Cats can be notoriously feisty when it comes to giving them pills. However, if your cat has been prescribed medication by your veterinarian, it’s important to ensure they get the proper dosage and the recommended intervals.

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn the best ways to give your cat their medication in pill and capsule form.

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Video Transcription

Hello, my name's Rebecca. I'm a certified veterinary technician at BluePearl Pet Hospital. Today, we're going to talk about how to give pills to cats.

Storage and Prep

Make sure that the medication is stored in the way that your veterinarian has instructed you to store it, as well as you're giving it the way that your veterinarian has told you to give it. That sometimes includes giving it while wearing gloves.

Getting Ready

When you're ready to give your pet its pill, just make sure you have some home comforts, such as:

  • A favorite toy
  • A blanket or a towel
  • A treat or catnip

And then that you have the items you can give the pill with, be it something like a pill pocket that you can wrap around and give it as a treat. Or if you have to give the pill directly something like a pill popper and then to follow up the medication, either a treat or some of their food.

Using Food

Some medications require the use of gloves when handling. For this instance, I'm going to put on gloves to handle the medication.

When you're ready to handle the medication, just make sure that you have what you're going to be putting it into ready as well.

Wet Food

For this instance, we're going to be using some wet cat food.

  1. Take a small amount of food
  2. Place the pill in the middle of the food
  3. Smush it around the pill

Pill Pocket

Another option you have is making the pill something like a treat.

  1. Take the pill
  2. Place it in the middle of the pill pocket
  3. Wrap the material around the pill

Using a Pill Popper

If you're unable to give your pet medication in treats or food, another option you have is a pill popper.

Common names for pill poppers

  1. Place the pill in the top
  2. Hold your fingers directly in the middle of the circles
  3. Press the plunger and the pill will come out

Giving the Pill

When you're ready to give the medication, it's really important to make sure that your animal is facing in front of you that way, that you have the best visualization of where you're giving the pill as well as you're comfortable and the animal is comfortable.

When you're ready to give the medication with the pill popper and you're done loading it, you're just going to take them by the gums near the canine teeth, open their bottom jaw, make sure you get that over the base of the tongue, and give.

Following Up with Water

Just keep in mind, if you do have to give your cat a large pill or a dry pill, sometimes it can get stuck in their throat a little bit. You can follow this up with a little bit of water in a syringe to make it easier for them to swallow.

  1. Pick a side of your pet’s mouth
  2. Put the tip of the syringe into their cheek pouch
  3. Slowly dispense water from the syringe

Once you've given your animal the medication, just make sure that they've actually swallowed it. Oftentimes, they'll lick their nose. Important reactions to take note of.

Quick Tips for Easier Delivery

Another thing to keep in mind when you're giving your pet medications is that sometimes they may not like it and they may be a little reactive to what you're trying to do. In that instance, you may have to have a friend come and help you hold them.

If your pet doesn't like to be medicated, but they do have a spot in the house that they really like to be in, sometimes you can wrap them in a blanket or a towel to gently hold their limbs and medicate them that way. This is especially helpful if you don’t have anyone to lend a hand.

a cat in a towel

a cat in a towel

a cat in a towel.

If you have to give multiple medications at home or giving the pill is proving to be too difficult, another option that you have is getting the medication compounded. That also applies if the pill might be a little bit large for your pet. Consult with your veterinarian about compounding; some medications can be formulated into a flavored treat, liquid, or even a topical that absorbs through the skin.

It's important to remember when you're giving your pet medication that you're comfortable and they're comfortable.

If you're worried your pet didn't receive the proper dose, don't hesitate to contact your veterinarian.

Don't forget these important steps.

List of steps to follow.