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Getting my cat to take his medicine? Help!
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Member Since:
29 November 2015
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29 November 2015 - 11:33 am
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My 10-year-old Siamese mix, Charlie, had his right foreleg amputated last Tuesday due to cancer. He was prescribed Buprenex for his pain, administered in pre-measured syringes. I was supposed to apply the medicine to his gums. 

Even early on, he didn't want to have anything rubbed on his gums, but for the first few days I was able to lift his cheek a little and squirt the medicine into the cheek pouch without much trouble. However, as he seems to be feeling better-- more alert, more curious, more normal body language, standing up to eat and drink like normal instead of laying down--his hatred for medicine time has grown. Now he will flinch back violently when I even brush his lip with my finger! The last two doses I have had to just give him a large chunky treat, aim away from his throat, and squirt as best I can while he's chewing. I know that isn't optimal but it was that or nothing! His eyes are still really dilated so hopefully he's getting an effect.

Charlie has always been very healthy and I've never had to give him any meds before. He is on a tiny daily dose of an NSAID that gets mixed into his food, and he takes that just fine. 

He goes back to the vet tomorrow to have his incision checked on. 


a) any magic tricks for getting him to take his last 3 doses of the Buprenex? I do not have an assistant available so anything needs to be doable by one person. 

b) is there any good pain medicine for cats that can be ingested? Charlie is such a piggy that if I can put it into tuna water or something there should be no problem getting it into him.

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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29 November 2015 - 11:46 am
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Hi Charlie and family, welcome. I'm sorry that you got the cancer diagnosis, what kind was it?

Giving cats medication is such a tough thing to do! And kudos to you for being so faithful to the schedule!

We posted about administering medications here:

How to Pill a Dog or Cat

I don't have a kitty but others who do will chime in in just a bit. For now what I can offer is this: try not to mix pills with food, or it may cause your kitty to not want to eat. If you can, administer them separately (medicate, then immediately treat).

Have you seen our TriKitty bloggers?  While you're waiting for feedback here, search the blogs for words like "pills" and "medication" and you may find some examples of how others have done it.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
22 November 2015
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29 November 2015 - 2:42 pm
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Hi there! My cat recently had a right front leg and scapula amputated and was also given Buprenex in pre-loaded syringes. I remember getting a whole baggie full of them from my vet, but he told me he didn't need any more doses after only a few! I have so many left. My cat is not great at taking meds and I did have to just kinda squirt it in his mouth near the gum line and hope for the best! Just long did your vet tell you to give the Buprenex for?

I do currently have to give my cat a medication from a capsule (for phantom limb pain), but was instructed to open the capsule and give half a dose. I mix it in his food ( I know not the best choice, but I don't know how else to give it to him - it's fine powder!). It is a combo of kibble, wet, and raw. It's completely hidden so he scarfs it down.

My vet tech showed me a way to administer a pill if needed - you hold the cat's head firmly with one hand (his head is in your hand between index finger and thumb which are on both sides of his mouth) and tilt it back so he is looking up, then his mouth should automatically open and you simply drop the pill straight down his throat. They showed me at the office, he did it perfectly. I tried to replicate it at home after surgery and he bit me once and spit it out about 1000 other times until it was a partially dissolved, foamy mess.

Hopefully when you go for your re check, the vet can give you more pointers. My cat was only given pain meds for 2 days! Hopefully yours is well on his way to recovery and you won't have to worry about giving meds!

Good luck,

Hattie & Jerry


Hattie and Jerry Cat (right front leg and scapula amputation due to chondrosarcoma at age 14, lived 2 1/2 years post amputation, succumbed suddenly to suspected lymphoma at age 16)

10/2001 - 10/9/2017 R.I.P ~ Love you always

Member Since:
27 July 2014
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29 November 2015 - 3:49 pm
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Sorry to hear Charlie has cancer. My Mona also had her front leg amputated. I don't know anyone who can easily give medications to cats. Hattie has a great suggestion above but cat behave differently for vets than they do for us. My vet said it's because the cat is in the vet's domain. When he went to people's homes the cats behaved very differently.

A few times I was somewhat successful giving Mona the Buprenex when she was sleeping. Mainly I've learned to take some time to deep breathe and calm myself before approaching the cat. Then massage, brush or play afterward.

Mona also took Buprenex (on gums) along with Metacam which went into food and was administered longer. She was nutty on the Buprenex and escaped from the house for over 24 hours, missing 3 dosages over that time. I can't remember if I gave her anymore. By the time I found her I may have already applyied the remaining Buprenex on my gumsexclamation

The Metacam is an NSAID and provides pain relief. I put it into wet kitten food which Mona loved. She would devour that food. I always give my cats a teaspoon of wet cat food every day in case I have to give them liquid or powdered medication in the future. Mona takes Power Mushrooms in her food now but she will not take joint supplements in any form.

I hope you can get one more dose in before you see the vet tomorrow. Let us know how Charlie does.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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29 November 2015 - 4:28 pm
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Hattie, Jerry, Kerren and Mona, thank you! Your experiences and tips are soooo helpful!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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29 November 2015 - 5:35 pm
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You "cat people" know your stuff! It's much easier to fool dogs!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

Member Since:
29 November 2015
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29 November 2015 - 6:08 pm
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kazann said

Mona also took Buprenex (on gums) along with Metacam which went into food and was administered longer. She was nutty on the Buprenex and escaped from the house for over 24 hours, missing 3 dosages over that time. I can't remember if I gave her anymore. By the time I found her I may have already applyied the remaining Buprenex on my gumsexclamation

Charlie also has Metacam in his food once a day, and he takes that with no trouble at all! He came home on Wednesday having just had a 24-hour injection, and was supposed to have two doses  of the Buprenex Thursday, three Friday, and two each Saturday through Monday. He ended up popping a few sutures and had to be re-done with staples on Friday, so they gave him another 24-hour shot that day, so he ended up with one on Friday and two on Saturday, and the vet said to give two a day until I run out. (He is now in "bathroom jail" until he's healed enough that he won't do himself damage trying to jump up on the furniture, the silly cat.)

I made a blog for him with more details and pictures. 🙂

We go back to the vet tomorrow, so maybe they can help me out... I'm hoping I can at least get the two more doses between now and then in him.

We don't know what kind of cancer it is yet, still waiting on the path report... the doctor suspected some type of sarcoma, likely a chondrosarcoma (sp?) from the way it looked on the x-ray. But we won't really know until we hear back from the lab. Fingers crossed they got it all...

Member Since:
26 November 2012
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29 November 2015 - 9:08 pm
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I can only recount my experience with Freya (we have a blog here ) with the disclaimer that I am in Australia and there seems to be a different approach both to amputation and post surgery care between the US (where I think most of the posters here are from) and Australia.

I asked for, and had no trouble getting, liquid pain killers and antibiotics for Freya. My experience with her post-biopsy (before amputation) was tablets were not going to cut it and the thought of a syringe system like you guys are using would fall into the same 'too much' for my cat. 

I was told that sometimes the smell of the pain killers/antibiotics (one or both of them) was strong and that some cats would not go near any food that contained it. I took some tuna food liquid and mixed it with a store available 'soup' for cats we get here and made it pretty much all liquid and strong smelling before the medication went in. Working in my favour is that Freya is a solid, I'm talking olympic level, eater and she only went off her food the first half day after surgery. Basically, she's a guts and I was pretty confident that if it smelt fabulous (tuna!!) she wouldn't mind at all.

Why liquid with liquid? I just thought it would mix well and I tried for the first few times to mix it with her solid food and she sometimes didn't eat all of it and I was worried she wouldn't get the full dose. So, an entree of broth (with hidden medication) followed by favourite food combos.

I hope that helps in some way.

Michelle (and Freya)

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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30 November 2015 - 8:51 am
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Hi Michelle, welcome to the forums. 

Thank you for posting and sharing your strategy!  We have often suggested tuna water when pups don't seem interested in drinking, great idea for hiding the smell of meds.

Good to have another cat parent to share their experiences.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010


              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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