Making the Medicine Go Down: Giving Your Cat Her Medicine
Nothing strikes fear into a cat owner more than hearing the veterinarian say, “Give these pills to your cat twice a day for the next ten days.”
“I have to stick my hand in that little mouth?” you think. “Not possible!”
Giving medicine to their cat is probably one of the most difficult things cat owners will need to do over the course of their pet’s lifetime. Just the thought of maneuvering their fingers around those razor-sharp teeth can cause heart palpitations! Many veterinarians are able to crush pills and put them into a flavored suspension. Be sure to ask your vet if they offer this service.
If you are stuck with pills, take heart: with a little practice, it is possible. Have your veterinarian show you how to pill your cat, then take a deep breath and go for it!
How to Pill a Cat
Follow these steps for giving your cat a pill:
Hold your cat gently, but firmly in your lap. If your cat is especially rambunctious, you may want to make her into a kitty burrito by wrapping her in a towel or blanket.
Place one hand on top of your cat’s head. Firmly grasp the top of her head where the jaws meet.
Gently tip her head backward until her nose points at the ceiling.
Hold the pill between your index finger and thumb of your free hand. Use the remaining fingers to open your cat’s mouth further by gently pressing down on her lower jaw.
Place the pill as far back in her mouth as possible. Use your index finger to push it even further back. (The farther back in her mouth the pill is, the more likely it is that cat will swallow it right away.)
Allow your cat to close her mouth.
Gently stroke her nose with your thumb, which will encourage her to lick and swallow. You can also gently stroke under her chin and down her throat to encourage swallowing.
When you are certain the pill has been swallowed give your cat lots of praise.
In some instances giving a pill to your cat can be made easier by coating it with tuna or cream cheese. But remember, some cat medicines should not be given with food, so check with your veterinarian before trying this.