Giving your cat medication is usually pretty unpleasant. Fortunately, there are methods that can make the process easier.

Giving Your Cat a Pill

Sometimes giving your cat a pill may be as easy as hiding it in a bit of his favorite cat food or a small ball of cream cheese. Pill Pockets is another possible option – it’s a soft treat that is open on one end to put a pill in.

Cats are sometimes too smart for their own good and know you’re up to something they won’t like, and they will be completely uncooperative. In this case, another method needs to be tried. Get a large, thick bath towel. Wrap the kitty up in the towel until only his head is poking out. If you have someone to help you, so much the better, but you can do this on your own. Put the cat bundle on your lap with its head facing away from you. Reach over and using one hand, open your cat’s mouth. Reach over his nose and pressing the lips in, just behind the long fangs in front. Pressing at that point causes the cat to open his mouth.

Now, with your other hand, put the pill down on one side of the tongue. This will make the pill go down better. Once the pill is in his mouth, close his mouth, point the nose upward and stroke his throat until he swallows. If he starts licking his mouth or his nose, that means he’s swallowed. Keep him bundled and wait a few seconds because he may not have swallowed the pill yet and will spit it out.

Another method is what’s known as a pill gun or pill popper. It’s a plastic “plunger” with a rubber tip on the end where you can insert the pill while you keep your fingers out of harm’s way (your kitty’s teeth.) You can get one from your vet and are very inexpensive.

While your cat is securely bundled in a thick towel, insert the pill popper into his mouth. Be sure NOT to put it further than you can see. Once he swallowed the pill, lavish praise on him, give him a treat. Then slowly unwrap and release him. If you’re nervous about doing this, ask your vet to give you a demonstration.

If the pill doesn’t need to be swallowed whole, you can try crushing it and mixing it in food.  You can buy a pill crusher or put the pill in between two paper towels and crush it with a hammer.  Another option is to crush it with a spoon.  Mix it well with your cat’s favorite and most flavorful food, maybe one with some gravy to make it tastier.

How to Give Liquid Medication

Dispensing liquid medication is far more difficult than pills. I have to laugh (although it wasn’t funny at the time) of how my late cat Wally who was as sweet as sugar, let the pink liquid medicine I thought he swallowed come out of his little drooling mouth.  I wish I was better informed at the time so I’m happy to share what I have learned since then. Being a foster mom has its perks!

First, get a syringe without a needle from your vet. Spoons don’t work and are very messy – don’t use them. With a syringe, you are able to measure the exact amount of medication required, as well as giving you the ability to dispense a little at a time. Ask your vet to show you how to do this when he gives you the medication.

Wrap kitty in a thick towel the same way you would do if administering a pill. Speak softly to your cat and then reach over his head and place your thumb and index finger behind each of his big canine teeth. Your cat will open his mouth when you apply pressure there. Be 100% ready to insert the tip of the syringe into the corner of his mouth and depress the plunger.  Put the syringe down and let your cat close his mouth. Point his head upward and stroke his throat so that he will swallow.

NOTE: Be careful NOT to squirt too much of the medication down your cat’s throat, because he might inhale some, which could potentially cause serious lung problems.

NOTE: Be sure NOT to lift your cat’s head up when giving him the medication – this could cause it to go down his windpipe.

NOTE: If your cat starts coughing and/or panicking, STOP EVERYTHING. Let him cough, let him spit out medication. Once he is over that, try again.

Another way to try giving liquid medication is to put a little on the top of his front paws. Your cat should hopefully lick it off.

How to Apply Topical Medication

Put a dab of margarine or petroleum jelly on each front paw. Licking it off should help your cat to relax. While he’s occupied put the topical medication where it needs to be. If all else fails buy a “cone of shame” for your kitty to wear around his neck. He won’t like wearing it but be assured he’ll get over it once it’s removed. The bottom line is, he’s got to heal.

I hope this information helps you when medicating your kitty. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian before attempting to give your cat medication to ensure you are doing things correctly.