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How To Give My Cat A Pill

Troubleshooting Tips For Pill

How To Give My Cat A Pill In 3 Simple Steps

Lets be honest: Theres a very good chance that your cat will fight against swallowing a pillor downright refuse to do so. If youve tried the steps above with no luck, consider these tips:

It’s important to have an open and honest line of communication with your veterinarian if you are struggling with how to give your cat a pill, so they can help tailor your cat’s treatment plan in a way that keeps both you and your cat relaxed and safe, and to protect the trusting bond you have with each other.

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Tools And Tricks That Can Help

A pill-giver

  • This is a little like a syringe with a plastic plunger
  • The tablet will fit in the soft nozzle at the end of the pill-giver, and it is released by pushing down on the plunger
  • A pill-giver can help you administer the tablet right at the back of your cats tongue while avoiding any need to place your fingers in your cats mouth
  • With a little practice, this can be very effective and many people find it quite easy to use
  • Prepare the tablet in the pill-giver before restraining your cat, and make sure the plunger is just in contact with the tablet before use so that it is as easy as possible to release it at the back of your cats tongue
  • The pill-giver can also be used with gelatine capsules

Always follow the manufacturers instructions.

A pill-popper

  • This small device makes it easy to divide tablets accurately into halves or quarters. This can be useful when your cat does not need a whole tablet or when giving two smaller pieces may be easier than giving one whole tablet
  • Always check first to make sure the tablet is suitable for dividing some tablets have a special coating, for example, and must be administered whole and not divided. If in doubt, always check with your vet
  • Place the tablet in the bottom of the V slot in the bottom half of the splitter. Closing the lid , results in the tablet being cut in half
  • Keep track of all the pieces and ensure that the correct dose is given to your cat

Always follow the manufacturers instructions.

Gelatine capsules

How Do I Give My Cat A Pill

So, youâre wondering how you can give your pet cat a pill. As mentioned, this can truly be a challenge, so donât worry if it takes you a few tries. The most important thing is to ensure that your pet gets the medication that they need. In other words, it doesnât matter how long it takes, just that your cat gets their pill. There are a couple of ways that you can tackle this. The first way to give your cat a pill is by hand. The second way is to hide their pill in a piece of food. Thereâs usually a bit of trial and error associated with finding a method that works for you, so donât panic.

Itâs understandable that giving your cat their medication can prove to be intimidating and even a bit anxiety-inducing. Nevertheless, try your best to be confident and calm, too. This is because your feline is able to pick up on your stress, and this could make them nervous, too.

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Ways To Give A Cat A Pill

  • Hiding in soft food.
  • Hiding in a treat with pill pocket.
  • Turning pill into powder and rubbing on fur.
  • Inserting pill into mouth by hand.

Many of you guys expressed how hard pilling was for you in a previous post so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to talk about techniques I use for our 4 cats. Every single one of them needs to be pilled a different way, because like people they have different personalities. I have done a lot of personal research, many different methods, and Ive also cried a bunch along the way. Life of a Cat Mom !

Im going to discuss all 4 ways we use in hopes that one of them will relate to your cat and can help you.

Lets start with the easy ways. These are both sneaky and if your cat can fall for them Im so happy for you!

How To Give A Cat A Pill

How to Give Pills to a Cat Like a Pro

Heres a step-by-step guide to administering medication to your cat by hand.

  • Try to approach the task calmly, aiming to minimise stress to your cat. If you havent given a pill before, it is very useful to ask a vet or vet nurse to show you how to safely give oral medication. Do not put yourself at risk of getting bitten, and watch your cat closely for signs that they are becoming angry or distressed.
  • Place your cat on a flat, stable surface such as the floor or a tabletop. It can be helpful to put down a towel to stop them from slipping.
  • To give the pill, this will be easier from behind or next to your cat. However, avoid taking your cat by surprise as this will startle them and may result in a defensive scratch or nip.
  • Having a second pair of hands can be very helpful, but is not essential. You want your cat to be facing away from you as this will make it easier to restrain their legs or any other movement they might use to try and escape your grasp. You may find it helpful to hold them securely against your body to prevent them from reversing.
  • Take the pill in one hand and with the other hand gently hold over the top of their head with your thumb and index fingers either side of their jaw and tilt your cats head upwards. Use the other hand to gently open the lower jaw to open their mouth.
  • Use your index finger to place the pill in the middle of their tongue, as far back as you can.
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    Administering A Tablet By Hand Gentle Restraint

    If your cat will not take the tablet voluntarily or in with food, you will need to give the tablet by hand. Gentle, safe restraint of your cat is important, and it helps enormously to have two people one person to give the tablet and one to hold the cat.

    Restraining your cat with your hands

    • Make sure your cat is on a stable non-slippery surface such as the floor otherwise a firm table or work surface with a non-slip surface
    • Allow your cat to sit upright, in front of you, but facing away from you
    • Gently hold each front leg above the elbow with your hands pressed gently against the sides of your cat
    • This helps to prevent your cat from running off, keeps your cat sitting upright, and controls the front legs, paws and claws

    Alternatively, restrain your cat with a towel

    • This can be especially useful for very wriggly cats or if you dont have a second person to help hold your cat
    • Use a mid-sized soft towel not too large or it will be unwieldy. Put the towel on the floor or a flat stable surface and then put the cat on top of the towel, facing away from you
    • Bring up one side of the towel and then the other, around the cats neck so that your cat is thoroughly wrapped and cannot get its front legs out of the opening
    • Hold your cat gently but firmly in the towel

    Giving the tablet

    Remember, if you have problems and/or your cat gets upset, contact your local veterinary practice and talk to the vet or vet nurse about how they may be able to help.

    Ask Your Vet For Help

    It might feel like cheating, but if tips 1-8 dont work, you need to ask your vet for help! They might have a liquid formulation, a long-acting formulation, or be able to pill Felix for you! There are even drug reformulation companies out there that exist to turn pills into pastes or to create the right size pill for your cat to make them easier to give. A lot of people are embarrassed to admit they struggle to medicate their cat, but your vet cant help if they dont know that youre having trouble.

    Whatever the reason that your pet needs to take medications, were hoping that our guide to giving your cat a pill will help you to get them the treatment they need. And dont forget, youre not alone- in one study, a quarter of cat owners werent able to give the prescribed course of treatment!

    Featured image credit: photosforyou, Pixabay

    Contents Overview

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    How Do I Keep My Cat Healthy

    There you have it: how to give your cat a pill simply and effectively. Of course, if any questions pop up, you can reach out to a trusted veterinarian. At Pawp, vet care is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    Youâll love the affordable online vet with emergency coverage, too! Donât wait another second to join the qualified vets at Pawp and get answers to all of your questions about giving your cat a pill.


    How To Give A Cat A Pill With Your Own Two Hands

    How to Give Your Cat a Pill the EASY Way!

    Approach the situation in a relaxed and positive way. That may be easier said than done, but if youre nervous, your cat will sense it, says Doc Halligan. One way to make this easier? Swaddling your cat in a soft blanket. It can provide some comfort, as well as keep your cat still. And dont forget to praise and pet your cat. Next, hold the top of your cats head with your non-dominant hand . Your hand can firmly hold the cheekbone area without hurting your cat. Then, Doc Halligan says to tilt the head back, which helps to open the jaw naturally, and use your free hand to drop the pill as far back in the throat as possible. Massage the cats throat to encourage swallowing. Some pills require a small amount of water, which can be given with an eye-dropper. Be sure to offer a treat or food and plenty of praise after.

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    How To Make Giving Your Cat A Pill Easier

    Giving your cat a pill isnt the easiest process in the world, especially if you have a wriggly cat. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can make the process go smoother:

    • Consider wrapping your cat in a towel if hes highly active and resistant.
    • You can also use a pill gun, which makes it much easier to get the pill farther back into your cats mouth, ensuring he swallows it.
    • You can also grease up the pill with just a bit of butter or margarine, which can help ensure it slides down.

    Conceal the pills: You may be able to avoid struggling with your cat over pills at all. Consider using a product like Pill Pockets or Tomlyns Pill Masker. Both of these products are designed to conceal pills in a tasty coating thats just like a treat. When using these products, use only one hand to touch the pill, and then dont use that hand to touch the exterior treat. Some pills have very strong scents and tastes, and your hand can transfer them. Once the pill is concealed, give your cat the treat and he should eat it willingly.

    Try a liquid form: If your cat is truly terrible about taking pills and outsmarts all your efforts, ask your vet if the medication can be compounded in a liquid form. You may have better luck giving your cat a liquid medication using a dropper.

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    Insert Pill By Hand Into Mouth

    This method is medium, difficult, but once you perfect it, its 100% the best!

    For this method, you need your cat to trust you. The first time is a surprise, but after a couple times the cat will know whats up it sees the pill jar and might give you a chase. Its ok, it gets better over time.

    Xanadu is our Siamese cat and shes paranoid about the world and incredibly cautious, so we have to do this manually by hand. Ive given Xanadu liquid medicine by hand so I have it down pretty solid on how to open her mouth and get it done. In fact, I do this to Xanadu by myself, so theres a lot of trust built up between us. Xanadu is now 13 years old and handles this like a champ. She doesnt love it, but she now gives in without a chase around the apartment.

    Step 1, get your pill. You can put the pill in your hand but I find using a pill gun so much easier as its skinnier to fit into your cats mouth. Once you pry open their mouth, you then press the trigger and the pill shoots into the back of the cats throat. This means no fiddling around with the pill in the front of the cats mouth. I bought this at my local pet store for $4 and its worth millions in tears.

    Step 2. Get your cat and hold it tight between your legs. I do this by myself, so while holding her between my thighs, I reach around with one hand to open the mouth while holding the pill gun with the other.

    Then I reward her in kisses, hugs and treats and tell her well never do that again .

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    Level Ii: Bait And Switch With Food

    If your dog is on to the food bribe game, but you want to try one more option for using food to slide a pill past them, see if the bait and switch method works with your dog.

  • Choose a treat your dog really loves.
  • Give him the treat without the pill.
  • Hide the pill in the second treat.
  • Finally, give him a third treat without the medication.
  • Alternatively, get your dogs attention on a pill-free treat, then give them the treat with the pill while they are looking at the other treat.

    Administering Medications To Your Cat

    5 Tips For Getting Your Cat To Take A Pill
    • Before you leave your veterinarians office with a new medication, be sure to address any concerns or questions with your veterinary team.
    • It is very important to follow all label directions carefully.
    • Do not risk being bitten, scratched, or otherwise injured while trying to medicate your cat. If you are unable to administer medication, your veterinarian may be able to offer other options.

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    Giving Oral Medications To Your Cat

    This information is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care. Always follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian.

    Your veterinarian will tell you if your cat’s medication can be given with food or if it must be given on an empty stomach. If the tablet or capsule can be given with food, you may make a “meatball” by placing the medication in the center of a small ball of canned cat food or cheese. Always give a test “meatball” to your cat to make sure she is willing eat it and also to see if she chews it or gulps it whole. Cats are more likely to chew their food than are dogs, so cats often will eat the “meatball” and spit out the tablet or capsule. This causes the tablet or capsule to partially dissolve and become very hard to handle. If the cat bites into the tablet or capsule, which will leave a bad taste in her mouth, she will be harder to medicate on the second attempt. So, you will have to decide what works best with your cat.

    The following instructions are presented to help you give medications if you cannot give the medicine in a “meatball”. Use caution when giving a cat oral medication to avoid a bite. A cat’s mouth contains many bacteria and cat bites are often deep punctures. If you are bitten by your cat, clean the wound thoroughly and seek medical attention.

    Medications for oral administration may be in pill, capsule or liquid form.

    Tilt the head back and the cat will often drop its lower jaw open.

    …and pull open the lower jaw.

    Using Food To Avoid Dry Pilling

    Fortunately, there are more tricks you can use to prevent problems when administering oral medications to your cat. You may be able to handle medicating your cat using food and treats.

    • Conceal a pill in a pill pocket or another pill-masking product. You can purchase pill pockets or make your own. Pre-made pill pockets are soft, cone-shaped treats with a hole down the center in which you place the pill.
    • Offering a favorite treat from time to time without pills in it encourages future pilling cooperation. It’ll also help get the pill into the stomach quickly so it can go to work.
    • Give your cat a small portion of a regular meal of canned food before the pilling. Then, offer your cat a pill, and feed it more after it swallows the medicine. It’ll help the pill go down smoothly.

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    Get The Medication Compounded

    Another way you can tackle this is by potentially having the medication youâre attempting to administer compounded into a flavored formulation. Reach out to a veterinary pharmacy about this.

    Besides changing the flavor, veterinary pharmacies have other capabilities. Pawp veterinarian Dr. Laura Robinson says that these pharmacies can âchange the form of the medication. For example, if you cannot give your cat a pill, they can change the form to liquid, which is typically easier to administer to cats.”


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