Cats make wonderful pets, as you probably already know. They’re really entertaining to watch, they keep your home free of would-be household pests, and they’re cuddly (when they want to be). But for all their many charms, they’re not always the most cooperative animals in the world, especially when it comes to taking medication.

Getting cats to take traditional pills can be a rather arduous labor of love. Fortunately, there are ways to make administering feline medication easier.

Transdermal gels are one of the easiest but least-known pet medication delivery methods. These gels allow medications to be absorbed through the animal’s skin, so there’s no need to force them to swallow pills. Pharmaceutically compounded transdermal gels make medication much easier on pet patients and their owners, and many of the most common feline medications, including methimazole, prednisolone, and amitriptyline, are available in the transdermal format. So how are transdermal gels administered?

  • Getting ReadyAdministering transdermal gels will be much easier if the cat is feeling calm and relaxed. If possible, get your cat to come to you with a treat or the promise of a thorough petting. Once the cat is calm and purring, you’re ready to proceed.
  • Prep the Application ZoneIt’s important to apply transdermal gel to clean skin with little hair, in an area where the cat cannot lick. The Pinna is a hairless area near the tip of the inside of the ear is typically the best place. Before applying the transdermal gel, check that the area is clean. If the area is dirty or there is residual medication from a previous administration, carefully wipe the area with a warm, moist paper towel.
  • Put on Your Gloves or Finger CotTransdermal gel is absorbed through the skin, and your skin is just as permeable as your cat’s, so it’s important to protect yourself by wearing medical gloves or a finger cot when applying your cat’s medication. Otherwise, you might end up absorbing some of it into your system, which is obviously best avoided. So, be sure to put on a pair of gloves before administering the transdermal gel.
  • Administer the MedicationTo administer the medication, first use the syringe to place the correct dosage onto your gloved pointer finger. Next, massage the transdermal gel into the inside of the cat’s ear, until the gel has been absorbed into the skin. Be careful not to go too deep into the ear canal.
  • Cleanup TimePet medications can have adverse effects if humans or other pets accidentally consume them, so you want to make sure you don’t leave any excess medication lying around. First, rinse your gloves off under the faucet. Next, carefully remove the gloves with a paper towel, and dispose of the gloves and the paper towel in a receptacle that will prevent accidental exposure.

Then, re-cap the syringe and place it in a secure cabinet, thoroughly washing your hands afterward. The next 20 minutes it is best if family members and other pets refrain from direct contact with the medicated area. It may be necessary to quarantine your cat during this time if contact is unavoidable.

Author: Giano Panzarella