How to Give Your Cat a Pill (like a PRO): a step-by-step guide

Learning how to pill a cat is a really visual skill so if at all possible watch this video.  Milly and Molly are my willing feline companions and together we are going to take you through the best technique to use to give a cat a pill by yourself, first time every time!

 
 

Both of my cats are due their worming tablet and so I thought I'd try and show you how I give a cat a pill.  This is something I do many times a day, and in the vast majority of individuals the following technique works first time with little stress to my patient and very rare scratches to me!

Choose a smaller tablet

The first thing is that in many instances, the same type of medication comes in different sized pills.  Not all of these tablets are interchangeable but if possible, using the smallest tablet available can make giving the pill to your cat that much easier.

Giving Your Cat a Pill

Step 1

Face your cat looking towards your dominant hand.  I am left handed and so I am going to sit my cat on a table in front of me with her head looking at my left hand

 
 Have your cat on the table looking towards your dominant hand

Have your cat on the table looking towards your dominant hand

 

Step 2

Next is take a hold of your cats head.  Your palm should be on the top of their skull with your fingers and thumb wrapped around either side of their face behind the whiskers.  With a firm grip you can then lift their head up to face the sky.

Lifting their head like this makes it very hard for them to clamp their mouth closed.  Try it yourself and you'll see what I mean!

 
 With your hand holding the top of their head, lift their head to look up at the sky

With your hand holding the top of their head, lift their head to look up at the sky

 

Step 3

Take the tablet between your thumb and index finger.  I then use my middle finger to open my cats lower jaw.

 
 With your cats head looking up use your middle finger to open their mouth. The pill should beheld by your thumb and index finger.

With your cats head looking up use your middle finger to open their mouth. The pill should beheld by your thumb and index finger.

 

Step 4

This next step in pilling your cat take a little bit of an aim.  Holding their mouth open with your middle finger you want to drop the pill right to the back of your cat's tongue.  As soon as it drops you can then poke it a bit further back with your index finger.

Don't worry, they can't close their mouth and bite you with their head pointing up!

 
 Drop the pill to the back of the tongue and poke it down a bit further with your finger

Drop the pill to the back of the tongue and poke it down a bit further with your finger

 

Putting the tablet right at the back of the tongue in this way triggers the swallowing reflex. This means that your cat will swallow by reflex and the pill will have disappeared.  You can rub their throat gently while holding their mouth closed to encourage them to swallow if you think they are holding it in their mouth.

In most cases though this is simply not needed.

Having another person can help

If you've got another pair of hands to help then that can make life a little easier.  Especially if your cat is very wriggle or likes to reach up to your hands with their claws.  The second person can be behind your cat with their arms each side of their body and hands having a hold of both legs.  This not only stops them trying to scratch you, it also prevents them reversing of the table.

Having help is net essential but can definitely help while you're getting used to this technique of giving your cat a tablet.  With practice you too will be able to give your cat a pill by yourself!

If this technique fails you then I've got an article planned giving you 7 more techniques to medicate your cat.  One of them is bound to work so watch this space!  If you've got any questions then leave them in the comments below and also let me know how you get on with giving your cat a pill using this technique.

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