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How to Give a Pill to Your Cat

how to give a pill to your cat

Pilling a cat who doesn’t want to be pilled is often a frightening experience for a cat parent. Here are some tips to make the process easier.

Find out About Potential Options Regarding Cat Medication

If you know from previous experience that it’s easier to administer a liquid medication to your cat, ask your veterinarian if the medication comes in liquid form. Knowing your cat’s preference can greatly reduce stress. Flavoring such as chicken, tuna, or beef can be added to liquid medication. Many veterinarians have the flavorings in their office but if not, your local pharmacy may. Ask your veterinarian whether the flavoring can be added to a particular liquid prescription. A tasty liquid medication may be much easier for an unhappy kitty to swallow and you might be able to avoid the whole pilling process altogether.

Some medications can be reformulated into transdermal form by a compounding pharmacy. Transdermal medications absorb through the skin at a slow rate. This type of medication is usually rubbed on the inside of the ear tip for absorption through the skin. Ask your veterinarian if your cat’s prescription can be reformulated.


Pilling 101

Don’t crush a pill in food. Your cat’s acute sense of smell will easily detect even the most deeply hidden pill in the tastiest of food. Some pills can’t be given with food so if you do have a highly food-motivated kitty who eats anything and everything in his bowl, find out from your veterinarian whether that particular prescription can be given with food.

Don’t crush coated pills into food because it exposes the bitter tasting medicine. Coated pills are meant to stay intact until they get farther along in the digestive tract. Additionally, the bitter taste will likely cause the cat to reject the food. In some cases the cat may only eat a portion of the meal and then he won’t get the full prescription amount of the medication.

If your cat likes treats there’s a product available called Pill Pockets that makes medicating much easier. The soft treat has a pocket where you can slip the pill in and then squish the ends together. Pill Pockets are very palatable. If you decide to try the Pill Pockets, first offer one that doesn’t contain a pill and then offer the pill-filled one. The product is available at pet supply stores and online.

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