In Ham We Trust

We adopted Scooter from a shelter almost ten years ago. He had been captured with other feral kittens 8 months earlier. As with many ferals, he was sick, but many hands helped him thrive. Unfortunately, there was not much time for socializing young cats, so he is extremely timid.

Life with Scooter is on HIS terms. He chooses when and where to be stroked. He loves long discussions and shares his opinions. He will head bump and accept us into his personal pride, and then roll around asking for attention. He comes when called (most of the time) but one wrong move (and we are never quite sure what that will be) and he scoots under the bed, which is how he got his name. Do not even think about picking him up. I thought he might get better over time. Forget it. Okay. Fine. But we knew if he got sick, we would not be able to administer medication. He would be on his own. For ten years, we have kept our fingers crossed.

But now, it’s finally happened. He started sneezing last week, first one little snort, then another and another until he was sneezing like a chugging train. There was NO WAY we were going to get him into a crate to bring him to the vet; however, she told us it would be fine to administer the still current antibiotic in the refrigerator, left over from Willow’s regime last summer. The question was: How do we get hold of him to get it down his throat, not once, but once a day for the next FIVE DAYS?

While making lunch the other day; however, a light bulb went on. The cats were swirling around my feet, waiting for a tidbit to drop. I unwrapped some sliced ham to make a sandwich and glanced down at Scooter’s eager face. More than anything else on the planet, Scooter adores ham. And since cold cuts are SO not the thing to give your cats, he almost never gets any. But I thought: Oh, Scooter, I am totally going to take advantage of your passion.

I grabbed the antibiotic, drew up a dose into the syringe and wrapped a tiny piece of ham around the tip to mask the smell, then knelt on the floor and started handing out little pieces of ham to all the cats, using their competition to bring Scooter closer to me. Here’s a piece for you, another one for you; here’s another…there you go, have another. Come closer, Scooter…a little closer….

He glided alongside my hip for the chunk of meat in front of me. I swooped him into my arms right there on the floor and placed his body against mine so he couldn’t back up. Holding his head in both hands, I gently pried his mouth open and squirted the medicine in. YAY! Then released him while simultaneously offering him another piece of ham, which he grabbed and jumped back a step. He eyeballed me, as in “What the heck happened there?” But the other cats distracted him and he got right back into the ham fray.

I have used the same technique two more times. Scooter is getting better. In the meantime, I need to go out and buy a few more slices of ham. Maybe this will work on my husband.

Scooter dozing with Sparkle.
This entry was posted in feral cats, Scooter, sparkle, vet. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to In Ham We Trust

  1. You have to be clever! And I'm glad it is working. Hope Scooter is feeling better in no time.

  2. Ah yes, the wary cunning of humans when up against the willfulness of pets! We just discovered a way (thanks to my friend who trains dogs) to give “Major” (a HUGE german shepherd two year old) meds in his ear. Spread peanut butter on the glass door and while he dines, pet him and love him and wait for the right moment to squirt it into his ear. He doesn't even notice except for a quick flap of his head and then back to the PB. Nice job, DD…

  3. A spoonful of ham? makes the medicine go down! Mary Poppins would be so proud of you. Seriously, hope Scooter is better in no time. I'm sure he will be with your crafty administrations of the medicine.

  4. Anonymous says:

    “Scooter is beautiful! I'm glad your method is working and he's feeling better. : )”

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