Cats sometimes have to take medicine, and persuading them to take a pill can be difficult. So knowing how to give a cat pills is an essential pet owner skill. Cats are skilled in avoiding swallowing pills, and can actually fool you that they have. You can try either the direct approach by putting the pill straight into your pet’s mouth, or the indirect method by disguising it in food. Whatever you do, it is important that the cat swallows the whole tablet, especially if it is part of a course of prescribed treatment.
A ‘pill popper’ is a useful gadget for getting a difficult patient to take a tablet. Rather like a syringe, you simply put it in the cat’s mouth and push the plunger, so that the pill shoots to the back of the cat’s mouth.
At what time should my cat take his pills?
This depends on the medicine. Some drugs influence the digestion of food and should be given before meals. Others are absorbed better if they are not given at the same time as food. Follow your vet’s instructions.
I would prefer to disguise the cat’s tablets in food. Is there any food that works best?
Any favourite food may work if the cat is hungry. Smoked salmon can work well, and adding strong-smelling substances, such as fish oils or yeast extract, can help disguise the flavour of the pill.
If I force my cat to take a pill, will he hate me forever?
No. Cats do not tend to hold grudges. Do it gently, quickly and make a fuss of him before and after, and he won’t hold it against you.f you are right-handed, place your left hand around the cat’s neck and sides of its face, gently but firmly, and hold the pill between the thumb and forefinger of your right hand. (If you are left-handed, do it the other way round.) It will help greatly if you get someone else to hold the cat.
How to give a cat pills
- Hold the cat so it is sitting upright.
- If you are worried about being scratched, then wrap your cat firmly in a towel leaving only its head free.
- Gently rotate the hand holding the cat’s neck so that its nose points upwards, and carefully prise the jaws apart, with the pill in your other hand.
- Quickly pop the pill as far back into the cat’s mouth as possible.
- If it doesn’t fall to the back of the throat, push it gently with your forefinger to the back of the tongue.
- Keeping the cat’s head still pointing upwards, stroke its throat gently to encourage it to swallow.
DON’T BE FOOLED
The cat may wait patiently until it can spit out the pill, and you must be patient, too. Wait until it swallows and licks its nose, but watch the cat afterwards, just in case it’s fooled you and spits it out.