Thursday, June 10, 2010

Calling All Cat Lovers

So I know there's gotta be a few incorrigible cat ladies (or cat guys) out there who are well-versed in the way of cat. The kind of cat people that, say, accidentally toss the corner of a cat-hair laden blanket over their peanut butter bagel and are so resigned to their cat persondom that instead of just throwing the hairy bagel away, they carefully hold it up to the sunlight and extract as much of the hair from the peanut butter as they can see and then proceed to eat it in a shaded area so that they at least won't have to SEE all the little glimmers of cat hair that they're consuming. Not that I'm saying *I* did that 20 minutes ago. With a glass of lemonade that was sitting next to a wobbly tumbleweed of accumulated cat hair. Oh no. But that YOU might be the kind of person to do that.

In which case: I need your help.

I have three lovely adorable wonderful cats. And I recently found out they have giardia. (Presumably the newest of the three brought it in with her, to my great joy.) They all have diarrhea (some of them bloody diarrhea), their stomachs are constantly and loudly churning away, and their coats are getting faded in color since (presumably) their nutrients are getting leached (I've been giving them vitamin treats in an attempt to help with this). So I've been (trying) to treat them all. I've done so, unsuccesfully, twice already. And I'm on my third attempt.

The problem is, the medication is horribly horribly bitter and cats hate it. (For those of you well-versed in cat meds, they've had two runs at the panacur with no luck and this is their second run at metronizadole.)

One of my cats I can pill. And she's easy-going enough that I can trick her.

The other cat, I could pill if I wanted, but she's a wee bit of an evil hellion, so I'm doing my best to work around it.

The third cat, bless her heart, is a little weirdo who is afraid of people and refuses to let me pick her up. Ever. Needless to say, pilling is not an option. She also apparently has the superheroic ability to discern even something SLIGHTLY out of place in her food. I have had the medicine COMPOUNDED into a mothereffing a) treat, b) ear-ointment, and c) flavorless liquid for her, and a) she hates the treat, b) she let me put the ear ointment on twice and then refused to let me touch her ears ever again, and c) somehow has the ability to discern that there is a strange flavorless, tasteless liquid in her food.

She is a mad fricking genius.

So: does anyone have other suggestions?

I have to pill her twice a day, or somehow get her to consume the treats twice a day.

Things I've tried so far:

Mixing the treats and/or meds in with her moist food.

Mixing the treats and/or meds in with her dry food.

Mixing the treats and/or meds in with mushed up sardines.

Using pill pockets.

Wrapping the medicated treats in cheese*. (Yes, not vegan I know, but my cats aren't vegan anyways, and I'm desperate here.)

Chasing her through the house with a treat in my hand bellowing, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WHY WON'T YOU JUST EAT THIS GODDAMN THING?!?! and then sobbing a little. (The most ineffective thus far.)

Cursing my very existence. (Also ineffective.)

So please: any suggestions you may have, lay them on me. Just please don't suggest anything that requires me catching her and forcing something in her mouth because--trust me--it's an impossibility (esp. since I don't have doors in my apartment).

Annnnnnnd... GO!

PS. These are my three little chickpeas. They thank you ahead of time for your help:


Jenni (aka Vegyogini) said...

When my cats have been sick and refuse to eat, I have given them baby food...check the ingredients and get the chicken kind where the only ingredients are chicken and chicken broth (turkey is too fibrous, so avoid temptation to give variety). So, maybe you can mix the liquid meds into baby food. It's worth a shot!

Grace said...

This cat I used to cat-sit had thyroid meds and then medication to deal with his cancer symptoms and the methods you listed all worked temporarily with him, but he eventually figured everything out. One other thing that temporarily worked with him was sticking the pill in cream cheese (if you've only tried other kinds), which sticks to the pill and makes it harder to spit out. I also saw peanut butter suggested for the same thing, if your cats like it. And he loooved baby food, though we never tried pills in it (just make sure you don't get the meat sticks kind--it has onion/garlic)

Anonymous said...

Ok, this method kind of sucks and I absolutely hate to use it, BUT it may work for kitty #3.

Either crush pill and mix with butter OR mix flavorless liquid with butter or petroleum jelly. Smear onto cat (typically the inside of the front legs works best, but for this cat pretty much anywhere is probably ok).

If kitty #3 is fastidious enough, she will clean the offensive oily stuff off of her fur, even though she hates the taste of the meds.

Might also help to shut her in the bathroom for 30 minutes or so after you slather, so she doesn't get grease everywhere...

Good luck! Let us know how it goes...


Sophie-and-Bryce said...

first off, bless you for caring enough to ask. i know lots of people out there who would just shrug it off and let her be sick.

man, if i had a nickel for every time i've had to figure out sneaky ways to avoid horrid confrontations with my cats, well, i'd be a lucky girl. i have one now who is in renal failure, so we have to give her subcutaneous fluids twice a week (meaning, we have to give her an IV).

yeah, we had to do the giardia thing a loooong time ago when we rescued one of ours from a HORRID dog pound. frothing at the mouth isn't something you wish to see your cat do when they taste a nasty med. nor do you wish to chase the cat the NEXT time you try to administer said meds.

i like the idea of crushing it or compounding it into something like peanut butter and then putting it somewhere on them where they'll just HAVE to clean themselves. i also second the notion of putting them into a closed bathroom for a while afterward.

bless y'all's hearts! good luck!!!!

grrr said...

Been there with my three also! Took about FIVE rounds of medication but we eventually beat the giardia.

I found the compounded treats utterly useless. Mixing the liquid medicine with tuna juice (yes, the nasty liquid that pours off the nasty tuna can) helped fix the taste of the 'tasteless' liquid, and then plain old wrestle-the-cat-and-shoot-the-liquid-down-his-throat was what it took. I locked us both in the bathroom and understood that I would lose 2/3 of the liquid to the floor, walls and my hair in the process.

Good luck! Email me if you need support or more ideas -- we've been through it all.

Bridget said...

If you go thr baby food route, make sure to avoid ones with onion and garlic byproducts (a LOT of the mainstream brands have this), as those ingredients are hazardous to cats.

If you can't do the "smear them with medicine/butter" thing, you can try to scruff them, pry open their mouth, and shoot the pill/liquid down their throat thing. It might be too difficult, but we are able to scruff even our anti-social kitties. By "scruff," I mean grabbing them firmly by the skin on the back of their neck. It seems cruel and I refused to do it for awhile, but it is very much where Mama Kitty would (and did) grab them, and the skin is very tough and it puts them into a bit of a kitty trance.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

Lindy Loo said...

Rhonda: Since you've dealt with this specifically, can I ask which meds your cats were on that finally got rid of it? And also: how did you finally know it was gone? Did their diarrhea just clear up? Also, did you have to scrub down your house and wash everything so that they didn't pick it back up again?

Vic Robinson said...

I miss living with a kitty. :( I am such a bleeding heart. i cried last time I went into the shelter. heh.

theboywil said...

Butter seems to be the magic coating for both of our cats (one which likes to be held, and the other who hates it).

We were recommended butter-coating for the first time one of our cats was sick, and bought best unsalted butter especially. Well coated the pills, and hold his mouth open and put the pill as far back as possible. Then still hold their mouth closed, but you can almost see their expression change as they realise that it's butter and they are free to swallow.

Even our shy cat has no problems with swallowing buttery pills.

Ducks said...

...and it goes without saying that you ought to be extra careful with your peanut butter bagels while the cats are sick -- giardiasis isn't fun for humans, either. Really. I got it in Peru and thought it would kill me, and it's ridiculously contagious.

Anonymous said...

Ask your vet to board the cat for the duration of the treatment and let the trained professionals do the dirty work. Good luck, Giardia is miserable to treat. I've had the best luck with a metronidazole and Panacur combo but even that is not infallible.

Lindy Loo said...

Anonymous: though I would love to do that in a lot of respects: a) from what everyone says, it takes multiple treatments, so that would require at least a couple months of boarding, and b) I'm not independently wealthy and able to afford such a luxury, and c) I wouldn't want to traumatize my cats in such a way by shipping them off for 2 months.

Thanks for the head's up on the Panacur/Metronizadole combo though. Perhaps I'll try that again once I figure out how to get them to take the damn metroniz. =)

Bamboric said...

I have six cats at the present. Tigger, QQ and their kids. Tigger is the Tom, and QQ the Queen. Being Malawian cats, they know how to avoid being sick!!

Dana said...

Can you get the medication as a sub-q injection? I'll take that any day over pills for my kitties. It's fast and with the tiny needles the cats usually don't even feel it. The first few times I gave injections my kitties did feel the stick, but once I got the hang of it, they didn't even flinch. On the occasions when pills are my only option, I use a pill popper to shoot the pill down their throat, then follow it up with some water or their favorite canned food to wash it down. I wrap one cat in a towel to hold her still.

Anonymous said...

A better alternative for treating Giardia in the feral cat or kitten is Panacur liquid suspension. It comes in powder but the liquid is easier to mix in with food. It has a chalky taste which gives you a much better chance of sneaking it into food. It’s a once per day treatment for only 5 days which is much less than the bitter pill regimen.

Lindy Loo said...

Anon: Yeah they actually don't mind the panacur so I called again today to get another round of that. However, I was told that some strains of giardia are resistant to the panacur. But I'm gonna try again with it cuz I figure it can't hurt. And I'm gonna do my best doubling it up w/ the metronizadole. *fingers crossed*

Anonymous said...

Valerian! Seriously, squirt a little of the tincture on or near the pill.

dave said...

Hi, I'm also a cat lover. My cat also got sick and what I did is I gave him baby food, and I think it helped.

Danielle said...

I had a cat with a seizure disorder and would have to give her phenobarbital twice a day. She was the kind of cat that made large dogs cower behind their owners at the vets...just image a vet 3 assistants and 2 horse blankets to get her into submission. Anyway once I tried to give her the pill in it's whole form, she chased me around the house with a knife. Next time I crushed it up in wet food and she went for it, thank god! Try the baby food and if that doesn't work how do you feel about horse blankets and suppositories? Good luck from one cat lady to another!

Rachey said...

it's so sad when your babies get sick :( i recently had to give my 2 ladies antibiotics (foul foul liquid form) after some dental work (which in cats apparently amounts to extractions) and although Tiny was fine with it, little Sati ran and hid and struggled and basically was more than i could handle on my own. so i know all about the chasing/crying/hating life part of medicating cats.

my solution wasn't great, but i had my boyfriend hold her and we petted her for a minute before i grabbed the corners of her mouth and held her head in place while she sputtered and choked it down. like rhonda, i was pretty much resigned to losing a lot of medication in the process. the really nice thing was, after a few days she started feeling better from cessation of symptoms, and didn't fight the medicine as much. they're smart critters and can link feeling better to nasty meds.

wish i had more advice (other than another pair of loving hands to help) but i at least wanted to throw some hope your way- when they start to recover more from the ghiardia the medicating process will become easier. you can do it!! i had to keep reminding myself that even though it seemed like i was torturing them, i was really helping them. cause i'm the kind of catlady that doesn't even bother to pick up the hairs from pb bagels ;)

alanna said...

oh my gosh...just discovered your blog and you're HILARIOUS! totally new follower! i hope that your kitties feel better :/

maryk said...

haven't had giardia over here, but have to shoot liquid suspension down mine twice a day and give sub-Q fluids 2/week.
took care of a friend's cat who needed pills, and the scruffing can actually work if done right. pull up on the scruff, then actually lift them off the ground a bit, it helps them go a little limp, and have less use of the claws. then stick pill popper (or plunger/syringe) in corner of mouth and slide to back of throat and plunge!
other than that--i concur with the vaseline. they can't help but lick the stuff off. best of luck.
this is a nice video on how to scruff a cat. it releases endorphines! who knew!

maryk said...

when i said lift them off ground, i should say, lift so their front paws are off ground, not complete weight off ground. sorry.

Anonymous said...

I have a cat with a tumour on her leg (due to have said leg removed on 1st of July).
We have tricked her into taking crushed tablets mixed in with sardines and tuna and 'posh' cat food that I normally refuse to pay for ;-)
Good luck.

Jessica said...

Sorry to see you have so much trouble. I LOVE cats, and in the past I've had to resort to catching them and forcing them to take their medicine. Usually I used liquid.

Wish I could help you. Please, let us know how it goes. BTW - what did your vet recommend?

Anonymous said...

I recently found out that my cats had a strange attraction to coconut oil. They love the taste! On one of the last visits to the vet I asked if it was safe for them to eat, which apparently no one had ever asked before, since he had to leave the examine room to go check. He said it was fine, but still surprised that they were interested in the flavor. Anyway, maybe a crushed pill mixed into coconut oil would help instead of peanut butter or petroleum. Just stick with it and I'm sure you'll come up with a solution. Good luck and I hope they are feeling better soon. >^..^<

Anonymous said...

Not so much a treatment but maybe an adjunct. You can buy "stress and rescue" herbal tincture spray and pheromone sprays which may help to calm the cat down a bit. This might make it easier to give them the meds?

Anonymous said...

I've had to medicate my share of kitties, too, and metronidazole is awful to administer, given its horrid taste! Last year we had a trio of feral kittens with giardia, and they were on it for weeks; it eventually did take care of the infection. The best way I found to make sure they got a complete dose was to wrap kitty up snug in a towel like a furry burrito and use a pill popper or syringe to administer the medication orally. Since it has such an unpleasant taste, I generally fill the syringe with something stinky that cats love, like tuna, then the medicine, then more stinky yummy stuff.

Definitely not a perfect system, but it worked to get the medicine down, and helped me to keep my arms and legs attached, too :)

Stacy said...

I was just talking to a lady who does cat rescue, and she has a cat that sounds a lot like yours. Now, this definitely sounds crazy, but she said that she owns a very large cage (big enough to hold both her and her cat) and that if she physically gets into the cage with the cat, for some reason the cat will let her pill her in there. I know that sounds nuts, but if you get desperate and have a large kennel, maybe worth a shot?!?

Anonymous said...


This method requires the meds be in liquid dropper form, and a little time. It also requires the cat to be comfortable enough with you that it will sleep while you are sitting next to it.

-Find cat while deeply asleep, in a place you can sit down next to it- couch, bed, chair while you're on floor, etc. Have meds and something to read with you. (Or a TV in the room if you desire, and happenstance provides.)

-Gently sit down next to cat. If it's a skittish one, it will wake up, alarmed. Do not look at the cat, just pretend it doesn't exist. The aim is to have it go back to sleep, so don't pet it either.

-Take up your reading material and wait. Relish this time to do nothing but sit! You want the cat to be as deeply asleep as possible. Sometime during the waiting period, slowly and quietly open the dropper bottle and load the dropper. Then put it down, unscrewed and loaded.

-When you judge the time is right- this may take five or ten minutes- with one hand pick up the loaded dropper. With the other, give the cat's head a loving stroke or two. Then, just as gently but also firmly, insert your index finger into the side of the cat's mouth, pry it open a smidge- a smidge!- and get that dropper in there and emptied as quickly as possible. You must be quick but not be jarring. Just matter-of-fact.

-Remove dropper hand immediately, preferably out of the cat's view, and let the other hand give the cat another stroke or two, as if nothing had happened. At this point the cat will most definitely be awake, and not too happy. It will lick its chops, hack, or some such, and possibly flee. But a calm demeanor on your part can mitigate the reaction. I like to sit there with it another few moments to give the impression that nothing of import happened; this will help for your next attempt at administering.

I've done this successfully in the past. It does take a little time, but it worked for me.

Best of luck to your and your chickpeas.

Anonymous said...

This is a great reference for lots of different ways to pill. Called Long Term Cat Meds Administration.

susan said...

your blog got mentioned in veg news new issue...congrats..i hope the kitties are well

aurora733 said...

how are they doing??? hope some of these suggestions worked. i haven't had a cat since i was 4, so i don't have anything to contribute. :o(

Lindy Loo said...

Susan: OMG! Seriously? *GEEKING OUT* Thanks for the heads up!

Admin said...

I would definitely try the smearing on the front paws as a couple of others have suggested. If they like hair ball remedy goo, mix it into that and smear it quick and smear it good on one of the front paws. Then they do the rest. My cats are always up for some Veganaise or Earth Balance so you can try and mix it into that. And I would suggest attempting this in the bathroom, since they won't have anywhere to escape to.

George said...

I'm a vegetarian, and I don't own a pet. I prefer wildlife. I really wonder, why do so many vegetarians and vegans own carnivorous pets? Seems hypocritical to me.

Lindy Loo said...

Oh, darling. I wish I was in the mood to debate this with you, but a) I'm not in the mood to make you cry after I unleash my brutal logic on you and b) I have a half-sense it would be futile anyways, so let's just smile and wave at each other instead. *Smiling, waving*

Sharine said...

My husband and I had the same problem with our newest kitten. After two days of the liquid medicine spotting the kitchen and us, and scratches covering our hands, we wrapped her snugly in a bath towel.

It worked perfectly! She could move her head a bit, but hubby would hold that still while I tweaked the corners of her mouth with one hand and inserted medicine with the other.

The method was brilliant and I recommend it highly.

Jenny said...

I found your blog, while trying to find out if I could mix the Panacur with wet food. LOL about your cats, I have had the same problems!

We used baby food to mix medicine in for one of our cats that has since passed away. That method would not work for our other cat though.

I thought it was funny today, when after the vet had to have 3 people to help her sit still for blood work, that she thought I could just squirt liquid medicine down her. Yeah right!

Spanglish said...

Not sure if your situation with your cats has been resolved yet, I sure hope so! I was researching some alternative treatments for our kitten, and I came across your blog. Very funny!

We got him from a rescue group and he has tested positive for giardia.

Anyway, the coconut oil is an good recommendation for treatment of giardia and to avoid reinfestation as well. My kitten absolutely loves it! It's also a natural hairball remedy. It should be of the extra virgin cold pressed variety found at most health food stores. I just put down a little glob of it on his dish at mealtimes and he licks it right up.

Just in case, here's another herbal remedy I found for treatment of coccidia and giardia,

Spanglish said...

One more idea...

Glenna said...

Hi Lindy Loo,
I know this is an old post, but I was checking back to see what people had suggested. The vet put one of my guys on antibiotics to treat some dental issues, and not only was it a near struggle to the death to get the pills into him, they ended up making him vomit endlessly. I traded the pills back in for an antibiotic shot, which was more expensive ($70), but it's good for two weeks. I'm not sure if something that's only good for dental issues, but I will definitely ask next time he needs to be on antibiotics.
On a completely different note - I remember one of your posts about food with cat hair on it, so you can probably relate to this - the other day I had something in my eye. After several minutes of rubbing my eye, I went into the bathroom and looked to see if I could figure out what was in there and I ended up pulling out what had to be at least a 2-inch cat hair out of my eye. I've also had the same thing happen with my nose. It's disturbing. Sorry if that's TMI. :)