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!
- Familiarize yourself with the directions for the medicine. Don’t be afraid to ask your vet or pharmacist if you have any questions. Note – If you try all of these tips, and you’re still having trouble, ask your vet if there’s another form of the medicine you can give to your cat (i.e. liquid, pill, injection, or transdermal gel).
- Prepare all of your supplies 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 your vet 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, 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, try using a towel to 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. However, if you are giving them a liquid medication, 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 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, we welcome you to contact us at our cat-only animal hospital and boarding facility in Lake Oswego. We’re here to help!