Medication Station

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By Christine Calder, DVM, DACVB

Over a lifetime, chances are your cat is going to need medication. However, getting a cat to take that medication is a different story. Utilizing a medication station can help you teach cats that taking medication can be a positive and stress free experience.

Step 1: Choose a mat.
This can be a bath mat, yoga mat, or any other non-slip item. Ideally make it distinct visually and textually.

Step 2: Bring that mat out every day twice a day and place it in a central location. You can use an elevated surface like a washer, dryer, or counter. We choose the floor because our cat has arthritis.

Step 3: Reinforce your cat for choosing to interact with the mat. You can use a clicker for this and a high value treat. You may have to start by clicking and treating your cat when they look at the mat, then when they step on the mat, then when they sit on the mat. If you are not familiar with clicker training, simply give your cat a treat in the instances above that say “click.”

Step 4:Put the mat away after each session.
Step 5: Once your cat automatically runs to the mat when you bring it out, place 3 treats on the mat that are large enough to hold a pill. We choose a canned food meatball.

Step 6: Once your cat is eating all 3 meatballs without hesitation, you can add the medication into the second meatball. Alternatively, place the meatballs down in succession; the 1st meatball (no meds), 2nd meatball + meds, quickly followed by the 3rd meatball (no meds).

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