How To Pill a Cat



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Whether you are an experienced or a new cat owner, how to give it a pill is always challenging. While it might take some time to execute, the best way to give your cat a tablet is by concealing or mixing the medication in a treat or a small amount of food it would usually eat.

How To Pill A Cat. A Tortoiseshell cat with green eyes gets a brown pill placed into its open mouth.

While mixing the pill with food is one method, you can utilize several other proven techniques to administer medicine to your cat. Keep reading more about these methods, the safety tips you need to follow, and every other common issue that can arise when giving your furry angel a pill.

Different Pill Forms and Administration Methods For Cats

Several methods can be used to give your cat pills. However, while some cats can swallow pills effortlessly, others can find it difficult.

Fortunately, other forms of cat medication include syrup, injectables, chewable tablets, transdermal gels, and powder-form medicine. Therefore, when the veterinarian prescribes pills, you can ask whether they can be split, crushed, or turned into powder without losing efficacy.

However, not every medication is available in different compositions, and you might need to administer a pill for several medical conditions as a last resort. But hope is not lost!

If you have to feed your cat a pill, there are ways to do so without stressing out your pet (or you).

Administering the Pill in a Cat’s Mouth

If you are administering the pill directly by hand for the first time, ask your veterinarian to demonstrate the proper way to give oral medications to the cat without being bitten and still ensuring your pet’s safety.

Always look for signs of distress or agitation during pill administration, and don’t proceed until the cat is relaxed.

  1. Approach it gently, making it comfortable in your presence and reducing stress.
  2. Place your cat on a flat surface and use a large towel to prevent it from slipping.
  3. Sit down or stay next to it, and don’t move in a hurry; otherwise, it can get startled.
  4. Having someone help you is always better, but it’s not mandatory.
  5. Its mouth should be facing away from you, making it easier to restrain its legs and restrict its movement if it tries to run away.
  6. Take the medication in one hand while using the other to hold the top of its head. Next, place your index fingers and thumb on either side of the jaw, near the pet’s ear, and tilt its head upwards.
  7. Open the lower jaw and put the pill on the tongue as fast as possible, pushing it down as far down its throat as you can.
  8. After gently closing the cat’s mouth, proceed to stroke its throat.
  9. If you see your cat licking its lips and nose, it means it has swallowed the pill.
  10. Wait a few seconds, then check the corners of its lips and mouth to ensure the pill was swallowed. Sometimes, the cat can spit the pill back out.
  11. If the pill has not been swallowed, repeat the process. You can squirt a small amount of water to encourage the cat to swallow.
  12. Once it has swallowed the pill, don’t forget to treat it with its favorite soft treat or toy to encourage this behavior, as this is a positive reinforcement learning experience for your cat.

Giving Pills To Cats Through Wet Cat Food

You can hide the pill directly in wet food or a small amount of its favorite canned food. Some medicines can even be mixed with liquids like tuna water.

If your vet provides compounded pills, you can customize them according to the form your cat can easily take. For example, powdered medications can be mixed with wet foods like natural yogurt, water from a can of tuna, or chicken broth.

Towel Wrap Technique For Your Cat

  1. Place the towel in the center of the table and place the cat facing away from you.
  2. Fold the towel around the cat and place your arms on either side of the towel, firmly holding the cat while your hands reach its neck.
  3. Gently hold the cat to reduce stress; many cats can panic and feel trapped.
  4. Lift one side of its cheek, keep its mouth open, and administer the medication.
  5. Use your fingers to push the pill manually to the center of the tongue or place it in a pill popper. Next, insert the pill popper into the mouth and push the plastic plunger to release the pill.

The pill popper is a handy tool for administering meditation but requires a little practice. Typically, the medicine given to cats is tiny and can be mixed in water.

This liquid can either be mixed with a tasty food your furry feline likes or filled in a syringe. If your cat can take a pill without an issue, reward it with a small piece of its favorite snack.

Other Ways You Can Give Your Cat a Pill

  • Besides using canned food, opt for a small amount of its favorite food and mix in the pills.
  • Hide the medication in a pet piller and prepare several treats, with only one with a pill inside. Give the treat containing the tablet in between the other treats and gently stroke their throat to ensure it is swallowed.
  • If you have medicine in powdered form, you can make a maze with whipped cream on a plate and sprinkle the meds on the cream, making the cat take its required medication without hassle.
  • Several medications can be crushed and dissolved in a bit of water.

Final Thoughts on Giving Pills To Your Cat

It requires patience, dedication, and effort if you want your cat to take its medicine stress-free. While some cats will comply well when taking their meds, many can panic as these med-administering techniques require force to restrain the pet.

You should call your vet nurse if you are a new cat owner and want to learn how to do this properly. This is the best choice for you and your cat to make it a positive experience.

Before you go, you may find these articles helpful:

How Often Your Cat Should Go To The Vet

How To Give A Cat Liquid Medicine

How To Deworm A Cat

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