Tips on How to Pill a Cat

Have you ever ended a vet visit with an angry cat in one hand, and a prescription pill bottle in the other, with no idea how to pair the two once you get home? Unfortunately, cats are less susceptible to peanut butter and hot dog trickery than dogs. You can try using a pill pocket, but if your cat is a dainty eater this will probably fail. You’ll find the pocket gone with the content inside left.

Check with your vet to see if the pill can be crushed. If so, you can try offering it in a small amount of his wet food. However, f your cat has sensitive taste buds, he will likely scorn pill powder ruining his wet food, no matter how deeply buried it may be. If the pill has a strong odor, an opinion that will differ between the two of you, your cat will avoid the laced treat and you’ll be out half a can of cat food.

So if all covert methods fail, you’ll have to swing back and go for the most overt. Our feline friends are more likely to hold grudge. Here’s how to make the process of pilling your cat quick and painless, so that the grudge against you will be, too.

Decide on the best place to pill your cat. Place your cat on a flat surface. Your cat may try to back away from you. Sitting on a couch with your cat between you and the arm of the couch will keep your cat somewhat confined.

The next step may be the most difficult for you, remain calm. Tilting his head up will open his throat. Place your index finger on one side of kitty’s cheek and your thumb on the other side, both at the hinge of the jaws. Gently lift his head towards the ceiling which lessens any chance of being bitten. With your other hand, cradle the pill between your forefinger and thumb, and use you middle finger to gently pry open his lower jaw. Place the pill at the back of his throat. Keeping his head tilted up, let go of his mouth quickly before he can ping the pill back at you however, keep your fingers placed around his entire mouth, massage his throat encouraging him to swallow. Wait until he swallows at least twice before you let go! The first swallow may be a ruse. You don’t want to underestimate your cat, then suddenly find yourself alone, angrily spurned, with a soggy half-pill on your sweater.

Once you’re fairly confident the pill was successfully ingested, let go of your cat’s head but continue to hold him and keep him close by, offering head or chin rubs. Watch him closely for a few moments to make certain that he isn’t about to pull off a last brilliant stunt, which amounts to spitting out the pill he didn’t swallow and diving under the bed. It pays to be wary. You can also use this time to comfort him with conciliatory pets.

All in all, the whole process shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds. If both you and your cat are in the unfortunate position where this has to be done on a regular basis, take comfort in the fact that practice makes perfect! And he won’t be mad for long. Probably. He’ll concede defeat if the pill is followed by an unlaced treat and lots of love.

Okay. Let’s say that even this doesn’t work, or you are just too nervous about sticking your fingers in an angry feline’s mouth. If pilling your cat will be happening on the regular, you can invest in something called a Pill Popper. This is like a fat syringe in which you place the pill. Instead of your fingers, you place the popper in your beloved cat’s mouth and push the pill inside. Everything else is the same, with marginally less risk involved.

Good luck to you both!