How to Give Your Cat a Pill When They Don’t Want One

If you have ever tried to give a cat a pill, then you know how difficult the task is. While most dogs will gobble up a pill, so long as it’s stuffed in a piece of cheese or their favorite snack, a cat is very intuitive and discerning about what they will eat, so basically, there is no easy hiding of a pill. There is no sticking the pill in a piece of cheese or other treat and just telling them to eat it, kind of like you can do with a dog. You have to really be creative to get your cat to take her medication (pill), and we have some tips on how you can do this. Keep reading to learn how to give your cat a pill when they don’t want one.

1. Sneak it in some tuna

Ok, so cats do love tuna. There’s something about that fishy smell that will entice them, which is why tuna can be a good disguise for a pill. You should stuff the pill inside a chunk of tuna and camouflage it. Some cats may catch on over time, so this may only work for a while before they figure it out and will eat all around the pill, leaving it behind and untouched.

2. Try a pill pocket for cats

These are soft cat treats that have a hole cut right in the center, which is intentional and specifically designed for this particular problem. It can house a pill or capsule, so just drop either one into the hole in the center, then pinch the snack shut. Some cats will love the treat, but again, if they happen to take a bite right into the capsule or pill and discover the treat isn’t “all” good, they may start to view the treat as disgusting and stop trusting it. If this happens, move on to another tip.

3. Hide a pill in some crushed food

One idea is to crush the pill into a powder form and mix it right in with their canned food. This prevents them crunching into a solid pill that doesn’t taste good and causes them to walk from their food. The only problem with this method, is if your cat only eats a portion of the canned food. This means some of the medication will be left behind in the remaining food. To combat this issue, try mixing the crushed medicine into just a teaspoon of tasty baby food (meat flavored) and let her eat just that amount. This ensures she’s consumed all the medicine. Another way to use a crushed pill, is to mix the powder into a little milk and administer this concoction into her mouth with a syringe.

4. Here are a few step-by-step instructions on how to give your cat a pill

At some point, most every cat owner will have this battle, so it’s best to know ahead of time, how you will deal with giving your cat her medication. Here are some steps.

  1. Set your cat on a flat, stable surface, like a table or des. You may need someone to help hold and steady the feline. If you don’t have an extra pair of hands, wrap a towel snuggly around her body to give support.
  2. Grasp the pill between your right thumb and index finger
  3. Using your left hand, take your cat’s head in your hand like you are holding onto a ball – here’s where your fingers should be placed – your left index finger, middle and ring fingers resting on your cat’s left cheek, and your left thumb should be on your cat’s right cheek.
  4. Now that you’ve got her head gripped, tilt her head upward so her nose is pointed up – not up too high, just so that her nose is pointing up at the ceiling. This position will cause her mouth to naturally drop a little.
  5. Using your right middle, push her lower jaw open a bit wider, then drop the pill right into her mouth and to the back of the throat. This is very important, because if it lands on her tongue or close to the opening of her mouth, you’ll be repeating the process. She will push it out using her tongue or shaking her head.
  6. Keep a firm hold of her head, but you can now let her lower jaw go once you’ve dropped the pill into her throat. Now gently stroke her neck to help her swallowing instinct to kick in. You can also blow on her nose to get her to swallow. Once you see her start to lick her lips a little bit, this will tell you that the pill has been swallowed. You may want to follow it up with a little water in a syringe to make sure the pill went all the way down and didn’t stick to the back of her throat.

It’s not always easy giving your pet medication, but it’s important that you do, especially if your doctor ordered it for a specific medical issue. It may be a frustrating process, but one you need to be sure to follow through with. It may take a couple of times to get the hang of it, but don’t give up and cause your cat to miss out on her medication. If you need more help, talk to your vet about other ways you can administer her medication. Some medications may be available in liquid form.


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