Even the healthiest of cats can get sick once in a while - and when they do, every cat parent knows just how difficult giving your cat a pill can be. It’s absolutely necessary, yet often becomes an extremely stressful situation for both you and your cat!
Thankfully, there are some ways to make it easier. Let’s take a look at some tips on how to give a cat a pill in a comfortable and safe way!
#1 Hide It In Their Food
The simplest method and often most effective is to hide your cat’s pills in their food. Some types of medications like capsules can be harder to hide than liquid medication, but a strong smelling food like Sparkles’ White Meat and Carrot Wet Cat Food can be a great help!
You may also need to ground up your cat’s medication and sprinkle it in their food or cat treats. However, since many cats will also avoid bitter-tasting food, make sure to also observe how your cat responds. If they’re not able to finish their cat food, you should try adding the medication in small portions as they eat.
Before you do this, check with your vet if your cat’s medication can be ground up. Some types of medications lose effectiveness when cut or crushed.
#2 Check With Your Vet
Since this is a major problem, pet pharmacies have tried to combat it by adding flavour directly to your cat’s medication. Some liquid medications actually come in flavours like fish, beef or chicken! Mixed into the right food, your cat will be none the wiser.
If hiding your cat’s regular medication in their cat food doesn’t work, try consulting your veterinarian. They may be able to point you in the direction of tastier medication or other useful methods of medicating your cat.
#3 Develop a Routine
This may not always be possible since you never know when your cat might fall ill, but if you know ahead of time that you’ll need to medicate your cat, make sure to develop a routine with them.
This can help get your cat excited for their “treat” time, as well as prevent your cat from having a stomach upset due to new cat food being introduced to them. Make sure to pick out a suitable cat treat ahead of time like Stella & Chewy’s Carnivore Cravings in Broth. Pungent wet cat food like these are well suited for hiding medications in.
Here's a list of tips to establish your routine:
Give your cat a treat at the same time each day. Pick a time that you know you’ll always be free to medicate and observe your cat.
Repeat this for several days to get your cat used to this routine.
Once your cat is familiar with the routine, hide their medication in this treat.
Again, hiding your cat’s medication in portions can help your cat swallow it down better. You can also try alternating between medicated and unmedicated bits of cat treats to help wash down the taste. Look for something with a strong flavour like Kit Cat Fillet Fresh Grilled Mackerel.
#4 Feed Them By Hand
If the above tips aren’t working, you will probably need to manually feed your cat their medication. This can be a stressful process so take your time.
It’s also a good idea to wait till your cat’s feeling more calm and relaxed, such as after meal times. You can also play with your cat using toys like Kong’s Fishing Pole Teaser Cat Toy to tire your cat out!
First, prep a towel and get the medication ready on hand. If you can, ask other people in the household to assist you.
Lay the towel flat and place your cat on the towel.
Wrap them up securely but not too tightly in the towel like a burrito or swaddled infant. Make sure their head is exposed but their paws are secured within the towel. Speak to your cat in a soothing voice.
Once your cat is secure, use one hand to tip their head up.
Put your thumb and forefinger on either side of your cat’s upper jaw. Gently apply pressure to both sides and your cat will open their mouth.
With your other hand, place the pill in the back of your cat’s mouth. A pill dispenser may help with this step.
Gently release pressure on your cat’s jaw and their mouth should close. Keep their mouth closed until they have swallowed their medication. Petting their throat can help encourage them to swallow.
Afterwards, your cat may vomit or have other nasty reactions to their medication so keep a lookout after you’ve fed them their medication! Keep a cleaner like Simple Solution’s Stain and Odor Remover handy for messes.
Feeding your cat medication can be a traumatising experience if it’s not done right. The most important thing is to be patient and kind with your cat. With any luck, some of the tips and tricks in this article will come in handy!
Tammi is an avid writer, but especially loves learning and writing about animals! She spends her free time visiting cat cafes, playing video games and having plenty of cuddle time with her pup.