Giving Cats Pills

What is the simplest way to administer a tablet to my cat?

Even the most skilled veterinarian may struggle to give medications to cats! The simplest approach to giving your cat a pill is to conceal it in food. The pill is usually best hidden in a little amount of wet cat food, tuna, or a soft treat that can be molded around the pill (i.e., Pill PocketsTM). To ensure that your cat consumes the tablet, put it in a tiny amount of food that she is sure to eat rather than a huge chunk that she may not finish. Because some cats may spit out the pill, it is critical to monitor your cat both during and immediately after consuming medicated food.

What if she swallows the medication when she discovers it?

If your cat continues to spit out the pills, or if dietary restrictions prevent you from hiding the pills in a tasty dish or treat, try giving the pill directly into your cat's mouth. Ascertain that you have thoroughly read the prescription label and comprehend the dose directions. Although medicating your cat can be daunting, try to stay cool and confident because your cat will pick up on your worry.

"...try to remain calm and confident, as your cat is likely to pick up on your stress."

Here are some pointers to consider before you begin:

  • Create a distraction-free environment in which to handle your cat. Prepare the pill and place it in an easily accessible location.
  • Never pill your cat when it is eating, eliminating (using the litter box), or grooming.
  • If you are providing the medication by yourself, it may be simplest to place your cat in your lap. You may find it easier to cover your cat firmly in a blanket or towel, leaving only her head exposed.

How can I give my cat the tablet directly into his mouth?

1. Lubricate or 'grease' the pill with a very small quantity of canned food gravy or a soft treat piece so it does not stay in your cat's mouth or throat and is simpler to swallow. This is really useful when administering pills.

2. Place the pill between the thumb and index finger of your dominant hand.

3. With your other hand, gently grab your cat's head from above by placing your thumb on one side of the upper jaw and your fingers on the other. Tilt your cat's head back over her shoulder, pointing her nose to the ceiling. Her mouth should slightly open. With your pilling hand, softly massage the lower lip and front teeth with your little and ring fingers to open your cat's mouth even more.

4. Quickly place the pill as far back as possible over the tongue. To induce an automatic swallowing reflex, lay it on the back one-third of your cat's tongue, then seal her mouth and hold it closed until you restore her head to a normal position.

5. Gently touch your cat's nose or throat, or blow on her nose lightly. This should increase swallowing. If a cat has ingested the medicine, it will usually lick its nose with its tongue. In certain situations, following the pill with a little tuna juice, flavored broth, or water gently squirted into the mouth with a syringe or offering the tuna juice or flavored broth in a teaspoon or a bowl may help the cat swallow the pill better.

"Normally, if a cat has swallowed the pill, it will lick its nose with its tongue."

6. Immediately following pilling, offer your cat some positive reinforcement (e.g., a reward, brushing, stroking, or playing). Make sure it's something your cat will appreciate.

What if this also doesn't work?

If you continue to experience problems, you may want to consider purchasing a 'pet pillar device or seeking guidance from your veterinarian.

If you find that giving your cat a pill is a frustrating experience (for both of you), the prescription may be blended into a flavored drink. Many medications can be made into liquids or treat formulations with appealing flavors like tuna, chicken, or salmon at veterinary pharmacies. Some drugs are also available in the form of a gel that can be applied to the ear flap.

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