Every cat I’ve known has hated taking pills. Don’t you wish you could reason with your cat and tell her that the pill you’re forcing her to take will ultimately make her feel better? There are a few methods of administering pills to your cat, and while none of them is a walk in the park, you may find greater success with one or the other.
Disguising Pills in Food
The easiest way to give your cat a pill is to disguise it. You can disguise a pill using the following methods:
- Cover the pill in your cat’s regular food. Wet food will work best because you can cover the pill.
- Wrap the pill in a treat, such as a piece of cheese.
- Buy a treat pill pocket, such as these Greenies Feline Pill Pockets, which come in a variety of flavors.
Of course, the same cat that you cannot reason with may ingeniously discover the pill and eat around it or refuse your disguised offering altogether.
Hand Feeding Pills
Hand feeding a pill to your cat is often necessary. If your cat won’t fall for the disguise plan, then you’ll be forced to give your cat the pill by hand. Sometimes it is easier to administer a pill with two people (one to hold the cat, the other to give the pill).
Get a firm hold on your cat. You will need one free hand to open the mouth and one to put the pill inside. You should put the pill at the back of your cat’s tongue, near the opening of their throat, but do not push your finger or the pill roughly into the throat, as you might hurt the throat.
I have found it is helpful to hold your cat’s mouth shut and to blow on the nose, after you insert the pill. This seems to encourage cats to swallow. With hand feeding, you’ll probably find yourself following your cat to see if they spit the pill out.
The downside of this method is the possibility of being bitten, your cat secretly spitting the pill out, or the pill dissolving to the point where you can’t tell how much they swallowed, but you do the best you can!
Plastic Pill Dispenser
A third option is to try a pill dispenser. You place the pill into the opening of the dispenser, then put the dispenser into your cat’s mouth and push down on the plunger, which shoots the pill into your cat’s mouth. This can be easier than using your bare hand because the pill dispenser is much smaller and it may reduce your chance of being bitten. Here is an example, the Four Paws Quick and Easy Pill Dispenser at Petco for $5, which can be bought online here. I have also purchased a pill dispenser directly from the veterinarian.
Jennifer Kean is a writer and pet-lover who owns two rescue kittens (lifetime cat owner too!) and has a 40 gallon fish tank!