It is never easy to get cats to drink their medicines when they get sick. This is especially true in the case of tablets or pills. And since medicating cats can take several days, this means it will be an everyday struggle. Every day, your cat’s trust in you diminishes because of these struggles. It is, thus, important that you know how to give your cat its pill. Now, there is no such thing as the best way to give a cat a pill because cats are individuals. What may be effective for Garfield may not work for Felix, and vice versa. As such, we’re giving you some of the options on how you can make your cat take its pill.
Drop the Pill into the Cat’s Mouth
One of the most practical ways to give a cat a pill is by using your fingers. There are no special gadgets to use. The key here is to keep your cat calm. If your kitty is nervous or excited, try making it calm first. Some pet parents play with their cats in an effort to make it more relaxed and calmer, too. It is also wise to medicate the feline in a quiet room without any form of distraction. Learn how to handle your cat the correct way before doing this method. Wrapping the cat in a soft towel should help restrain it while giving the pill. Find out more about cat calming sprays here.
Open the cat’s mouth by placing the thumb and middle finger at the junction of its upper and lower jaws. Do this in a gentle manner. Tilt the cat’s head a little bit until you can visualize the back of its mouth. Drop the pill right in the center of the cat’s mouth and close the mouth as fast as you can. Rub its throat to stimulate the cat to swallow. If the cat is able to swallow the pill, it will lick its lips. Finish it by giving the cat a bit of water. Use a needleless syringe to do this.
If you have a cat that is not cooperative or is very anxious, then using the above method may not work. It may only bring more anxiety to your kitty. As such, you can purchase pill pockets. These are pet treats that have a soft texture and a hole in the middle. Put the pill inside the hole and pinch the edges of the pill pocket. This will help hide and seal the pill inside the pill pocket.
Give this as a regular treat to your cat. The good thing about pill pockets is that they are available in different flavors that cats love. You can almost always choose a flavor that your cat likes. There are also those that come with unique aromas that can mask the nasty smell of medicines. The trick here is to give your pet a pill pocket that doesn’t contain medicine first. This is to let the cat know that this is a treat and not a pill masquerading as a treat. Once the cat is accustomed to the pill pocket, then you can give the pill-laden pill pocket.
There are cats that do not like treats. They may like it, but they may not “eat” the treat that’s laden with a pill. The solution here is quite easy. Use a pill shooter or a pill gun. These are special plungers that feature rubber tips. They look like extra-long syringes that have dual rings on both sides of the barrel. The plunger also comes with a ring. This combination of rings allows for a more efficient administration of the pill. The rubber tip holds the pill and stays with it until you push the plunger. This works like putting the pill into the back of your cat’s mouth using your fingers. The only difference is that you won’t be inserting your fingers, only the long barrel.
Like everything else, it’s important to let your cat get acclimatized to the pill gun or pill shooter. Let it see and sniff the device until it gets familiar with it. Once your cat is acclimatized to this device, you can start administering its medications. Insert the pill into the rubber tip and open your cat’s mouth. Place the pill shooter at the back of its mouth and push the pill in. Withdraw the pill shooter and close the cat’s mouth. Rub its throat to help facilitate the swallowing of the pill.
Ask your veterinarian if it is possible to crush or pulverize the pill. Some medications work best by releasing their active ingredients in a slow and deliberate manner. Crushing these types of medications negates such pharmacological action. As such, it is best that you consult with your vet regarding this method.
One of the obvious drawbacks of such a method is that the drug often turns out a lot more bitter. If you sprinkle this in your cat’s food or water, there’s a chance it may not eat or drink. Hence, the cat may not get the treatment that it needs.
If you purchase your cat’s medications from a veterinary pharmacy, you can ask if they can compound the drug. What the pharmacist will do is they will produce chewable tablets and flavored liquids that can resemble cat treats. The compounding pharmacy will use the active ingredients of the cat’s medication in the formulation of such cat treats. They can make sure that it is going to be both therapeutic and palatable. This can help improve the way you can administer a pill to your cat.
Unfortunately, not all communities have veterinary pharmacies or those that can compound veterinary medicines. As a last resort, you can try ordering compounded medications from mail-order veterinary pharmacies. Place your order and wait for the compounded treat to arrive at your doorstep.
The success of treating your cat’s illness depends on how you can make your cat take its pill. The methods presented above are not foolproof for all cats. You have to determine which of these methods will work as the best way to give a pill to your cat.
Check out our articles on Dewormers For Cats and Vitamins For Cats.
- Best Ways to Give Your Cat Medicine – PetMD
- How to give your cat a tablet – International Pet Care
- Giving Oral Medications to Your Cat – Washington State University