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Dr.Fiona, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  Small animal medicine and surgery - 16 years experience in BC, California and Ontario
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my cat is on amitriptyline , but every time i give it to him

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my cat is on amitriptyline , but every time i give it to him he ends up chewing it and foaming at the mouth , he cant seem to keep his eyes open either afterwards , any suggestions please .

Hi there,

Welcome to Just Answer!

I would like to help you and your cat but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

When did he start on this medication?

What is he being treated for with this medication?


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
he has been on it for a week now due to accessive grooming and pu;;ing out his fur . After 2 years of this condition we have tried everything and amitripyline was reccommended by a friend whos cat had the same condition and it really helped . My cat Minty , is on 5mg a day .

It sounds like your cat is being treated for feline psychogenic alopecia (FPA).

With this condition, the cat “barbers” the fur (chews it, bites it or licks it) in one area to the point of baldness (alopecia), or even until there is bleeding.

It is often due to an underlying stress. FPA is a bit like nail-chewing in humans – it is done because it makes the cat feel calmer, as a way of dealing with stress. As with people who chew their nails, it may continue even when it must be causing pain if the skin has become raw.

Some breeds seem to be a bit more prone to FPA (Siamese, Burmese, Himalayan, and Abyssinian) but it can occur in cats of any age, sex or breed.

I will include some links to further information about FPA:

Before your cat can be diagnosed as definitely having FPA, your veterinarian would need to rule out a few other possible causes of hair loss.

There is no specific test for FPA, it is a “diagnosis of exclusion” which means that when we have ruled out physical problems, then what is left is a stress response problem.

Unfortunately, there is no quick cure for FPA and it is something that one has to “manage” as opposed to “cure.”

Treatment involves trying to minimize the stress in your cat’s life and sometimes we have to use drugs like Amitriptyline as in this case.

As with humans, sometimes it takes a while to find the best medication for relieving your cat's stress, and you might have to try 2 or 3 different drugs before finding what works for Kitty.

Amitriptyline is usually effective. What you are seeing with the drooling sounds like he is biting it and thus tasting the very bitter inside of the pill. Also, the dazed and tired effects you are seeing are quite common for the first 2 weeks until the cat's body gets used to the drug. That should resolve soon.

Here is more about this medication:

Now, in order to help your cat, you need to get this pill into him WHOLE without him chewing it. That way he won't taste it and won't foam and drool.

The suggestions that I usually give to clients who have to pill their cat are:

1. My favourite option is to give medications in Pill Pockets. These are little squishy treats that come in chicken and salmon flavour and have a divot in the middle in which you can hide a treat. I would say that 90% of cats will happily take a pill with these.

Here is more about them:

2. Many cats will take a pill if it has a smear of smoked salmon cream cheese on it.

3. You could try hairball control Pounce treats, which get fairly squishy if you add a drop of water to them. Then, you can hide the medication inside it.

4. Try a little squirt of cheese spray

5. Offer the pill in 1/8th teaspoon of ice cream or plain yogurt

6. Hide the pill in a small piece of melon, which many cats love oddly enough.

7. Buy some jars of baby food in meat flavours and offer those as a treat. Read the ingredients carefully to avoid onions, onion powder and garlic and garlic powder. BeechNut make a few that are just meat. One is "turkey in turkey broth" and another "beef in beef broth." They are both popular with cats, and you may be able to hide the pills in 1/4 teaspoon of that.

8. Your veterinarian could provide you with cans of a/d which is a very tasty food used to help sick animals to recover. It is probably the food that I have had most success with to tempt finicky cats to eat. You could hide a pill in 1/4 tsp of this.

Here is a link to it:<>prd_id=845524441760567

9. A compounding pharmacy could make the medication up into a palatable liquid, or a tasty chewable formula, or even a gel that can be applied to the inside of the ear where it can be absorbed across the skin (not all medications are well absorbed this way, however). Pharmacists can make things in triple fish flavour, or chicken or beef or others to suit the patient.

10. Have your vet or technician teach you how to give a pill by putting it at the back of the cat's mouth.
There are some excellent directions here on how to do it:

11. If your cat is difficult to give a pill to, you can use a Pill Popper. This is a device that puts the pill at the back of his throat. You can see how to use it here:

My guess is that you will have to move through this list and try different things at different times to give your cat his medication. However, I do hope that you will find that many of these work for you so that this does not become a struggle and so that you can maintain the loving relationship you have with your cat!

If it has been helpful, please "Accept" my answer and leave feedback.

If you need more information, however, just click on reply and I will be back to provide it.

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.

Best wishes,


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