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How to sedate or incapacitate a violently skittish cat to administer eye drops

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by bobthebadger, Mar 4, 2019.


  1. bobthebadger

    bobthebadger PetForums Junior

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    I have a quite elderly Birman and although she has always had an issue with quite a large build up of mucus around her eyes since I have had her (she is an ex breeding queen and I got her at the age of 5), over the last 9 months it has become slightly tar like (black and very sticky). I commented on the amount of mucus to the vet in the early days and he was non plussed saying it was just congealing liquid from her tear ducts. However, I was not sure if the change in its nature was due to old age or something else. The vet was not sure either, but suggested a week of eye drops twice daily to at least rule it out. Knowing how amazingly skittish and volatile her behaviour can be when she is scared, I asked if an injection or pills were possible instead but was told no.

    I have the medication now for 6 months now, and waited for a week when the wife and I were both off so I could hold her in both arms, while she administered the drops. The very first time we tried we failed. The cat was struggling so violently even when swaddled in a towel and gripped with both arms, that I was fearing she was going to do herself an injury. Even though only her head was free, she was trying to bite the missus while she was trying to put the eye drops in, and so I had to let her go. The wife is now refusing to do this again. However, I am concerned that she might have an eye infection, so I was wondering if there is any means whatsoever of sedating the cat legally and without unacceptable risks so I can sort her out. I am asking this for her benefit, not because I want to do this - I have already procrastinated months until we were both on leave, and now this has failed. I suspect there is no legal or safe substance that domestic pet owners can use for this purpose, but I just dont know what I can do now to give her the solution twice daily. I suspect there is not much. I also bought a cat 'bag' online which would hold her legs, but even with just her head free she was biting so much that the operation was aborted, so that is not going to be an improvement on the towel. It is not absolutely not possible for me to do this on my own, and nor is there anyone nearby who can help to do this early morning and last thing at night. I am thinking I am probably stuffed and there is nothing I can do, but just thought I'd ask anyway.
     
  2. Quartermass

    Quartermass PetForums Senior

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    You can buy stuff called Zyklene, and you can use the plug in pheromones - Feliway. However I suspect neither will have a large effect and will fall very short of what you need.
     
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  3. I would give up! Your cat doesn't appear to need the eye drops and is completely uncooperative/scared/violently opposed, and your vet didn't seem concerned.

    I find the best time to do anything like this is when my cat is in a deep sleep. There is always a cooperative window of opportunity when she has just woken from sleep (or where I wake her) where I can cut her nails, administer flea drops etc. with ease and little to no fuss.
     
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  4. SbanR

    SbanR PetForums VIP

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    There is also Beaphar spot on calm which is supposed to be effective for a week. On my kitten, it sedated him for about 30 mins then it was back to normal.

    With your cat's biting I wonder if it would be feasible to get a small muzzle, similar to what vets use with dangerous dogs when they need treatment??
     
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  5. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @bobthebadger - the one thing I will never do is restrain a cat and then fight with them to give them medicine, eye drops or ear drops in particular both of which cats hate being given.

    Fighting to restrain a cat is completely counterproductive, as you have found. It risks a nasty injury to yourself, or to the cat. and is likely to make the cat so frightened and resentful of you that you will never even be able to get near them the next time eye drops are needed. Cats have long memories for such things.

    @shingigz has the best idea, you need to wait and find a time when the cat is relaxed, e.g. just woken from sleep, then do not pick the cat up or restrain them, but casually go up with the eye dropper, lean over and quickly put in the drops. This method is safe, and does not build up resentment from the cat. When I use this method I can administer the eyedrops to my cat on my own, with no need for a helper.

    Coming a long, long way behind that as a second option, is to put the cat on a table so she's at your waist height, your helper stands behind the cat and holds her front paws firm on the table so she can't scratch you, you approach the table, gently but firmly scruff the cat with your left hand to stop her from pulling away, and administer the eye drops with your right.

    The third option is to take the cat to the vet surgery each day and ask one of the vet nurses to help you do the drops. Vet nurses are skilled and experienced at restraining cats without frightening them, and also cats are often better behaved with vets than with their owners, when it comes to medicines being administered.

    I assume the eye drops are an antibacterial? You might find it easier to administer an eye ointment (antibacterial) rather than drops, though you would still need to have her in a relaxed position.

    With my cat who has runny eyes, I trained him when I first adopted him as a rescued stray. to let me gently bathe his eyes each day with clean cotton wool and a tepid saline solution. This doesn't always stop the discharge but it prevents any infection forming, as the 'gunk' is cleared away daily. He hated it at first but is now so used to it he sits quietly on the table while I bathe his eyes.
     
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  6. bobthebadger

    bobthebadger PetForums Junior

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    Yes, I have used Feliway many times and the effect is really quite marginal in my experience. I will look at Zyklene though thanks. Can this be used twice a day for a week though?
     
  7. bobthebadger

    bobthebadger PetForums Junior

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    I think giving up is what will happen. It is not possible to do it by myself, and like I say the vet was not sure there was any infection but offered me the drops to rule it out. End of sleep is logical, but won't work with mine as she can go from sleep to nuclear in 5 milliseconds :(
     
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  8. bobthebadger

    bobthebadger PetForums Junior

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    Thanks for the suggestions, but with mine it is not going to work. Adding a muzzle will just prolong the drama and add an additional challenge. I looked up the Beaphar spot on. Not sure it is powerful enough, but possibly worth a try so thanks.
     
  9. bobthebadger

    bobthebadger PetForums Junior

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    For the record, I am not 'fighting with my cat' at all. I was holding her firmly with both arms while she was swaddled in a towel. She tries so violently to get away that it can only be for a very short time or she could do herself an injury. I think your ideas are solid for most cats, but not going to work with mine. I need both arms just to secure her for a short time, even when fully swaddled in a towel. It is a palaver to catch my cat to take her to the vet, so twice a day for a week won't happen, especially as I cant take her last thing at night. I will ask her bet if there are prescription calming items I could have as a final throw of the dice.
     
  10. Islander

    Islander PetForums Junior

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    some excellent and skilled advice here OP. i had a siamese i needed to medicate and swaddled her in a large thick towel, starting it tight around her front legs, sat on the floor against a table leg etc, and held her between my thighs very firmly so my hands were free ie on her back. Covered her nose until she opened her mouthm popped the ( buttered )pill in, stroked her throat until she swallowed, we HAVE to be able to medicate out pets. when i had an outbreak of enteritis in a new family who did not know or trust me? i would hold the syringe hidden, walk past without looking at the cat, then grab and dose so fast she was taken by surprise. without that medication she would have died . she never bore a grudge
     
    #10 Islander, Mar 6, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  11. Tigermoon

    Tigermoon PetForums VIP

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    @bobthebadger can I ask what colour your Birman is? Red series Birmans (red, cream and tortie points) and lilacs are particularly known for it, although any colour will have it. Birmans always produce black 'sleep' which will be sticky until it dries. It's normal for the breed and they often have more as they age. Maybe because they are not as effective at cleaning themselves. You can just pick it out with a fingernail or wipe it away with a tissue. Unless the eyes are swollen and red, and the discharge thick and yellow, I doubt she has an infection. Can you post a photo?
    Also I've found that feliway makes Birmans more aggressive. I won't allow it in the house now!
     
  12. bobthebadger

    bobthebadger PetForums Junior

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    Thank-you. I just have two cats. However, I dont think she has an infection, but it was to rule it out. I think probably the darkening in colour of her mucus is probably something due to old age. I am just going to leave it. She gets upset very easily (the other day when I just caught her to take her upstairs so I could paint the living room she urinated all over the place), and she is definitely at the end of her days.
     
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  13. bobthebadger

    bobthebadger PetForums Junior

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    Super thanks for this. I have only just seen this as I have been very busy recently with decorating the house I have not been going online too much. I think you are correct. I do scrape it off with my thumbnail, but will leave it a couple of days and take a picture. Is there any harm in just leaving it? I do it just because I dont like her looking dirty, but as she is an old lady, maybe better to leave her in peace. Yes, she is a creampoint so a sort of red - she is on the left in this old picture I have attached.
     

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  14. Animalfan

    Animalfan PetForums Senior

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    Vetplus do a product called Calmex and it comes in liquid form to mix with the cats food. I haven’t used it myself but when working as a vet nurse I had a lot of clients mention the product had totally flattened their cat and were given smaller doses than needed. Could be worth a try??? I will add I have used the canine version of Calmex and find it the most effective calming supplement I’ve used for the dog.
     
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  15. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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  16. Tigermoon

    Tigermoon PetForums VIP

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    Ahh an elderly cream point. Well I think that's your answer to be honest. It's normal so I wouldn't worry. Just continue to wipe it away and not stress her or yourself over it. It won't harm her to leave it for a day or so, just don't let it build up to much before you wipe it off.
     
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  17. bobthebadger

    bobthebadger PetForums Junior

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    Thank-you. This is what I needed to hear. Just while I have your attention, can I ask about Birmans? I actually intended to rehome an ex queen Maine Coon from a hobby breeder, but as this cat was not well that day she let me have her 'princess' which was Bella. I am just curious to know if she is typical of her breed. She is small (under 3Kg), quite delicate (she had to go to the vets many times more than any other cat I had, although I astonished she has reached the age of 13), and quite phenomenally stupid. I know that Birmans are just descended from 2 cats after WWII so this would explain these traits.... She is very pretty, but I would not get another Birman.
     
  18. Tigermoon

    Tigermoon PetForums VIP

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    Under 3kgs for an adult birman is incredibly small. 3.5 - 4.5kgs for females is the norm, males are bigger. Birman kittens are delicate but generally not as adults, cats that constantly need the vet are not typical of the breed. Birmans are descended from siamese cats, so can be quite cunning, but just as with humans, you get a range of intelligence.
     
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