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Sep 27 2016

“I Can’t Get My Cat to Take His Medicine!”

No one likes the idea of having to medicate their cat at home, especially if you have an uncooperative kitty. Don’t be discouraged if you’re having a difficult time, though. With the right technique, it can be much easier!

The Basics

  •  Familiarize yourself with the directions for the medicine. Don’t be afraid to ask your vet or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  •  Prepare all of your supplies in advance so they’re ready when you get your cat (i.e. medication, syringe/piller, towel, and reward).
  •  Have a plan.
  •  Always be calm and gentle.

How to Give Medication with Food

First, ask if it’s possible to give the medication with food. In fact, some medications might have to be given with food! Others, however, cannot be given this way so always make sure to check with your vet.

1. Mix the pill/liquid into a small amount of your cat’s favorite canned food or other similar treat.

2. Keep any other pets away from their bowl.

3. Keep an eye on them to make sure they eat everything. It’s not uncommon for some cats to try to eat around a pill or spit it out.

How to Give Medication by Hand

If you can’t mix the medication into your cat’s food, then you will need to give it to them by hand. Sometimes, it can be helpful to ask a second person to assist you.

1. Prepare your supplies.

2. Face your cat away from you with their back end against you (i.e. tucked into the crook of your arm) so they can’t back away.

3. If they like to squirm, then try using a towel to help restrain them. Place them on the towel and wrap it around the front of them so they can’t get their front legs out or scratch you. Just make sure it’s not too tight around their neck.

4. After you have restrained them, you can now give them their medication.

5. Approaching your cat from the side, place your hand on top of their head with your thumb and forefinger extending down on either side of their cheekbones.

6. Gently, tilt their head up to allow their jaw to drop open. If you are giving them a liquid medication, however, then avoid lifting their head up so they don’t accidentally inhale it.

7. Place your syringe/piller in the back corner of their mouth and administer the medication. Try to avoid putting your fingers directly into their mouth so you are less likely to get bit. (Sometimes, cats won’t swallow everything on the first try. To avoid this, keep their head up for a few seconds after you administer the medication and blow on their nose or gently stroke them under their chin a few times to encourage them to swallow.)

8. Congratulations, you did it! After you’re done, make sure to reward your cat so they can start to think of this as a positive experience.

If you have any questions, then we welcome you to contact us at our animal hospital in Lake Oswego. We’re here to help!

Cat Care Professionals | Uncategorized

2 thoughts on ““I Can’t Get My Cat to Take His Medicine!””

  1. Frustrated says:

    None of these (or any tips I’ve read anywhere else) work with my cat. I’ve watched dozens & dozens of videos on how to do this and not a single one of those cats acts like mine. How exactly are you supposed to get them on a towel or near it then wrap them with it without risking losing a limb!! My cat is impossible. It has been a whole week since his procedure and instead of finishing his course of medicine by now WE HAVE NOT EVEN STARTED. I think he’s going to die. And all because no one can get any kind of medicine down him!! No matter who tries it or how many people co-operate or how hard we try – it simply cannot be done. Imagine trying to dose a random stray cat off the street twice a day – that would be easier!! Thank you for the advice given in this article and I apologise for my negativity I’m just venting because I’m so upset and sick of watching him waste away. The vets can’t help. Please pray for my baby 🙁

    1. Cat Care Professionals says:

      Thanks for reaching out to us! We’re so sorry to hear that you’re having trouble. Have you talked to your vet about it? Many medicines come in a variety of different forms so there might be another option that will work better for you (i.e. pills, liquids, injections, topical gels/creams). If you have any other questions, we welcome you call us at (503) 968-6000, and we would be more than happy to help.

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