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Giving a Cat a Pill

Category Health
Giving a Cat a Pill, Vet Giving Spoonfull of Pills to Cat
Most cats do not take their medication without fuss. Getting your cat to take a pill can be a very difficult process but one that you will need to go though to ensure it gets the proper medication. This is a guide about giving a cat a pill.
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By 7 found this helpful
March 8, 2010

I have a cat that is nearly ten years old who was in need of medication. He is a big stubborn old cat and very difficult to handle when he doesn't want to do something. The first tablet I tried to give him following the approved method of putting the tablet far to the back of the tongue and the holding the mouth closed. It didn't work. I retrieved the pill and tried hiding it in his food, and that didn't work.

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Today I got the next pill out and crushed it (powdered it), and then I mixed it with cheese spread and smeared it on his foreleg and left him to it. A few minutes later I checked him. He had cleaned himself and in the process had taken the medication.

By sharylesley from Adelaide, Australia

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By 2 found this helpful
November 8, 2011

Be sure cat's nails are trimmed. Put on a light jacket (not your best one). Set the cat on a stool or something higher. Love and pet the cat; talk gently.

Wrap your arm around the cat lengthwise, so he can't back away. With the same hand, grasp head gently with one hand. Pinch jaw with a finger on each side to force mouth open (requires very little pressure).

With your free hand, toss pill down throat as far as possible. Release jaw and stroke throat with fingers to encourage swallowing.

If cat starts looking anxiously left and right, he's probably looking for a place to spit it out. Put your hand in front of his mouth to discourage this and to catch pill if necessary.

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If he licks his lips, he swallowed. Feed a meal or a treat. Even a really dumb cat will soon realize that when the pill is gone, the food arrives.

If this fails completely, wrap cat in a bath towel in a way that completely disables all four legs quickly (not as easy as it sounds). Open cat's mouth, insert pill, wait for swallowing, unwrap towel and feed. I had to resort to this with one cat. Within three days, all I had to do was show him the towel and he became very cooperative. LOL

By shoe from NW PA

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June 7, 20112 found this helpful

I have a cat who can be evil at times. When he needed medication, I learned pretty quickly that none of the tips I'd read worked with him. If I actually caught him and got him to swallow it, he'd throw it up for spite. Then I talked to a wonderful woman I know who did cat rescue in Lansing. She told me to get canned cat food with gravy (or just gravy). Open the capsule or crush the pill and mix with the gravy. The cat would love it.

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I was skeptical. He generally could figure out what I wanted and do the opposite, even if it cost him. However, this worked. He's thrilled to get gravy, and I'm thrilled to not get scratched trying to force feed medications. I've been doing this for years now, and we're both happy with it.

By booboo58 from Lansing, MI

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By 3 found this helpful
March 3, 2013

Store the tablet for as long as you can with the cat's kibble or treats -- long enough for it to take on the smell of the food. Serve the tablet along with the kibble/treats. Tablets are much the same size, shape and texture as kibble, and once it has the same delicious smell, the cat will gobble it up without noticing.

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By 7 found this helpful
February 14, 2011

Can't get your pet to take their vitamins? This morning, I had a flash of genius. Take a small handful of a favorite treat and add the vitamin pill. It probably helps if you wipe the treat on the pill, but I didn't do it and it still worked. I set the treats in front of my cat, with the vitamin in the middle, and he just ate what was in front of him. With a dog you could just hand the whole thing to them, and that would probably work too. Some medicine might pass this way too. I'm going to see if I can get him to take some Dronset that way.

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One other thing I found that works for most pets are Pill Pockets (brand name). For all but a few cats I have no problem getting them to take a Dronsit pill in a Pill Pocket. So if you're at your wits end, try these. I'm no longer "mean mommy" with the use of Pill Pockets and treats.

By nekocat from OR

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By 0 found this helpful
March 20, 2006

Does anyone have any ideas on how to "pill" a difficult cat or get him to ingest Panacur powder (He has worms)? Our vet tried 6 times to "pill" the cat and was unsuccessful, so we tried the Panacur powder instead. He will not eat this either. We have tried mixing it with everything we know that he will eat, but 2 days later, that food is still there. I think he would rather starve.

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Any ideas or suggestions would be great! Thanks and have a blessed day. Kelly

Kelly from Racine, WI

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March 20, 20060 found this helpful

Is the taste/smell strong? Maybe mix it with a little tuna juice? the strong smell may cover it, and what cat could resist?

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 20, 20060 found this helpful

Our cats worming medication comes as a paste in a disposable syringe (without the needle of course). I give her a cuddle and open her mouth and squirt it in - then she doesn't have a choice.... You can pick up syringes from the pharmacy - I also use them to administer medicines to my children when they get fevers etc.

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 20, 20060 found this helpful

I forgot to add that you would have to crush the pill and mix it with margarine or something pastelike....

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March 21, 20060 found this helpful

Like mentioned...you can mix it with tuna, milk, canned food, eggs etc...depending on what he likes. And if that doesn't work try a dropper...mix your powder with some milk or something he likes and use a dropper. That is like forcing him to take it...but if he won't take it on his own that might be your only hope. And you will be able to make sure he takes it and takes it all. Good Luck!

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March 21, 20060 found this helpful

I agree with trying tuna. I've never known a cat to refuse it. They usually knock down who and whatever is in the way to get to it. Good luck!

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March 21, 20060 found this helpful

I have found that by wrapping my cat securely in a blanket (make sure all his feet/claws are gently tucked inside a big towel) and holding him, a helper can often get a pill into him; but as long as you have the powder, try the tuna - be sure to add some of the tuna water.

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March 21, 20060 found this helpful

My two cats had worms about 2 years ago. The vet wanted to charge me for visits and prescriptions. I just went to Walmart and got the deworming liquid for around $3.00 and it worked. You just hold the cat and put the medication in their mouth as the directions on the bottle say. I have recommended this to others and they have saved quite a bit of money. That was 2 years ago and the worms have not come back.

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 21, 20060 found this helpful

My cat is very difficult to give pills to also. I hide it in a little bit of flavored hairball remedy and he licks it right off of my finger. The pill is whole.

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 21, 20060 found this helpful

Use caution when giving over the counter medications. Worm medication is given to treat a SPECIFIC kind of worm. ( There are many different kinds) Try the tuna and if it doesn't work, get a helper , wrap the cat, pry his mouth open and put it as far back as you can.

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 21, 20060 found this helpful

Sounds like my cat! She won't take pills either...even crushed up in something. I tried yogurt, pet treats, canned cat food... she is too suspicious. I have heard of liquid meds for pets that can be tuna, or beef, or whatever, flavored,( the BANANA flavor my vet has does not appeal (haha) to my cat). I might search the web for a mail order site for next time my cat needs medicine. Wrapping my kitty up and force feeding her twice a day just isn't an option for me... I don't have a "helper". Vets need to be more inventive with kitty medicine!

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 21, 20060 found this helpful

I found a site called flavorx.com that will help you find a vet or pharmacy near you that will change the pills to a flavored liquid... I'm going to call the one near me tomorrow for prices etc so next time my cat needs a rx, I'll be prepared.

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 21, 20060 found this helpful

To get pills down a cat, use a straw to blow the pill to the back of their throat, then blow on their nose while holding their mouth together and their reflex action is to swallow the pill. Keeping the cat immobile in a towel is a good idea, along with petting and cuddling.

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 22, 20060 found this helpful

When my mum's cat was ill we had the same problem.

Eventually we were told to mix the powder into butter or fish paste. The trick then is rub the paste onto the cat's fur. He could not help himself, he just had to clean it off...and got his medicine at the same time.

I hope your kitty is soon well.

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March 22, 20060 found this helpful

I have a thing called a "cat piller" that I got from my vet years ago. I actually use it for my dog who is almost 17 & takes 4 pills a day. It's sort of like a syringe but the top is flexible plastic & open to insert the pill, then there's a plunger to push the pill into my dogs throat. She doesn't really like it but it's quick and gets the job done. I can insert up to two small pills at once.

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March 22, 20060 found this helpful

I just found a product that works for fleas, worms, tics, and ear mites. My vet gave it to me and you just have to put it on the back of the neck. It's called Revolutions It worked great for my 3 guys.

Good Luck to you

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March 22, 20060 found this helpful

We've had to give pills to our older cats and it could be difficult. We had a "piller" device that worked pretty good. Hiding it in food will work or first use a pill splitter to make it smaller....they are smart tho and sometimes they will actually eat all the food and the pill will be left! Also if it's not too big, just pry the mouth open, sort of throw in at the back of the mouth, close mouth quickly and rub under the chin to make him swallow. We don't have any cats at present time but I would investigate whether or not a liquid form of the medicine is available....sure would be easier, I would think! Good luck!

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 22, 20060 found this helpful

Your question jogged my memory to a time that I accidently took the cat's medicine.....not intentionally.I have adult attention deficit, so I try to do a lot of things at one time.My Doctor said that people like me are valuable at work, because they can mult-task.I remember I had been up late and getting ready to take some tylenol, I just got the hands mixed up.I remember placing a fast call to my Mother in law, I now would call Poison Control. It turned out okay, but I am more careful now.Two other things happened with this cat, when it was a kitten it swallowed a needle and thread, and also I had it on a leash taking it for a walk on a super hot day.I had hold of the leash, when all of a sudden,the cat (Mocha) started doing these gigantic looking jumps, like a ride at the carnival, I was so worried that it would crash it's head into the sidewalk.Apparently it bit a bug and the bug bit her back.So obviously, this trivia info, is not to be meant as a tip, but a little humor, if you can get the right mind picture, but then I guess you had to be there.

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 23, 20060 found this helpful

Thank you all so much for your ideas. I will definitely try them!

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Read More Answers

June 23, 2012

Does anyone know how to administer cat oral medication to a very uncooperative cat? I have tried the back corner of her mouth and all I get is claw marks from very self manicured sharp claws?

By Tanya from P. R., MN

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
June 25, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

Are you coming at him/her from behind? That's how I have to do it. Also, put on a coat or something that will protect your arms from attack. Hold the front legs with one hand and squirt with the other. If it's too much, try putting it in the food. My cat liked it mixed with vanilla yogurt. Don't give too much; just a couple of spoonfuls, since yogurt can lead to runny bowel movements.

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By 0 found this helpful
February 5, 2014

My cat refuses to take a pill. I crushed the pill in her wet food that she loves, but she won't go near it. The vet only gave us one. After I already did this I learned that if it's bitter they won't eat it. So how can I fix this and get her to eat the food?

By Jackie D.

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February 8, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

I had this problem with giving clindamycin to my cat. I rubbed a little butter on the small pill. Then I wrapped in a half teaspoon of tuna I had fixed for sandwiches (my cat loves it). Then I put it on the floor like it was a treat. The cat ate it so fast he never even noticed the pill. The reason I put butter on the pill was so the moist tuna would not pick up the flavor of the bitter pill. it worked. Good luck.

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February 14, 20110 found this helpful

This may not work for every cat, but the other night I was a bit rushed. So instead of taking the time to sit on my cat and shove his worm medicine down his throat time and time again, I did this. I took the skin from the back of a cooked chicken I was stripping for dinner and rolled the pills up in silver dollar size pieces of skin. He managed to get one half pill free and spit it out once, but the rest he took and swallowed, including the one he managed to spit out. For ease of application, it was a winner for me! Did I think he'd go for it? Not really, but he did.

I think you want to be sure your cat's hungry, and make sure that what ever you roll around it or stuff it in is fairly large and one of their favorite foods. Yes, there are store bought pockets for this. I haven't tried them and sometimes things like this actually work.

By nekocat from OR

Answers:

Giving Pills to Cats

I get the loose skin on the back of my cat's neck and hold their head back and put the pill in the back of their throat,it doesn't hurt them and it works well for them. (12/15/2010)

By sodajerk

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December 15, 20100 found this helpful

For those of you that have a hard time giving a pill to your cat, this works beautifully. Crush the pill into a powder then mix it with a dab of hairball medicine and smear it on the front paws. The cat will lick it off and you don't get all clawed up. Just make sure to spread it thin enough that it can't be flung off. My vet told me this.

The picture is of my furbabies. Bubba, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge, is the tabby, and the other one is my sweet girl, Kitten, also known as hunnybunny.

By pinkmellie59 from Austin, Tx

Giving Pills to Cats

Answers:

Giving Pills to Cats

I will definitely give this a try. Thank you for sharing your vet's tip. Loved seeing your kitties, and sorry that you lost Bubba.
(07/01/2010)

By MisMachado

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June 30, 20100 found this helpful

My kitty won't take her pills. There is no way I can run her down, wrap her in a towel and force a pill down her throat twice a day. I tried hiding the pill in a moist treat but the smarty pants caught on to that. Does anyone have any other suggestion? I would really appreciate it.

Wendee from Tillamook, OR

Answers:

Giving Pills to Cats

My vet gave me this tip: cut the leg off an old pair of jeans and drop the cat into it. The tighter the better, so he can't get his legs up to claw through it. It's a good idea to have someone else help you with this. Expose his mouth just enough to put the pill in. Hold it shut to make sure he swallows. Afterwards, hide the leg or the cat will start to run when he sees you get it. Cats are so smart! (01/05/2006)

By Linda

Giving Pills to Cats

I suggest that you confine your cat in one room until the course of pills is finished, so that you won't have to "run her down". (01/05/2006)

By Guest

Giving Pills to Cats

I wrap the kitty in a bath towel, folded in half.

Lay the folded towel across your tummy. Put the cat in the middle of the towel with her back to the middle of the towel. Fold the bottom part of the towel tightly around the kitty's bottom so that the back legs are sticking down. Then fold the top part of the towel tightly aroung her neck. Your elbow is holding the bottom tight, and that hand is holding the neck, and fingers are beside the mouth.

Open the mouth with your index finger and thumb, putting them in the fold of the bouth behind the teeth. With your other hand, push the pill over the tongue.

Let go, and jump back.

(01/05/2006)

By the Oracle

Giving Pills to Cats

You could try waiting till kitty is really really hungry, crunch up the pill to a powder if you can, and put it the food, does she like a special food she only gets once in awhile ?? after she eats ( if you are lucky ) :-) then give her normal helping of food. This works for me sometimes, have a kitty that can be held , ONLY when she wants to be . :-) (01/05/2006)

By Rosa

Giving Pills to Cats

I don't know how big the pill is but my friend has to give her cat pills 3-4 times a week. She crushes the pill and puts it in a bit of flavored yogurt. Her cat loves it and never refuses to eat it. I would find out if the pill can be crushed since it could change the effects of the pill. (01/05/2006)

By mkymlp

Giving Pills to Cats

If you have someone to help you, have the helper hold the kitty's front legs on a flat, slippery surface. Open the kitty's mouth by squeezing her top lips over her teeth and prying the bottom jaw down. Push the pill as far back on her tongue as possible, then close her mouth and hold it shut until she licks and you know she swallowed. I used to work for a vet and this is the method we used. (01/05/2006)

By Jewels955

Giving Pills to Cats

I kneel on floor and hold the cat between my knees (my knees are about even with front legs and my lower leg parallel to the lower part of her body) and her scruff in my right hand. Then I let go of her scruff and take thumb and forefinger and squeeze firmly at outer edges of her "lips". The cat's mouth reflexively opens. Then with left hand put pill in. Then close her mouth and hold it closed. Of course, speak calmly to cat all the while. I always am firm, but not rough with cat. If you are tentative, the cat will get away; if you are too rough, you will frighten her/him. I have been doing this for twenty + years with cats that I have owned and this technique has worked well. The hard part is catching them first of course. (01/05/2006)

By kayla

Giving Pills to Cats

I use a straw, put the pill in one end, force the cat's mouth open, and blow it into the back of her mouth. Shut her mouth and blow on her nose, the reflex is to swallow and the pill is too far down to spit out. (01/05/2006)

By hwalz

Giving Pills to Cats

You don't mention what kind of pills they are, but if they are crushable, you could crush them into a powder. Then mix the powder into a tiny bit of peanut butter or something like that, and let her lick it up. (01/05/2006)

By sunhat

Giving Pills to Cats

Try coating with cream cheese. All animals love it.
(01/05/2006)

By Jennifer, CA

Giving Pills to Cats

Are you aware these medications can be liquified. Lot more expensive but we had to do it as a last resort. Our cat was too sick to deal with the stress involved with getting her to take her daily pill. (01/06/2006)

By

Giving Pills to Cats

Go to the pharmacy and get the pill "compounded" into a liquid. Many pharmacies are used to doing this and flavor the medicine suited for the particular type of animal. I have a 3-pound Chihuahua that acts very much like a cat and will NOT take a pill after multiple variations of attempts including hiding it in her favorite food. (The vet could not do it either). The vet called the medicine into our local pharmacy and they compounded it into a "liquid" flavored as peanut butter (for dogs). Who knew dogs like peanut butter but my Chihuahua loves it and looks forward to taking her meds each day. It now is a treat to her. I think for cats, they put in a fish flavor they love.

Hope this helps. The extra money spent on compounding the medicine is well worth the lack of aggravation on your part as well as the torment to both you and your pet.

(01/06/2006)

By Gloria

Giving Pills to Cats

I have a couple big tom cats, and I find that the way Kayla does it works best for me too. I actually prefer pills, because with liquids, I have to fight several times more.

I catch the cat (off-guard, of course), sit on the floor on my heels with my knees open. I hold the cat (his feet on the floor) in my crotch facing out--he cannot claw or scratch you this way. And with one hand, open his mouth by grabbing his upper jaw and pulling open--yes, cats open this way reflexively. Pop the pill in and push toward the back of his tongue. Let go of his upper jaw, and immediately rub his throat so his swallowing reflex kicks in. Once you do this a couple of times, it takes less than a minute, and is so quick, that cat has swallowed the pill before he knows what has gone on. No stress on either him or you. (01/06/2006)

By susanmajp

Giving Pills to Cats

I have always found that if I crush the pill and mix it with meat baby food the cats can't wait to lick it all up. (01/06/2006)

By Merlin Douglass

Giving Pills to Cats

I had this problem also and my vet had an item that is used for giving cats pills. It looks kind of like a syringe on one end with a plunger thing in it and the other end was open, you pull back the plunger and place the pill in the open end. Then get the cat's mouth open and insert it as far as you can into the cat's mouth and push the plunger thing up and the pill goes down the cat's throat before it knows it. It took me a few times but finally got it down and it's no problem to give my cat it's medicine now. You might check with your vet to see if they have one you could buy or know where you could get one. (01/06/2006)

By tiffanyau

Giving Pills to Cats

My vet gave me one of those long pill pushers, I had trouble getting the disc shaped pill to fit in the tip. I read this column and decided to try kneeling with cat facing out between my legs, and was really not hard to get pill in cats mouth, then rub neck and make sure it swallows. I had tried crushing it into food, but cat didn't eat any of anything, and medication is expensive so didn't want to waste it. (11/23/2008)

By pipe

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