How to Give a Cat a Pill

How to Give a Cat a Pill

by Scritch

Many kitty medications are now available in liquid form, so you may be lucky enough to never have to give your cat a pill. Eventually, however, your kitty may require medication that is only available in pill form, so you must be prepared to take care of your furry friend.

Ways to give your cat a pill

  • Hide it in her food: This way is the easiest, but Fluffy may be crafty and eat around the pill. You could grind it up and mix it into her favorite food or stir it into tuna water, but unless she licks the bowl clean, she will not consume all the medication. She may smell the medication and not even attempt to eat the food, or if she tastes it when she starts eating, she might turn up her nose at it. Then you’re out one dose of the medication and still haven’t gotten it into kitty’s stomach.
  • Pill Pockets: Another method is to hide your cat’s medication in a “Pill Pocket” or another treat, such as a piece of cheese. If your cat eats very quickly without chewing, this could work.
  • Manually: Unfortunately, you may have to stick that pill down your cat’s throat – something that isn’t very enjoyable for either of you, but is necessary.

How to manually give your cat a pill

When manually giving a pill to a cat, some pet parents coat pills in butter so they slide down easily. Ask your vet if it’s safe to do so. Another trick to more easily get pills into your cat’s throat is to use a pill popper, which is a plastic syringe-like device that helps you deliver the pill to the back of kitty’s throat without having to use your fingers.

  1. First, stay calm. Fluffy may suspect something’s up so try to stay relaxed. If you are calm, she is more likely to be calm.
  2. Your cat will want to back away from you and out of the situation, so kneel on the floor and position kitty between your thighs so she can’t back out. Another method is to wrap her with a towel into a “purrito,” so she can’t scratch you or scramble away.
  3. Next, place the thumb and middle finger of your left hand on the sides of her upper jaw near her cheekbones, then tilt her head back so her nose points to the ceiling. Her mouth will open slightly. Gently pry open her mouth with the ring finger and little finger on your right hand.
  4. Holding the pill between your thumb and forefinger or in the pill popper, pop it onto the back of the tongue, and then release kitty’s head and hold the mouth closed.
  5. Rub kitty’s throat to get her to swallow. If she won’t swallow, blow gently on her nose. You'll know you’ve been successful when kitty licks her lips. Be sure to check her mouth to see that she really did swallow the pill. If you find that she has it in her mouth, position it at the back of the tongue again.
  6. Be sure to follow the pill with some liquid. You don’t want the pill to get stuck in kitty’s esophagus. Use a liquid medicine syringe and dribble water, chicken broth or tuna water into the side of her mouth to help get that pill swallowed completely and relatively comfortably.

It’s probably a good idea to get your cat used to having her mouth opened before there is a need for a pill. Try using the above method to give her a favorite treat, so when the time comes that she needs a pill, it won’t be traumatic for either of you.

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