How to Give a Pill to Your Cat

Most cat owners have had the experience of trying to get their feline friend to take a pill—it’s not easy! If your cat has been prescribed medications in pill form and you’d like to make medication time a little easier, try these tips from a Des Moines vet.

The Crush

In some cases, you can crush up a pill and sprinkle it over food, or stir it in. Use a pair of spoons, a muddler, or even a mortar and pestle to grind the pill up. Unless your cat is particularly observant and insightful, there’s a good chance she’ll eat her food without even realizing there’s medicine in it.

Use caution with the crush method, though: in some instances, a pill will be rendered ineffective if crushed. Even worse, it may administer the dosage too quickly or with too much medicine at once, resulting in dangerous health symptoms for your cat. For these reasons, it’s important to only use the crush method if it’s been approved by a veterinarian.

The Camouflage

Try stuffing a pill into a small ball of canned cat food, squishing it inside a cat treat, or rolling it up in a slice of deli meat. This simple and sneaky method is perhaps the easiest way to have a cat take her pill. Rare treats like tuna and other fish might work well, too—a lot of cats will get so excited they’ll never notice the pill hidden inside this delicacy!

The Wrap

If your cat is particularly perceptive and doesn’t go for the above methods, you’ll have to administer the pill by hand. The best way to do this is via the wrap method. Sit down behind your cat and wrap her up in a soft blanket, using verbal praise or cat treats to keep her calm. With one hand, apply gentle pressure to the corners of the mouth, causing your cat’s mouth to open. Take the other hand and drop the pill in, as far to the back of the mouth as possible. Now, close the jaws and massage the throat in a downward motion to stimulate swallowing.

Don’t forget to give your cat a treat for a job well done! Ask your Des Moines veterinarian for more help on administering pills to your cat.