Monday, August 03, 2009

I got a cold – help! Pills are so ugghhh

Dear George,
I must admit that we had a miserable summer so far! It was raining almost every day! Few days ago while I was on a “hunting” adventure I got caught in a really bad rain.
It was pouring and I got stuck between a bush and the house. Of course, I couldn’t get back in the house until the rain stopped and by then ….it was too late.
Next thing I know…there I am…sneezing, coughing and breathing “funny”.
My humans took me right away to the vet and of course, he did the whole protocol that I hate so much. He said that I have a cold and prescribed antibiotics…instructing my humans how to “push” them down my throat.
My question to you, dear George, is: how can a cat (that is vaccinated) catch a cold so easily? And a second question: can you make any suggestions to my humans on how to give me the antibiotic pill without “pushing” it down my throat?
Hopefully yours,

Dear Minnie,
Even if a cat has been vaccinated, it can occasionally get a mild dose of cat 'flu or other kinds of respiratory problems. I guess that is what happened. It's still important to vaccinate against cat 'flu because without the protection of vaccination a severe attack can leave lifelong disability.
Pills! There is now a cat-friendly device for putting pills into cats (forget the pill gun which isn't) - Easytabs, a meat flavoured cover for a pill made by Bayer. The fact that Bayer has made this suggests that in the cat versus human struggle over pills, we WON. Below my signature is the old joke about pills and cats which in this case reflects reality. There is more detail on this (from the human point of view) on
From our point of view pushing pills into our throats is just a huge and painful intrusion! We are not greedy like dogs. We don't just gulp things down. When Celia hides a pill in a piece of cat food, I can smell it miles away and I do not approve of eating stuff that smells bad. We cats like fresh mice not rotting carcases like omnivorous dogs (who actually eat poo, would you believe.)
My favourite ploy with pills is to give the sneaky impression that I have swallowed them. I hold them in the side of my mouth. I did this successfully for six months, in the days when worming came only in pill form (now there is a spot-on). Celia couldn't understand why I always seemed to have tapeworms (from the fleas on the mice I ate). She is a sloven so only vaccuums under the spare bed when somebody is coming to stay. Pulling out the bed, she found my stash of worming pills. I had held them in my mouth than sneaked under the bed and had spat them out!
In theory the way to put a pill into a cat, is to kneel down and place the cat between your legs, facing outwards.With thumb and middle finger, pull cat’s head back until it is facing straight up at the ceiling. It is crucial that the cat’s head must be facing upwards at 90 degrees Use gentle pressure from thumb and middle finger on either side of the cat’s jaw, at rearmost crease of the lips, to open cat’s mouth. Pop tablet on the tongue as far back down the throat as possible. Close cat’s mouth and keep the head pointing up at the ceiling. Hey presto, the cat will swallow the pill.
In practice I can usually evade this one! We almost all can. That's why there is the familiar joke about cats and pills - below my signature. Cats rule.
Love George

Instructions For Giving Your Cat A Pill

1. Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

2. Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

3. Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.

4. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of 10.

5. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.

6. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, holding front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold cat's head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

7. Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foilwrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.

8. Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with its head just visible from below spouse's armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force cat's mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

9. Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink glass of water to take taste away. Apply band-aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

10. Retrieve cat from neighbour's shed. Get another pill. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.

11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put door back on hinges. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Throw T-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

12. Ring fire brigade to retrieve cat from tree across the road. Apologise to neighbour who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil wrap.

13. Tie cat's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table. Find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed. Force cat's mouth open with small spanner. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Hold head vertically and pour pint of water down throat to wash pill down.

14. Get spouse to drive you to emergency room; sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Stop by furniture shop on way home to order new table.

15. Arrange for vet to make a housecall.


  1. Poor Minnie, I hope she is feeling better now.

    Pills can really hurt our throats and gullets - they are hard and can scratch on the way down. This is one reason why we HATE taking pills so much - so, train your apes to syringe 1ml of water* into your mouth straight after the pill - this really helps.

    Apes don't take pills without water to sloosh them down with do they, so why should we cats?

    Whicky Wuudler

    *1ml is about one cat swallows worth of water - too much in one go and we'll gag.

  2. Dear Minnie,

    I am terribly sorry you're not feeling well. I am also terribly sorry that you have these pills to take. My now departed friend, Betelgeuse (of dubious but interesting memory), used to insist that his pills be wrapped in cheese. His human theorized that since he liked cheese so well, if the only time he got cheese was at pill time, he would just snap up the pill right away. Ha! Ha! Betelgeuse learned how to finesse the refrigerator open and scale the racks to the cheese shelf. Silly humans.

    For me, pill time is actually an opportunity, and perhaps you should cultivate the same attitude. George's joke is only a joke if we do not make it reality. Although I am claw-challenged, I have taught myself to be one slippery customer and quick with my remaining hind claws when confronted with pills. My human, in desperation, grinds the pills up (nasty), and puts them in my absolute favorite bad-for-you food to eat. And I do not negotiate. If the food isn't sufficiently bad for me, I'll just refuse to eat it, and the pill, until I am served something more to my liking. We may not have opposable thumbs, but we have every bit as fine a touch as any other creature, especially when dealing with our humans. Make it an art form.


  3. We is wishin' ebby kitty in the whole, wide world a safe and comfy WORLD CAT DAY. An we wish that for one day the whole world would do one thing nice fur a kitty that has no home.

  4. Hey George,
    I adore your blog. I had to feature you on today's top five! Keep up the great information!

  5. Slightly warm prawns. Stick pill up bottom of slightly warm prawn. Works for a few days at least.

    Rosie Barclay Riff Raffs mum

    Pick up slightly warm prawn by head, shake and eat.

  6. Every time my humans go to pushing pills down me I go to fightin! They lose every time because I have nice sharp claws. You see my humans would never declaw me or any other cat for that matter. So, I defend myself very well. However, last time I was snatched up and carted off to the vet they asked my human if they wanted pills to give me or a short that would last for three weeks. THEY TOOK THE SHOT! I was horrified, but I did avoid all the hassle with them trying to push those pills down me.

  7. Hm! Pushing a pill down my throat?
    I don't think so! I would use all my claws and kitchen knives on them.

  8. Fluffy and CayenneAugust 13, 2009

    Love the joke :-)
    Fluffy & Cayenne

  9. Hm! Pushing a pill down my throat?
    I don't think so! I would use all my claws and kitchen knives!

  10. Thank you all for being so caring and kind and giving me such good advice.
    I feel much better now but I had to interrupt the antibiotic. It was making me sick to my stomach (guess it was too strong for me).
    However, the biggest upset was that a new cat was trying to take over my territory while I was staying inside.
    I hope I won't have to put up a fight now (to protect my prey).
    Love & hugs to all

  11. Sir WinstonAugust 13, 2009

    Wow! I was away for only two weeks and so many things happened on George's blog! I have to catch up with you guys!
    Compare to what I'm reading here I must admit that it was rather boring at the cottage.
    Sir Winston


Help for cats whose humans show behaviour problems.

This blog is devoted to the study of human behaviour. We cats, who live with this sometimes unpredictable and always feeble minded species, can benefit from seeing their behaviour in its proper scientific context. The study of feline dilemmas, training problems, and difficulties with humans, can only benefit all of us. All of us train our humans - to buy the right food, for instance, but many of us do not have knowledge of how to improve our training methods. The human species is obviously not as intelligent as the cat, but nevertheless can learn quite a lot - if properly managed. Topics of interest include the use of claw and order, purring as a human reward, rubbing your human up the right way, when to bite, spraying as a method of making our wishes known, ignoring the human, human harassment, human inattention and sheer human stupidity. I welcome your questions. Photos can be sent via my secretary's website, This blog has been chosen as one of the top 50 feline blogs by Online