An Ode To Pill Pockets

“Suspension, caplets, transdermal, solution, soft chews, capsules, tablets.”

It wasn’t until I started medicating my own cat this summer (she was diagnosed with small cell lymphoma with the care of the fantastic doctors here) that I discovered just how many options are out there for any given medication. In my experience, cats had tolerated the flavored suspensions best, so that’s what I chose.

After weeks of chasing my sick cat around the house, having her constantly hide under the bed and ultimately missing doses (sorry, doctors!), I had to try something else. The pill form went a bit more smoothly, but she still wanted nothing to do with me. It honestly occurred to me that I might have to choose between a good relationship with my ailing cat and treating her cancer. Then, as a last resort, I brought home a few Pill Pockets.

We frequently use these in food-motivated dogs, but cats tend to be pickier (and, let’s face it, smarter). If you’re not familiar with this product, it’s a tasty, soft treat that is meant to be wrapped around a tablet/capsule to mask the taste and smell for easy administration. “There’s no way my cat will eat this,” I kept thinking, but she proved me wrong and gobbled it right up. Now, every morning and evening, we have a routine: she sits on the counter, watches me put her pill in the pouch, then takes her medicine.

This is in no way meant to be a product plug- I just wanted to share this tale to provoke discussion about options. All pets are individuals and what works for one may not be best for another. Many of our medications come in different forms; just ask your veterinarian when you’re here for your pet’s next exam. We know you want to be the best pet parent that you can be. Let us help!

[editor's note: I had the exact same experience with my cat. I had a devil of a time medicating him (and, like Saleema, I do that for a living!) but as soon as we broke out the pill pockets, he was Mr. Happy Meower at pill time. There is a brand-name Pill Pocket, but there are numerous other products with similar form and purpose. Also, if you decide to go this direction, remember that you don't have to use a full pocket for each pill! You can stretch the treats out by using a half or quarter of a treat to disguise one or more pills at once, providing it's OK to give them together. Yay for pill pockets! -Jared]