I’m writing this article to help you learn how to give a cat a pill.
If you’re a cat parent, it’s inevitable that at some point your cat will get sick and require medication. Learn about top medical conditions affecting cats here.
This can be difficult for both you and the cat. Unlike dogs that can be given pills hidden in foods like peanut butter, cats are more finicky eaters and are less likely to eat something with a pill in it.
However, through many years of parenting cats, I have discovered some tricks to get much needed medication into my pets.
1. Hiding the Medication in a Soft Treat
It’s hard to hide pills in food and get cats to eat it, but not impossible.
Greenies Pill Pockets are soft treats with a hollowed out section for hiding pills.
Pill Pockets work primarily because cats don’t grind their food. Cats’ teeth are designed for tearing meet, and none of their teeth have grinding surfaces. So, cats generally swallow large chunks of their food without really chewing it.
These treats are soft, and after you insert the pill, you can close the pocket and it will stick to itself. They are also soft enough that you can tear them apart and use a smaller piece to hide the pill. I have found this method to be the most successful with my cats. They also work best when your cat is hungry.
In my experience, when I have used the whole pill pocket to hide the pill, my cats will bite into it and eat the treat and spit out the pill.
How to Give a Cat a Pill: Here’s what works best:
Small pills work better than large pills. I generally use less than half of the pill pocket to hide the pill. If the pill is too large to be covered by half the pill pocket, then I cut the pill into smaller pieces and present it to my cat in multiple pieces.
Your cat is more likely to not bite into the pill pocket and swallow it with the pill inside when it is smaller.
Capsules are difficult because you can’t cut them into smaller pieces. A small capsule will work well with half a pill pocket covering it. However, I’ve had my cat bite into a pill pocket with a capsule inside and eat the treat and spit out the capsule. I’ve discovered that if you use a little bit of water to soften the capsule before placing it in the pill pocket, the cat is more likely to eat the pocket with the capsule inside.
2. How to Give a Cat a Pill by Hiding Medication in Food
Large capsules generally don’t work with pill pockets. So what do you do with those?
Here’s another way to learn how to give a cat a pill. This method should also work with liquid medication provided the medication does not have a really strong or bitter flavor.
I’ve learned that I can cut open large capsules and mix the powdered medication with a strongly flavored, smelly food. I use Delectables Bisque Lickable Treat. This product is creamy with a strong smell and flavor.
Don’t use the entire package. If your cat isn’t hungry, she won’t eat it all. Mix the powder from the capsule in about a teaspoonful of the Bisque and present it to your cat. As with pill pockets, this works best when your cat is hungry.
This method will also work with pills if you have a way to grind them into a fine powder.
3. Pilling Your Cat
What if the medication is not to be given with food or if these methods don’t work?
Here’s how to give a cat a pill directly: Place your thumb and middle finger at the hinge of your cat’s jaws, and gently pry open her mouth. Tilt her head back slightly so you can see the back of her mouth.
Drop the pill into the center of her mouth and close it quickly. Then rub your cat’s throat encouraging her to swallow.
After your cat swallows the pill, give her some water with a syringe to help the pill dissolve.
4. Using Pill Poppers or Pill Guns
If you have trouble pilling your cat using the method described above, a pill gun can help. These look like syringes with a soft, rubbery tips where you place the pill.
After placing the pill in the pill gun, grasp your cat’s head near the temples and elevate the head upwards.
Place the tip of the pill gun into the side of the cat’s mouth and use the plunger to release the pill.
Close your cat’s mouth and rub his throat to encourage swallowing. If your cat spits out the pill, repeat the process until your cat successfully swallows the pill.
The processes of pilling and using a pill gun are both easier if you wrap your cat in a towel like a burrito prior to attempting the process.
If you have used any of these processes, or if you have another method of medicating your cat, I would love to hear from you. Please use the comment section below with any advice or comments you might have.
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