How To Give Cat Medicine

How do you give oral medications to a cat?

Identifying the photographer Giving oral medication to a cat isn’t always the most straightforward process, but by being cool and following the instructions below, you can ensure that your cat receives the medication it requires. Your veterinarian will advise you on whether medicine for your cat should be administered with food or on an empty stomach. It is possible to produce a “meatball” by inserting the drug in the middle of a little ball of canned cat food or cheese, if the tablet or capsule may be given with food.

As a result, the pill or capsule becomes partially disintegrated and difficult to handle.

If a “meatball” does not work for your cat, the following steps will assist you in administering drugs.

A cat’s mouth carries a large number of microorganisms, and its bites can cause severe punctures.

Oral medications are available in a variety of forms, including pill, capsule, and liquid.

Giving a cat pills or capsules

Identifying the photograph Giving oral medication to a cat isn’t always the most straightforward process, but by being cool and following the instructions provided below, you can ensure that your cat receives the medication it need on a consistent basis. Depending on your cat’s medical condition, your veterinarian may advise you to provide medication with food or on an empty stomach. It is possible to produce a “meatball” by inserting the drug in the middle of a little ball of canned cat food or cheese, if the tablet or capsule may be administered with food.

  1. As a result, the pill or capsule begins to partially disintegrate and becomes difficult to manipulate.
  2. If a “meatball” does not work for your cat, the methods below will assist you in administering drugs.
  3. There are numerous microorganisms in a cat’s mouth, and bites can cause severe punctures.
  4. A tablet, a capsule, or a liquid formulation may be used for oral delivery.

Giving a cat liquid medications

Liquid drugs are administered through a pouch placed between the teeth and the cheek. Quickly spray the medication into the pouch, close the cat’s mouth, and rub the cat’s neck or blow hard on its nose to urge it to swallow the medication. When compared to tablets or capsules, liquids have a higher chance of unintentionally entering the windpipe. If possible, avoid tilting the cat’s head backwards to prevent the cat from breathing fluids into the windpipe. If you are having difficulty administering a pill or capsule to your cat, see your veterinarian about the possibility of suspending the tablet or capsule in a liquid.

Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your drug regimen. This material is not intended to be a replacement for professional veterinary treatment. Keep in mind that you should always follow the recommendations supplied by your veterinarian.

Giving Liquid Medication to Cats

The most convenient approach to provide liquid medicine to your cat is to mix it in with some canned food. It is preferable to combine themedication into a little bit of canned food that you serve to your cat by hand rather than mixing it into a big bowl of food that the cat may not finish. Some cats may be averse to eating the food, or they may have dietary limitations that preclude you from employing this strategy in their situation. Consequently, you will need to inject the prescription straight into the cat’s mouth if this is the situation.

  1. Make certain you have thoroughly read the prescription label and that you understand the dose instructions.
  2. When administering medication that has been refrigerated, you may wish to reheat it by holding the syringe tightly in your hand for a minute or two, or by putting it in a warm water bath for a few minutes.
  3. Prepare a space where you will be able to securely handle the cat.
  4. The placement of your cat in your lap may prove to be the most convenient option if you are delivering the medicine by yourself.
  5. It may also be beneficial to have someone else hold the covered cat while you deliver the medicine the first few times.
  6. Allowing the cat to lick the medication off the tip of the syringe while slowly depressing the plunger is the first step (many cats accept medication more readily if it is warmed up as mentioned above).
  7. The mouth will then slightly open as a result of this.

Make careful to slant the syringe slightly to the side so that the drug is deposited onto the tongue by the tip of the syringe.

A cat inhaling or aspirating fluids into its lungs is therefore more likely to occur in this situation.

It is not necessary to re-medicate unless you are convinced that none of the medicine has been taken.” Squeeze the syringe slowly to release the liquid medicine into the air.

The majority of cats will spit out a portion of their medicine.

When determining the appropriate quantity of medication for your cat, your veterinarian will have taken a little amount of loss into consideration.

This will help to make the experience more positive and may make it simpler to administer the drug the next time it is administered. After each use, carefully clean the dropper or syringe with water and, if required, place the leftover medication in the refrigerator to keep it cool.

How to Give a Difficult Cat Liquid Medicine

Cats are well-known for refusing to take their medication when prescribed. Even if your cat is a handful, he still has to be medicated on a consistent basis. If you’re wondering how to administer liquid medicine to a tough cat, one frequent method is to hide the medicine in food that he enjoys. However, if that strategy fails to help your cat, there are other options available to you.

Mix the Medicine with Canned Food

If you conceal medicine in his food, your cat, like children, may be preoccupied and not realize that he is receiving medication, which is beneficial. If your veterinarian gives you the go light, you might want to attempt combining your cat’s medication with wet food. 1 It is important to inform your veterinarian if your cat is on any other medications, such as flea and tick shampoo or topical therapy. If you decide to try combining it with food, be sure to use only a small amount of the food combined with the medicine so that your cat consumes all of the food and does not leave any leftovers.

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How to Give Liquid Medicine in a Syringe

If you conceal medicine in his meal, your cat, like children, may become preoccupied and not realize he is receiving medication. It is possible to combine your cat’s medication with wet food if you have permission from your veterinarian. 1 If you cat is on any other medications, such as flea and tick shampoo or topical therapy, be sure to notify your veterinarian about it. If you decide to try mixing it with food, be sure to use only a small amount of food combined with the medicine so that your cat consumes the entire meal and does not leave any leftovers.

Take into consideration AvoDerm NaturalWild By Nature Salmon Entree in Salmon Consommé for a particularly delectable alternative.

What If Your Cat Is Foaming at the Mouth?

After receiving his prescription, your cat may experience an unexpected response, such as foaming at the mouth, at times. This does not necessarily imply that the medication is harmful to him. It is possible for cats to froth at the mouth simply because they do not care for the flavor of something. By placing the medication on the back third of his tongue, you will reduce the likelihood that he will taste it and will also prevent him from foaming at the mouth. If you’re concerned, you may always consult with your veterinarian.

  • This is one of those situations in which both you and your furry friend will improve with time and practice.
  • 1.
  • VCA Hospitals is a group of hospitals owned by the VCA Foundation.
  • “How to Give Liquid Medication to a Cat,” written by a Vancouver veterinarian.

3. Debora Lichtenberg’s “How to Give Medicine to a Cat (Yes, Even to a Difficult Cat.)” is available online. Petful, on the 30th of July, 2019. . “Giving Liquid Medication to Your Cat,” Buckeye Veterinary Clinic, “Giving Liquid Medication to Your Cat.”,.

How to Give Your Cat Pills & Other Medications

Illness is no fun, especially when you have to take medication in order to feel better faster. It’s no different for your four-legged companions. Medicine for cats is occasionally essential to improve their health, whether it be due to an illness or allergic reactions. To make the procedure of giving your cat a pill less unpleasant for both of you, follow these helpful guidelines. This will assist you in getting her back on track to feeling well.

Holding Your Cat

For some cats, even the act of being held can be stressful. You should gently approach your cat, speaking to her in a kind and soothing way as you pick her up. She should be completely covered with either an old towel or a blanket, with the legs well supported so they do not hang freely, which might make her feel uncomfortable and insecure. Petcha and Marilyn Krieger are best friends.

How to Give Your Cat a Pill

The majority of cat medications are taken orally in tablet form. Keep this in mind when you have your prescription in hand: cats are intelligent creatures that don’t react well to changes in their habit, and they will not make it easy on you if you try to disrupt their schedule. Your dog, on the other hand, is happy to swallow pills that have been mixed with peanut butter. You will have to approach your cat in a calm but calculated manner. In the case of a cooperative cat, you might try immediately putting the medication in her mouth.

As opposed to this, lay it in the middle of her tongue at the back of her mouth, then gently stroke her throat to help the pill to pass down, suggests the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, which is available online.

The “Meatball”

Another approach for giving your cat a pill involves making a more discrete movement than just placing the medication into her mouth. Starting with her normal meal dish, conceal the pill in the dish with her usual food. Cat food that is moist or semi-wet is the ideal option, but if your furry friend only eats kibble, you can offer her the moist food after she takes the pill to make it a fun treat. Another option is to conceal the pill within a little ball of cat chow. With a pill hidden in her wet food that you make into a ball and deliver to your cat as a delightful snack, you may play this game of hide-and-seek with your cat.

Many foods, on the other hand, might induce gastric upset in cats.

Cat Food Gravy

If you’re seeking for an alternative method of administering a tablet to your cat, you might be tempted to try crushing the pill into a powder form. However, as pointed out by Animal Planet, “Never crush or ground pills for the purpose of putting them in food or drink unless your veterinarian advises you to do so. Because crushed medicine has an unpleasant flavor, your cat will not get the whole amount.” Always seek the full consent of your veterinarian before providing medication to cats in this manner.

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Because the drug is kept within the device, this instrument makes crushing a bit easier and cleaner, and they are only a few bucks.

In addition, the rich flavor of the gravy will mask the unpleasant taste of the tablet.

Never administer medication to your cat in milk since many cats are unable to digest dairy products. If she refuses to eat a tablespoon of gravy, add it into her normal meal, either as a special topping for kibble or combined with wet food, as a special topping for kibble.

Liquid Formula

When a cat refuses to take medication or is unable to eat regularly while unwell, the veterinarian may prescribe the medication in a liquid mix that must be supplied by a syringe to get the desired results. However, cats are more likely to accept medicine that is served at ambient temperature than they are to accept medicine that is served at refrigeration temperature. Never heat medicine in the microwave. Heat the syringe by holding it in your hand for a few minutes or by soaking it in a cup of warm (not hot) water until it is comfortable to use.

  1. Allow your cat to lick the tip of the syringe so she may get a taste of the medicine, then slowly depress the plunger to administer the medication.
  2. Petful.
  3. Maintaining her mouth closed for a short period of time will ensure that she consumes the medication.
  4. Do not be concerned if she vomits any of the medication – this is usual.

Eye and Ear Drops

A cat may require the use of eye or ear drops from time to time, particularly if she suffers from allergies. You’ll need to hold your cat firmly when administering these medications, just as you would when administering pills or liquid formulations. When it comes to eye drops, suggests Ernest Ward, DVM, of the Newport Harbor Animal Hospital, is a veterinarian. Placing your hand on the top of the cat’s head (it’s typically advisable to approach them from above or below their head rather than directly at their face, as this will ensure that they don’t see you coming) “Pulling back the upper eyelid with the last two fingers of the same hand is a good technique.

The lower eyelid will function as a bag to hold the drops while they are being applied.” Never put your fingers or the tip of your eye dropper near the cat’s eye.

Ward recommends the following ear drops: “Using a gentle circular motion, gently massage the base of the ear.

This is normal.” Both of these ways will be unpleasant for your cat, but they are necessary for her health, as is the case with any cat treatment.


Certain disorders, like as diabetes, necessitate the administration of medication via the skin by pet owners. A second pair of hands will come in handy while administering injections, so ask the assistance of a friend or family member to hold your pet in position with a towel or firm but gentle grasp. Depending on the prescription, a cat may require an injection in the hip, neck, or another location; thus, ask your veterinarian to demonstrate how and where the injection should be administered.

  • Always use a fresh needle for each dose, and make a note of the time and date of each injection.
  • She may also require some alone time, so provide her the time and space she requires if she wishes to withdraw for a short period of time.
  • Put it in a sharps container that has been approved for disposal, or bring it to your local pharmacy or veterinarian’s office.
  • Only give your cat the medication suggested by the doctor after the checkup is completed.
  • Many of these treatments are toxic to cats.
  • You should always consult with your veterinarian about the most effective method of delivering medication to your cat.

Medicine for cats is occasionally essential, whether it’s a brief course of antibiotics or a long-term treatment plan for a chronic illness or disease. Your kitten may not express gratitude, but she will be grateful for her good health!

Contributor Bio

Christine O’Brien is a writer and actress. The author, mother, and long-time cat parent Christine O’Brien lives with her two Russian Blue cats, who are the rulers of the household., What to Expect, and Fit Pregnancy are just a few of the publications where she contributes articles about pets, pregnancy, and family life. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter, where she goes by the handle @brovelliobrien.

Step-By-Step Instructions for Giving Your Cat Medication

When your pet becomes ill and requires medication, it is never a pleasant experience. This may be quite distressing for both you and your cat at the same time. Cats are notorious for being picky eaters, even when they are well, and this is exacerbated even further when they are sick. In this post, you will learn about our advice and suggestions to assist you effectively administer medication to your cat and get them feeling better. Are you concerned about the well-being of your pet? Within minutes, you may schedule a video consultation with an experienced veterinarian.

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Always follow the directions provided by your veterinarian when administering medication to your cat. Some drugs must be administered on an empty stomach or are not permitted to be administered with meals. While some cats may readily consume their medication when it is concealed in a nice treat, others will frequently eat around the pill or capsule or will just refuse to consume the treat containing the prescription altogether. Cats rely on their excellent sense of smell to drive their hunger, which may be diminished when they are unwell, making it harder to deliver treats that have medication buried inside them to them.

For liquid meds, you may even practice in the exam room by using little treats that are comparable in size to the drug or a syringe filled with water for practice.

Prepare to Give Your Cat’s Medication

Read and adhere to the directions on the medication’s label, which include:

  • How often does the medicine need to be administered
  • Does the drug need to be administered with food or on an empty stomach
  • And other questions. Is it possible to take this drug with other prescriptions or supplements, or do they need to be taken at different times? If the drug is a liquid, does it need to be shaken before use? If the medicine has been refrigerated, remove it from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature in a warm water bath (never microwave medication)

Prepare by keeping medications, canned food, pill pockets, and snacks within easy reach at all times. Bring your cat into a quiet area in a calm manner. Lay a familiar towel or blanket over your lap or on a table, and spray it with Feliway (a relaxing pheromone treatment that you may get from your veterinarian’s office) to soothe your cat. Assure your cat with a calm, soothing voice and soft caressing (if your cat is accustomed to receiving such treatment). Wrapped in a blanket or towel with only their head poking out, cats feel more secure and safe.

If you see that your cat is growing worried, upset, or furious, take a break and give them some delectable treats, or even give them some time to settle down before trying to calm them down again and again.

How to Give Your Cat Pill or Capsule Medication

Make a tiny “meatball” of canned cat food or delectable pill pockets (which may be bought at your veterinarian’s office or local pet store) to begin with. Offer this to your cat without administering any medicine to see whether he or she is interested in eating it. If this is the case, place the medication in the middle of the “meatball” or pill pocket and position it close to your cat’s location. If your cat chews into the medication, it may leave an unpleasant taste in their mouth, making it more difficult to treat them and causing the pill or capsule to partially disintegrate.

It’s important to remember that a cat’s mouth is full of bacteria, and that cat bites may be extremely unpleasant and even infected.

You may be tempted to disguise your cat’s prescription in food such as cheese or tuna; however, doing so may cause stomach discomfort, so consult your veterinarian before introducing anything other than their usual food into their diet.

Do not crush or grind tablets unless specifically instructed to do so by your veterinarian. If you do, the medicine may become bitter or cause oral irritation or other difficulties, making it much more difficult to treat your cat.

2. Giving Pills or Capsules Directly into the Mouth Without Food

Oral medications (those that are taken by mouth) are available in the form of tablets, capsules, or liquids. Preparing the drug is as simple as holding the tablet or capsule in your dominant hand between your index finger and thumb. Additionally, a little piece of kibble that is approximately the same size as the pill or capsule can be used to practice. If your dominant hand is your right hand, your cat should be sitting with their head looking towards the right, and if your dominant hand is your left hand, your cat should be sitting with their head facing left.

  1. You will gently grip the cheekbones of your cat’s head on either side of their head.
  2. In order to maintain the lower jaw’s open position, place one of your remaining fingers on the hand that has the pill or capsule on one of the lower incisors (the little teeth between the long sharp fangs or canine teeth).
  3. To urge your cat to swallow, place the tablet or capsule as far back over the tongue as you possibly can, instantly seal their mouth, and softly blow on their nose.
  4. If your cat is having trouble swallowing, you can gently massage or rub their throat/neck area.
  5. If your cat is experiencing this, you should discuss your concerns with your veterinarian.

3. Using a Pilling Device or Pill Popper to Give Medication

When you give your cat pills or capsules, using a pill popper keeps your fingers out of their mouth, which is safer for both of you. Have your veterinarian or veterinary technician demonstrate how to safely use a pill popper because if used incorrectly, a pill popper has the potential to cause injury to your cat’s throat.

How to Give Your Cat Liquid Medication

The most convenient approach to provide liquid medicine to your cat is to mix it in with his canned food. Combining a tiny quantity of their regular canned food with their liquid medicine and hand-feeding them will guarantee that they receive the full dose of their medication. Cats can be finicky eaters, and they may refuse to consume the food that contains the prescription. As a result, you will have to administer the drug straight into their oral cavity.

2. Giving Liquid Medications Directly into the Mouth Without Using Food

Offer the medicine to your cat while holding the syringe or dropper with the medication in your dominant hand – some cats may lick the drug from the tip of the syringe. As your cat licks and takes the medication, you may carefully press the plunger or squeeze the dropper to release the medication. You can gently hold your cat’s head by their cheekbones with your non-dominant hand and gently insert the tip of the syringe or dropper in the space between the cheek and the teeth inside their mouth if they are not willing to sip the liquid.

See also:  How To Tell If Cat Has Worms

When administering liquid drugs to your cat, avoid tilting the cat’s head back, since this increases the danger of the medication being inhaled into the windpipe and lungs.

If you are not certain that they did not ingest any of the liquid, do not provide extra medicine.

If your cat is experiencing this, you should discuss your concerns with your veterinarian. After each dose, rinse the syringe or dropper thoroughly and allow it to air dry. If the drug label specifies that it should be stored in the refrigerator, do so.

After Giving Your Cat Medication

Make sure to give your cat plenty of praise. Give special snacks or canned food to make the experience more pleasant, and this will ideally make it simpler to administer the medication the following time.

Read more:

Step-by-Step Instructions for Administering Eye Medication to Your Pet Learn how to administer medication to your dog or cat using a “spot on” method.

Have more questions about medicating your cat?

Make an appointment for a video consultation to speak with one of our veterinarians.

Tips For Feline Medi-cat-ion Administration

It’s a common experience among cat owners that attempting to persuade a stubborn feline to do something they don’t want to do may be a very tough process. When it comes to giving a cat medication, for example, owners must put their cat’s health ahead of their own wants in order to ensure the pet’s well-being. Dr. Lori Teller, an associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine’s Biomedical Sciences department, advises cat owners to enlist the help of a second set of hands when administering medication to a resistant cat.

  1. After your cat has been appropriately restrained, the delivery procedure may vary depending on whether the prescription medication is in a liquid or tablet form.
  2. However, although while placing the liquid dose in a cat’s food dish may appear to be a creative workaround, your cat will not receive the proper amount if they do not complete their meal.
  3. As a result, it is critical for cat owners to provide liquid medication straight into their cat’s mouth as necessary.
  4. Grab the cat’s head at the cheeks with your non-dominant hand and squeeze.
  5. The cat’s nose should be pointed toward the ceiling.

To gently draw the cat’s jaw down, use the third or fourth finger of your dominant hand, and then swiftly slip the pill into the back of the cat’s throat and push it down with your index finger.” Cat owners may also acquire a pill popper to use when providing medicines to their feline companion, according to Teller.

  1. It is possible to utilize this equipment by inserting the pill popper into the cat’s throat and pushing the pill down with the device.
  2. It is recommended that you seek the opinion of a human health care expert if your cat bites you while you are attempting to provide medication to it.
  3. After administering the tablet, owners should flush the cat’s esophagus with a tiny bit of water to ensure that the pill does not become lodged there.
  4. “If the cat spits out a small bit, you generally don’t need to be concerned, but it’s a good idea to check with your veterinarian,” she added.
  5. “You should definitely talk to your veterinarian about it.” After successfully medicating their pet, owners should lavish affection on their four-legged companion in order to make the experience more enjoyable.
  6. “You may also rub your cat’s favorite location on its body, such as beneath the chin, behind the ears, or at the base of the tail,” says the author.
  7. This will allow your veterinarian to try a more tolerated alternative, such as compounding the medication into a transdermal gel that can be applied to the ear or compounding the medication into a flavorful cube or liquid.
  8. Teller advises cat owners to plan for the potential of administering medication to their pet in advance of the cat being unwell.
  9. “The simplest method of administering meds to a cat is to train the cat to accept pills before the animal really need them,” she explained.

PET TALK is a free program provided by the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Visit to see the stories that were published. Ideas for future subjects can be sent to [email protected], which will be reviewed. Print

Giving Your Cat Oral Medications

Relax! Your cat will be a reflection of your feelings. If you are nervous, your cat will exhibit the same behavior. Relax and maintain your composure. It may be beneficial to have a second person accessible in the event that you require assistance, at least initially. Before you go retrieve your cat, make sure that you have all of the meds that you will be administering ready. Tablets and capsules should be placed in separate containers, and liquids should be sucked up into an oral syringe. It may be beneficial to dip the pills with butter or another savory substance such as tuna or anchovy paste before using them.

  • It will be easier to restrain your cat from getting a hold of its claws and running away if you place it on a slick or slippery surface, such as a smooth counter or tabletop.
  • In a gentle and calm manner, approach your cat’s head from the rear or top of its head with your hand and grab the top of your cat’s head, putting the tips of your index fingers at opposite corners of the mouth on the top of your cat’s upper lip.
  • Take hold of the pill between your thumb and index finger with your other hand, and apply downward pressure on the front of your cat’s lower jaw with your middle finger with your other hand.
  • Place or slide the pill as far back in the mouth or down the throat as possible as quickly as feasible.
  • If you’re offering your cat a drink, make sure not to tilt his head forward.
  • Pour little quantities into your cat’s mouth slowly, stopping between squirts to let your cat to swallow between each one.
  • Instead, if your cat is calm and cooperative, provide a tiny amount of milk or another pleasant beverage to ensure that the drug is well absorbed into the stomach.

The gentle blowing in its face or gentle massage of its throat will aid in the stimulation of swallowing if you are concerned whether or not your cat has consumed the medicine. Some cats may salivate excessively after getting medicine; this is natural and does not pose a threat to their health.

How to Give Medicine to a Cat (Yes, Even to a Difficult Cat)

Do you understand how to administer medicine to a cat? Before you attempt it at home, make sure you have explicit directions from your veterinarian. David Herraez Calzada is shown here. As a veterinarian, I’ve had the privilege of medicating hundreds of cats throughout the course of my career. And whether I’m attempting to teach others how to administer medicine to cats or medicating my own loving felines, it’s a difficult task to do! Over the course of 40 years, I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my home with several wonderful cats.

  • (not all at the same time).
  • Moreover, why did these individuals lose up on them?
  • I’m here to tell you that this is a very important subject, and it’s one that’s very dear to my own heart.
  • That’s not a good sign.

The Veterinarian’s Job

  • Discuss with you how much you know about administering medication to a cat in an open and honest manner
  • Inquire as to how much experience you have with this particular cat’s medication. Examine all of the medication’s various formulations, including tablet, liquid, and transdermal forms, before making a decision. If your cat requires polypharmacy (a number of drugs for a difficult disease or a number of illnesses), discuss honestly with your veterinarian about which treatments are the most necessary and whether it is feasible to have many medications compounded together. Make an appointment with a veterinary technician who will spend time with you to demonstrate how to deliver medicine to your cat.

It’s simple for veterinarians to send a customer home with a week’s worth of medicines without discussing the situation with them. In many circumstances, these cats will not receive the whole amount of medicine prescribed for them.

So, What’s the Trick Here?

It’s time to face the painful truth. There is no “one approach” that can be used to administer medicines to all cats by all persons. Several approaches will be discussed in detail below, beginning with willing cats (which should be straightforward) and on to the reluctant cats (impossible to pill). First, let’s go over some of the most significant information:

  • Fact: Some cats are incapable of being pilled. Fact: Some people are unable to pill a cat due to physical or emotional limitations. Fact: It is critical to create a medication schedule as soon as possible to ensure that the cat will be able to obtain the medications they require in some form or another. Fact: The link between humans and animals is extremely vital, and administering medication should not undermine that bond. Fact: It is up to you and your veterinarian to figure this out.

The first step is to cup the top of the cat’s head with the palm of your right hand (if you’re right-handed; left hand if you’re left-handed) and place it on the floor. It should be possible to get the cat to open their lower jaw by tilting their head back slightly. Photo:stratman2

How to Give Medicine to a Cat (When the Cat Is Willing)

Some cats are easy to pill than others. When I take the first medication, I am frequently able to determine this during the office exam. Despite the fact that it may not be as simple for the pet parent at home, I can typically tell if this is going to be a pleasant and effective pilling situation or if it is going to be a catastrophe. A right-handed person (which is what the most of us are) is shown in some internet instructions for how to give a cat a pill while holding the cat in their right arm and administering the pill with their left hand.

After pilling thousands of cats, I’ve discovered that the most effective method for me is to snuggle the cat in the crook of my left arm while delivering the pill with my right hand into the cat’s mouth with my left.

Instructions for Giving a Cat a Pill

While you should always follow the directions supplied by your personal veterinarian, the following is a summary of the detailed instructions offered by Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine:

  1. Cup the top of the cat’s head with the palm of your non-dominant hand. With your head tilted back, you should notice the cat’s bottom jaw opening. If this is not the case, you will have to pry the lower jaw open. Place the middle finger of your dominant hand into the cat’s mouth, over the little incisor teeth — NOT over the sharp fangs — while holding the pill between the thumb and index finger of your dominant hand (canines). Caution: The cat has the potential to bite. Work as rapidly as possible
  2. Toss the pill as far back as you possibly can over the cat’s tongue
  3. Close your mouth as fast as possible. Make gentle strokes around the cat’s neck to urge it to swallow, or blow into the cat’s nose.
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According to Washington University, “When giving a cat oral medicine, exercise caution to avoid a bite.” The mouth of a cat carries a large number of microorganisms, therefore cat bites are frequently severe punctures.” If you are bitten by a cat, go to the doctor as soon as possible, even if you do not believe the bite is serious. Why? We must do so since there is an extremely serious risk of infection. More information may be found in my post “Did a Cat Bite You? “It’s a Much Bigger Deal Than You Might Expect.”

Additional Tips and Reminders

  • Never approach the cat from directly in front of it. Cats are not fond of being approached in this manner. Instead of approaching the cat from the front, wrap your arms around it or approach from behind
  • Devise a strategy that will reduce tension. Figure out what works best for you and your cat, and make sure this pilling exercise is completed as soon as possible. The phrase “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” does not hold true when it comes to cats. It’s like this in your cat’s head: “If at first you don’t succeed, try again and I’ll be beneath the bed.” Incorporate medicine into an existing regimen that includes food, treats, and other rewards for the cat. Even while technique works better with dogs, some cats may accept a medication in exchange for their supper.

Pill guns, such as this one for cats, are highly recommended by many people (even veterinarians). I’m not convinced by what you’re saying. Photograph by PETHOUZZ

How to Give Medicine to a Difficult Cat

Some cats are apprehensive about taking a tablet or capsule. As a result, it is virtually impossible. It’s just not going to happen with these cats, therefore you’ll have to come up with an other solution.

Pill Guns

I really don’t know. Perhaps they will be effective? For certain people, perhaps? Apill gun, sometimes known as “pet pillar,” is a short plastic device in which you place the pill and then insert a little plastic tube into the cat’s mouth and push, causing the pill to pass down the cat’s throat and out the other side. DACVECC member Dr. Tony Johnson, DVM, DACVECC recommends doing so because it keeps your hands away from your mouth and increases your chances of getting the pill in the sweet spot where swallowing is simpler than spitting it out.

Liquid Medication

Many individuals prefer to provide liquid meds to their cats, and this is achievable with a wide variety of treatments. So, what is the best way to provide liquid medication to a problematic cat? You provide the medicine in the same manner as you would administer a pill: you attempt to open the cat’s mouth and administer the dropperful of medication directly to the cat. Keep an eye out. The experts at Washington University warn that “liquids are more prone than tablets or capsules to unintentionally enter the windpipe.” Keep the cat’s head from being tilted forward to prevent the cat from breathing fluids into the windpipe.

Can you put liquid medicine in cat food?

When I prescribe a liquid, the most often requested question is “Can I combine it with her food?” The answer is yes. Probably not, to be honest. The reason behind this is as follows:

  • Not even kitty-flavored medication is particularly appetizing. Even if you combine liquid medications with cat food, if the cats don’t consume the food, they will not receive the medication! It appears to be a “Duh!” moment to me, but many people continue to put the medications in their meals and don’t seem to comprehend. Although the cat consumes part of the food, they are not receiving the recommended dosage
  • Food aversion. A large number of cats that require medicine are not feeling well. It is not a good thing if something causes them to avoid their food. When medications are mixed into food, it might cause food aversion. However, even if you cease placing medicine in the bowl, the cat may continue to shun the bowl for several days.

Do you want to know how to feed your cat liquid medication in food? It is not something I would suggest. Because medicine has a bad flavor, the food also has a bad taste. It’s possible that your cat will quit eating the food completely. Photo:SchweitzerKarl

Compounding Pharmacies: An Alternative for Impossible-to-Pill Cats

Pets, particularly fussy cats, are now the focus of a specialized business that has emerged. These specialist pharmacies can synthesize practically any drug into a form that you and your veterinarian have both approved upon.

Pros of Compounded Flavored Formulas

  • Pills and liquids may be transformed into flavored medicines to suit your cat’s tastes and preferences. You can eat tuna, salmon, chicken, or whatever you like. The variety of flavors available is enormous, and transdermal gels are also available. These are the most common when it is necessary to provide drugs for an extended period of time, as is the situation with hyperthyroid cats. In some cases, a little quantity of gel can be applied to the inner ear and absorbed via the skin. It is possible to mix many drugs (polypharmacy) together, which means that instead of administering three prescriptions, you may provide just one. A cat suffering from renal failure, heart illness, and/or hyperthyroidism may find this to be useful.

Cons of Compounded Flavored Formulas

The expense of having a drug compounded is higher.

Some drugs we may give to cats on a long-term basis may be extremely affordable in tablet form, but they can cost up to three times as much if they are compounded.

Short Shelf Life

Whenever you combine a medication, it is typically only effective for 30–45 days. Because of this, you must be attentive in terms of phoning ahead and keeping up with your cat when it requires refills.


Working with a compounding pharmacy can be a rewarding or frustrating experience. You can typically have your cat’s medications delivered to your home, but doing so requires planning ahead and ordering refills well before you run out. Some veterinarians may store the most widely used feline medications in a compounded form, but you must discuss this with your veterinarian before you run out of medication.


There are evil actors in any profession where money is to be earned, and the financial industry is no exception. Compounding veterinary pharmaceuticals necessitates the use of an ethical and highly qualified pharmacist who understands how to get the best medication and how to formulate it into a stable solution, flavored tablet, or gel. The pharmacy should be selected by your veterinarian, and you should follow his or her recommendations.


Is your cat receiving the right dose of medication in the form that has been prescribed, and is all of the medication being absorbed effectively in their body?

  • Liquid suspensions must be constantly shaken to ensure that they remain in a uniform suspension. It is possible that transdermal gels are not as effective as administering an oral dosage of medicine. Follow all instructions (such as refrigerate or store in a cool, dark location) exactly as they are written.

Certain medications have the potential to become lodged in the cat’s throat, which can be problematic. Consult with your veterinarian about this. Photo:clickphoto

A Possible Problem With Dry-Pilling a Cat: Esophageal Strictures

Pills can readily become lodged in a cat’s esophagus, causing serious complications. The esophagus is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach, allowing food and drugs to pass through. Cats are particularly susceptible to having tablets become trapped in their throat and unable to move. It is irritating to the cat’s throat when a pill becomes lodged in its esophageal passageway. It is possible that the irritation could progress to the point where a type of scarring (known as a stricture) would form, narrowing the esophagus and making it impossible for the cat to get food down into the stomach as a result of the restriction.

  1. Doxycycline is an essential and commonly used feline antibiotic.
  2. Recent research on feline esophageal strictures has advised that pet parents feed their cats around 5 mL (1 teaspoon) of water after giving them a medication.
  3. You didn’t think the pilling was severe enough, did you?
  4. Wishing you the best of luck with that.

Final Thoughts on How to Give Medicine to a Cat

I’ve been doing this for quite some time. One of the most frustrating experiences a feline veterinarian may have is working up a wonderful kitty, diagnosing what is wrong, and recommending medicine – only to discover that the caring pet parent is unable to provide it. And they don’t tell me anything.

So, if you don’t mind: Consult with your veterinarian. If you are unable to administer the drug as prescribed, get further instructions. Take a look around for alternatives. If you are unable to communicate openly with your veterinarian, locate another one. We’re out there somewhere.


  • “How to Administer Oral Medications to Your Cat.” “Medicating Your Cat,” Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington, D.C. The Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
  • Catherine Sumner, DVM, DACVECC
  • And the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine “Drug Interactions” is an abbreviation for “drug interactions.” It is the responsibility of the MSPCA-Angell to ensure that the MSPCA-mission Angell’s is carried out in a professional and ethical manner. « Pill-Popping Pets: Is It Safe to Feed Pills to Your Dog or Cat?» Tufts University is home to the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center. Johnson, Tony, DVM, DACVECC
  • 4th of September, 2018. “Pilling Dogs and Cats,” as the phrase goes. The 17th of September, 2014, Veterinary Partner. id=6448413 Boothe, Dawn Merton, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, DACVCP
  • Boothe, Dawn Merton “Transdermal Gel Delivery in Cats: Is It a Pain or a Necessity?” (Proceedings).” 1st of May, 2011. dvm360. sk= date= pageID=4 sk= date= pageID=4 sk= date= pageID=4
  • Marty Becker, DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine). The article “Something You Might Not Have Known About Pilling Cats” can be found here. Dr. Marty Becker’s Blog, published on September 17, 2014
  • German, Alex, BVSc, PhD, DipECVIM-CA, MRCVS, published on September 17, 2014. Doxycycline-induced Oesophageal Strictures in Cats,” a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. In the February 2005 issue of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, pages 33–41 are included.

Cats and Oral Medications: What You Should Know Cat medication is explained in detail in “Medicating Your Cat.” Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Catherine Sumner, DVM, DACVECC, is the director of the Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. The term “Drug Interactions” refers to the interaction between two drugs. It is the responsibility of the MSPCA-Angell to ensure that the MSPCA-mission Angell’s is carried out in the best possible way.

» Tufts University’s Cummings Veterinary Medical Center is a referral center for veterinary medicine.

The term “Pilling Dogs and Cats” refers to the practice of poisoning dogs and cats.

The “Fuss or a Must?” question for transdermal gel delivery in cats.

I’m looking for a sk value for the date, and I’m looking for a page ID for the number four.

“Pilling Cats: Something You Might Not Have Known.” On September 17, 2014, Dr.

German, Alex, BVSc, PhD, DipECVIM-CA, MRCVS, also contributed to this post.

In the February 2005 issue of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, pages 33–41, the journal published a letter to the editor in which it stated:

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