The easiest way to give your cat a pill is to hide the pill in food. Crushing the pill may not work, as most cats detect the taste and then refuse to eat the food. A good trick is to hide the pill in a small amount of something soft and yummy such as a piece of cold cut (turkey, roast beef), tuna, butter, or cream cheese. To ensure that the pill is actually taken, it is best to give a small amount of food that the cat is certain to eat rather than a large portion that the cat may not finish. A good tip is to give a few “teaser” treats without the pill in them, then sneaking the pill in the third or fourth treat. Some cats may spit out the pill, so it is important to monitor this activity. If your cat persists in spitting out the pills or if dietary restrictions prevent you from hiding the pills in an appealing treat, you will need to administer the pill directly into the cat’s mouth.
- Prepare the environment so that you have a safe place to handle your cat. Have the pill ready and in a place where it will be easily accessible.
- If you are administering the medication on your own, you may find it easiest to place your cat in your lap. You may need to have someone assist you in restraining your cat by wrapping it in a blanket with only the head exposed.
- Make sure you have carefully read the label and understand the dosing instructions.
- Grease the pill with a very small amount of margarine or butter so it doesn’t stick in your cat’s mouth or throat.
- Hold the pill between your thumb and index finger.
- Gently grasp your cat’s head from above with your other hand, by placing your thumb on one side and your fingers on the other. Tilt the cat’s head back over its shoulder so that its nose points to the ceiling. The jaw should drop open slightly.
- With your pilling hand, use your little finger and ring finger to open the cat’s mouth further by gently putting pressure on the lower front teeth.
- Quickly place the pill as far back over the tongue as possible.
- Close the cat’s mouth and hold it closed while you return the head to a normal position.
- Gently rub the cat’s nose or throat, or blow lightly on the nose. This should stimulate swallowing.
- If you have trouble with this method of opening the mouth, try placing the cat on a table. Hold the cat by the scruff of the neck and lift the front paws off of the table. The mouth will open. Quickly place the pill as far back over the tongue as possible, as in the previous method.