How to Give a Cat a Pill

Administering pills to a cat can be intimidating. You want to be gentle, but you also know that your cat needs the medicine you are trying to give them. If you need to persuade your cat to swallow a pill, consider following these suggestions.

Familiarize Yourself with the Medication

Before getting started, review the kind of medication you will be giving your cat. Can it be crushed? Can it be taken with food? What is the size of the dose required? How often do you need to administer? Having these details ironed out before securing your pet may save you time and frustration.

Cat taking a pill

Gather Your Supplies

Before getting your pet, make sure you have a towel, the pill (out of the container), and a pet pill dispenser if you have one. If there is another available person in the home, ask them to assist you.

Prepare Your Pet

Lie the towel flat, and place your cat on the towel, wrapping them up like a burrito, or as one swaddles an infant. Keep their head exposed, but make sure that paws are secured. If you are working with a partner, have them hold the cat securely. If you are alone, try placing the cat between your knees to hold them in place. Speak in a soothing voice to assure your cat that it is safe.

Give the Cat the Pill

Below, is a guide on how to give your cat a pill:

gray cat wrapped in green blanket

  1. While your cat is secure, use your less dominant hand to tip their head up.

gray cat getting pill

  1. Place your thumb and forefinger on either side of the cat's upper jaw. Apply pressure, which will cause your cat's mouth to open.
  2. Use your other hand to place the pill in the way back of your cat's mouth. If you are more comfortable, do so with a pill dispenser, which resembles a syringe and will allow you to reach into your cat's mouth without putting your hand in it.

cat having neck rubbed

  1. After you put the pill successfully into your cat's mouth, gently hold it closed until you feel your cat swallow. You may also want to pet their throat to encourage them to swallow.
  2. As with any medication given orally to cats, be on the lookout for vomiting afterward.

You always want to exercise caution when working with animals, as there is the potential for injury. And remember, even following these steps won't work for every cat. If you're struggling to get your cat to take its medicine, consult with your vet for some additional ideas and support.

Possible Options, Depending on the Medication

Only IF there are no restrictions on food accompanying medication, you can use a pill pouch, which is a small and desirable cat treat which wraps around the pill. When the cat eats the treat, they will also consume the pill. Make sure to check that the pill has been consumed, as some smart kitties might eat the pill pouch and spit the pill out when you are not looking. Another option is to crush the pill and mix it in the cat's food.

Don't be intimidated by having to give your cat a pill. By using this guide, you just might make the experience easier for you and your cat.

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