Giving Cats Medicine by Mouth
Giving cats pills and liquid medicines by mouth can often-times be tricky. This blog serves to provide some advice from veterinarians and the ASPCA, but as usual, always take your veterinarian advice over any other.
Suggestions from resources such as the ASPCA, Washington State University, and Hill Publishing have helped many people administer “by mouth” medications to their cats with ease and that decreased your cat’s stress.
According to the ASPCA (2020), the best and basic techniques for giving your cat his pills is to start by getting him into a small closed-off space where you can swaddle him while keeping his head uncovered. Stay calm and speak softly as you follow through and complete the process of administering his pill.
- According to the ASPCA (n.d.), some cats will take their medicine if disguised in their food or treats. Mara B. mentions in the ASPCA Pet Parent Resources, Health Insurance (2020), that hiding a pill in a hollow pill pocket treat and rolling it around for your cat to play with may also serve as a precursor to your cat eating the treat which is disguising his medicine. And if appropriate, opening a capsule or crushing a pill and adding it to your cat’s wet food may also work, especially if the food has gravy.
- You know your cat and how he may react when you approach him, so when you will be giving him medicine, be mindful of that and be calm and use a soft tone (O’Brien, 2019).
- Another tip for anxious cats may be as simple as wrapping up your cat in a blanket or towel in order to give him his medicine (O’Brien, 2019).
- Your veterinarian will let you know if the medicines can be given with or hidden in food, or crushed (ASCPA, 2020), which may or may not work with your cats.
- Cats can be very finicky and smart which may prove more challenging as you attempt medication administration. The photographs and instructions provided below are from Washington State University (n.d.) found in an open online Google search but always check with your vet before taking the advice or suggestions from other resources.
First, hold the top of your cat’s head with your dominant hand. The cat’s cheekbones provide a convenient handle by which to hold the head firmly without causing the cat any discomfort. Then tilt his head backward which often causes him to open its lower jaw
“Hold the pill or capsule in your right hand between your thumb and index finger and place your other fingers on the lower part of your cat’s front teeth, not the sharp pointy teeth, to fully open and hold the mouth open. Use the middle finger to hold his mouth open while placing the pill into your cat’s mouth then close his mouth, and blow on his nose or stroke his neck (Washington State University, n.d.)
Finger positioning: Keep the middle finger in place to hold the lower jaw open (3), then either drop the pill or capsule as far back on the tongue as possible or the index finger (1) and thumb (2) can be used to push the pill over the back of the tongue.
Liquid medicine is given in the side of the cat’s mouth, but do not tilt the head back, then close your cat’s mouth and blow on his nose or rub his neck to get him to swallow.
Ask your veterinarian if he can suggest any devices that can help you give your cat his pills such as pictured above, and the photo is from Washington State University (n.d.).
If your cat licks his lips after taking his medicine, that is an indication that he fully swallowed it. Make sure that your cat has fresh water and if he did a good job taking his medicine, give him a special treat. The following are additional tips and techniques.
Mara B. (2020). How to give your dog or cat a pill. ASPCA. Pet Parent Resources, Health Insurance. https://www.aspcapetinsurance.com/resources/how-to-give-your-dog-or-cat-a-pill/
O”Brien, C. (2019). Tips for giving Your cat pills & medication. Hills. https://www.hillspet.com/cat-care/healthcare/giving-cats-medication-and-pills
Washington State University (n.d.). Giving oral medications to your cat. https://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/outreach/Pet-Health-Topics/categories/procedures/cats/giving-oral-medications-to-your-cat#:~:text=Drop%20the%20pill%20or%20capsule,thumb%20and%20index%20finger…