Article: How to Give a Pill to a Cat
Contributor: Pet Herb Store


Any of us who has tried to give medication to our cat, but ended up searching for a band aid instead, will understand the need for some specific instructions. Some cats are more, shall we say "frisky" than others. Here are some tried and tested tricks to help make it easier on you AND your cat.

For Pet Herb Store designed pills, Hiding the Pill and Wrap the Cat methods work best, as it better masks the scent and taste, and arouses less kitty suspicion.

Crush the Pill

1. Using two spoons, crush the pill between them into a fine powder.

2. Mix the powder with food that smells good to your cat. Canned food or cream cheese works well and fish flavor is popular, although our "stunt cat" was more interested in bacon or smoked sausage. Remember that warm food smells and tastes better.

3. Check the package first to ensure that your medication is not formulated for "slow release", as crushing would not be advised for this type of medicine. Check with your vet if you are not sure.

Hide the Pill

1. Wrap or squish the pill in food the cat really likes and does not get very often. The food should smell really good to your cat and heating it a little might really help bring out the taste and scent. Soft cheese, liver pate, canned cat food, etc work well.

You can also try commercially made pill pockets, or plain gel capsules. They either mask the taste, or hide it altogether, so there is no unpleasant taste for kitty. One caution: check with your vet before using gel caps because this may affect the absorption rate or interfere with time-release medicines.

2. Get the cat excited about the food by letting them have a little taste before you give them the food with the pill in it.

Wrap the Cat

1. Draw a little water into a clean syringe (without the needle) and keep it handy. You can buy these in almost any drug store.

2. Use a small towel and wrap it around your cat gently but snugly. This will keep you from getting scratched and also protect your cat.

3. Open your cat's mouth by pushing gently on the corners of its jaws.

4. Hold the cat's head back with one hand and and use your other hand to place the pill near the back of the throat. Do this swiftly but gently to reduce the time your cat may be in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable position.

5. Pick up the syringe and squirt some water into the back of the cat's throat, then hold the cat's mouth closed. You can stroke your cat's throat to help it to relax and swallow the pill.

If you're not sure they've swallowed, you can blow a small puff of air toward the cat's nose. This usually stimulates them to swallow. If the cat licks its nose, you will know they have already swallowed the pill. Wait a moment to ensure they don't spit the pill out.

Once they've swallowed the pill, unwrap your cat immediately and reward them with praise, affection or play, depending on what works best for your cat.

Make sure they have access to drinking water directly afterward.

If you train a kitten to take a pill, it will get used to it and it will be easier once they've grown.