.

15 - Law of Electric Blanket Attraction - Turn on an electric blanket and a cat will jump into bed at the speed of light.

16 - Law of Random Comfort Seeking - A cat will always seek, and usually take over, the most comfortable spot in any given room.

17 - Law of Bag / Box Occupancy - All bags and boxes in a given room must contain a cat within the earliest possible nanosecond.

18 - Law of Cat Embarrassment - A cat’s irritation rises in direct proportion to her embarrassment times the amount of human laughter.

19 - Law of Milk Consumption - A cat will drink his weight in milk, squared, just to show you he can.

20 - Law of Furniture Replacement - A cat’s desire to scratch furniture is directly proportional to the cost of the furniture.

21 - Law of Cat Landing - A cat will always land in the softest place possible.

22 - Law of Fluid Displacement - A cat immersed in milk will displace her own volume, minus the amount of milk consumed.

23 - Law of Cat Disinterest - A cat’s interest level will vary in inverse proportion to the amount of effort a human expends in trying to interest him.

24 - Law of Pill Rejection - Any pill given to a cat has the potential energy to reach escape velocity.

25 - Law of Cat Composition A cat is composed of Matter + Anti-Matter + It Doesn’t Matter.

You’re giving it to the cat wrong if he spits it out. It’s actually not that hard to get a pill in a cat if you do it right.

First off, you need a good hold on the cat. If the cat struggles when you try to hold it, wrap it in a towel. I sit down, grab cat with right arm. Right hand is at the cat’s head, cat’s body is held between my body and my right arm.

Next, pinch the edges of the cat’s jaw to open the mouth. Cat will now freak out, so hold him tightly with your right arm. With your left hand, stick the pill waaaay down the cat’s mouth. Notice that the tongue sort of makes a bump about 2/3 of the way into the cat’s mouth. You have to get the pill PAST this bump, or the cat will spit it out. Once you stick it past there, remove left hand from the cat’s mouth, and hold the mouth closed for a few seconds. As long as you got the pill far enough down, the cat will not be able to spit it out.

I can do this with next to no hassle, and in only a few seconds. You just have to get the technique right!

Often it’s possible to crush a tablet, say between two teaspoons. Then you could try adding the resulting powder to the food. BUT that makes it hard to tell whether the little darling has in fact consumed all of it, so it would have to be a samll quantity of something that you just know the monster cat would scarf up at once.

Something I haven’t had to try yet, but have wondered about: same as your idea of flavouring the pill with tuna, would mixing the pill into something highly desirable like valerian root or catnip work? It’s not much of a suggestion, as I don’t know whether it would work, but it might be worth a try.

Still, with wrapping it in a towel straitjacket, you seem to have round the solution. Good luck.

by Peggy Althoff and others

They DO make tuna flavored medicine, Mjoll. Our vet gave us some tuna flavored gel to give to our cat for hairball problems.

It was STILL World War Three to get her to take it. She recoiled when I offered it to her. I smeared it on her food and she wouldn’t touch. So I had to force it on her, and because it was gel and not pills, it was even harder to get her to swallow. Finally I just smeared it all over her face; she had to lick it off then.

I guess what I’m sayin’ is: The medicine could be mouse, chickadee or even lasagna flavored, the cat knows it’s medicine and won’t take it.

Although many dog owners will be reading this thread with a smug grin, I will not. My dog used to refuse to take her heartworm tablet. When we hid the tablet in a piece of cheese, or a piece of meat, she would chew the food for a minute or so and calmly spit the tablet on the floor. I still can’t figure out how she did it, or even how she knew the tablet was there.

When my cat was hit by a car (eventually having to be put to sleep) we had to force feed him as he would not eat and swallow on his own. Cat wrapped in towel, syringe full of moist catfood slurry liquified with tuna juice. Ever wear liquified tuna juice catfood for a couple of weeks? Not fun, but worth every day.
The trick to the pill is… Catch cat, wrap in towel tightly, pry open mouth, shove pill into THROAT (not mouth) with finger, close mouth and hold nose up, lightly tap kittys throat to trigger swallow reflex. Bandage finger.

Works for dogs too.

I’m with Athena. Once you learn how, it’s not hard. It’s the learning process that’s hard. I rarely have any trouble, but part of that is 'cuz I’m bigger than the cat is, and willing to use that. Fuck 'em if he can’t take a pill. Trust me, it’s easier to just grab him, force the pill in ( as Athena described ) and let him go than it is to pussy foo…er, fool around. It’s over and done before the cat even realizes what you did to him. That being said, I have a different take on the OP. Forget tuna flavor, the way my cats lick themselves, butt flavored cat pills would be in high feline demand!

It’s easy to give a cat a pill when you know how? I don’t THINK so. You haven’t met my cat. I believe she was taken in by Oscar Goldman and given bionic jaws in a little known operation by Rudy Wells.

I had to give Rowan, a pure bred himalayan that I saved from a nasty living situation, two pills and eye drops. Even wrapped in a blanket, she managed to ribbonize my husband and bit me hard enough in the finger to puncture it. I know how to open their mouths and get the pill in. I’ve done it countless times. Rowan is skillful and a bit evil when it comes to taking her medication.

I just had the little vixen fixed. Her new medication is LIQUID. So much easier than getting a pill into her. And I get to have her in the Elizabethan collar so she won’t get at her stitches. I take just a smidge of delight watching her walk around with a funnel around her head. It seems to make her more humble, and nicer to my other cat.

Like Hastur says, liquid is the way to go. Ask the vet if you can get the same medicine in liquid form. Now having said that, I have a cat that refuses to take any meds…pills or liquid. She has a strong gag reflex and can even spit out liquid. She has a mild case of ashtma and I have to bring her in for shots when she is having attacks.

Good luck!