Medicating Your Cat

Having to give your cat medication is not a task most pet owners look forward to performing. However, in order for your pet to get well it is important that they receive their medication. This handout includes some tips that will, hopefully, make medicine time a more enjoyable experience for both you and your pet.

The easiest way to medicate your pet is usually going to be to hide the pill in food. However, pets are finicky and this technique may not work.

Some pets are not able to take a pill in a tasty treat due to dietary restrictions. Other pets are simply tricksters to maneuvering around the pill and spitting it out. For these pets it may be necessary to manually administer the pill. To give a pill by mouth for your cat, follow these easy steps:

  • Gather the correct dose of the medication and place it in a quick and easily accessible location.
  • Lubricate the medication with a small amount of butter or margarine. This will allow the pill to slide smoothly down your pet’s throat.
  • Bring your pet to a safe location where you can comfortably control his movements
  • Hold the pill between your thumb and index finger
  • From above, grasp the cats head and muzzle with the hand not holding the pill. Your grasp should be placed so that your thumb and fingers are on opposite sides of the mouth behind the canine teeth. Be very careful not to get your fingers directly between teeth.
  • Using a firm, but gentle, grip tilt your pets head toward the ceiling. If the mouth does not drop open, use your ring and pinkie fingers of the hand holding the pill to press down on the lower teeth between the canines.
  • When the mouth is open, quickly place the pill on the back of the tongue. The pill will be swallowed quickest if it is placed behind the arch of the tongue. However, avoid putting the pill to far down your pet’s throat as you may stimulate the gag reflex.
  • Close your pet’s mouth and hold it closed while lowering the head back to a normal position. If your pet does not automatically swallow the pill, then gently rub the underside of its throat, and lightly blow on or rub its nose. These actions will stimulate a swallow reflex in your pet.
  • It is widely recommended that after pilling a cat, the procedure be followed by feeding food or a treat or giving a swallow or two of water with a syringe to ensure the pill has been taken into the stomach. This will prevent the pill from dissolving in the esophagus where certain medications can cause damage to the delicate esophageal lining.
  • Closely observe your pet after performing this procedure to make sure that the pill is not regurgitated or spit out.
  • Remember, throughout the entire procedure to offer praise and encouragement. And when the pill is swallowed, lavish your cat with praise.
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