How to Restrain a Cat for a Spot-On Flea Treatment

Even the most laid back cat can fight flea treatment time.
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Fleas are a frustrating nuisance for cat owners, infesting the entire house and possibly giving your pet intestinal worms in the process. Regular treatment prevents the little bloodsuckers from making camp on your cat's back, but sometimes applying the monthly spot-on treatments requires stamina, perseverance and incredible willpower.

Wrap Him Up

The main parts you need to worry about as you try to drip the medication on the nape of your kitty's neck are his sharp claws. You could try to put little baby booties on his feet to hide his pointy bits, but that would leave his various limbs free to flail wildly as he tries to escape. Keep him immobile and harmless by wrapping him up in a towel or thick blanket. This holds his limbs close to his body and makes him look like a kitty burrito. Spread your towel on the floor and place him in the middle, tucking his legs beneath him. Fold the edges of the towel over him snuggly to keep him secure. Apply the medication and allow it a few minutes to soak in before safely releasing the feline fury.

Blindfold Him

A little-known fact about cats is they seem to calm when they can't see. Kitty muzzles look like fabric funnels that fit over their faces, covering their eyes but allowing easy breathing and leaving their ears free. Couple this cover with some soothing words of comfort as you pet your cat and hold him close. The trick is to keep him calm. Once you sense the time is right, part the hair on the nape of his neck and apply the flea treatment. Keep talking to him as you do this, offering reassurance. When the treatment soaks in, praise your cat and remove the muzzle. Tuna is always a good reward.

Sit On Him

OK, so you don't really want to actually sit on him, but trapping him beneath you will give you clear access to the treatment spot and keep his claws and teeth safely contained. Kneel on the floor with your unhappy kitty between your legs. Squeeze your legs firmly against his sides to keep him still, and lower your body to push him to the ground. Remember that the point isn't to hurt him, it's to hold him still long enough to get him treated. Speed is of the essence at this point, and you need to get that medication on as fast as you can. This whole scenario has a bit of a rodeo feel, but it may be your only option if your cat simply will not cooperate otherwise.

Enlist Help

Don't be ashamed to ask for help if your cat turns into a feral, claw-bearing tornado at the first sight of the flea medication applicator. Some jobs are just too much for one person. Enlist the aid of a willing accomplice to help get the job done. Grab both front paws in one hand and both back paws in the other, and hold the cranky kitty firmly on the table or against your body. If your cat goes demonic, grab him by the scruff and lift him slightly. You should still be able to apply the medication on the spot above his scruff, in front of your hand.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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