How To Give A Cat A Pill
Giving a pill to a cat isn't easy. Learn the best way to give your cat a pill and make the ordeal quick and easy.
Hopefully you will never have to give your cat a pill since it is often an unpleasant and difficult task. However, if your cat develops any sort of medical condition and needs to be medicated, you might find yourself facing the choice of pills or liquid. It might seem that liquids are easier but pills are much easier to handle than liquids. Often liquid antibiotics will need refrigeration, are not tasty to cats (or anyone, for that matter) and are hard to give accurately since often the cat will spit up a fair amount of the liquid intended for him. Whether you only have to give the cat a pill once or whether you are going to have to do it for the rest of their lives due to a medical condition, it's a good idea to know the right way to go about it. Note: Please do NOT give cats aspirin since aspirin is toxic to felines.
Dogs are fairly easy to give pills to because you can hide the pill in a small piece of cheese and they will gobble it up without any problem. Cats are not so trusting. They seem to know when we are trying to sneak something on them. They will be especially suspicious if you give them something to eat that you've never shared with them before. If you've ever tried hiding a pill in their canned food, you've probably discovered that they have eaten all around it and, at best, have only managed to give the pill a few good licks. Unfortunately, you have to be direct with cats when it comes to pilling them.
1. Have the pill ready. Don't think that you can get the cat and then with your free hand manage to open the bottle and grab the pill. By this time, Kitty has already jumped off the counter and is hiding under the bed. If the pill has to be cut in half, make sure you do this ahead of time. Try to give the pill at around the same time each day. Some pills must be given with food and others in between meals.
2. This tip is especially true if you are going to be giving Kitty pills for an extended period of time. Don't ever call Kitty to come and get his pill. He will begin to associate your calling him with him getting a pill and it won't be long before he doesn't come at all when called for fear you are going to shove something down his throat. Only call your Kitty if you are going to do something nice for him like give him a treat or tickle his belly. You want the sound of your voice saying his name to have a pleasant association. If you are going to give Kitty a pill or do anything else unpleasant, wait until he is somewhere where you can grab him easily without scaring him.
3. Pick a place where Kitty doesn't usually sleep or sit to be his infirmary. A counter top or a particular chair is good. This could have a double effect of making him avoid that particular place in the future, so if he's been getting in trouble for climbing on Dad's favorite chair, use it and he might be a little more reluctant.
4. Be gentle! Grab Kitty gently and take him to the designated spot. Stroke him and praise him. All cats are different when it comes to this sort of thing. Your cat might be very gentle and might allow you to give him his pill quite quickly and without much of a fuss, or he may become frightened or aggressive. If you think he might become aggressive, try wrapping him up with a towel so that he can't get his arms and legs free, this will help you to keep your cool and not worry about Kitty scratching you. This may not be necessary, however, if your Kitty is fairly calm.
5. Now comes the fun part. You will definitely need two hands for this. The best way is to hug Kitty from behind with one arm, using the hand to gently cup his chin and hold his mouth open. With the other hand, pop the pill as far back into his throat as you can. Quickly hold his mouth closed and talk soothingly to him. Keep his mouth closed until you feel him swallow. A good way to make him swallow is to rub his nose until it gets dry. Kitties hate dry noses and will instinctively reach out their tongues to wet them, in order to do that, they will have to swallow. If you don't have a hand free to rub his nose, try blowing on his nose with your mouth until he does dart out that tongue. Once that tongue comes out, you can be pretty sure that the pill is swallowed. You will know if you see him spitting it out, since they will do this as soon as they get their mouth open. If you get the pill between his teeth and cheeks, it will be hard for him to swallow it. If this happens let him spit it out and try again, this time aiming for the back of his throat.
6. The first time you do this, it will take you a few minutes. Remember Kitty can sense that you are stressed, be calm. After the third or fourth time, you will find that it takes you only a few seconds to do the whole process. You may not even need the towel.
7. Be sure to praise Kitty after his ordeal and give him a small treat. He will then learn to associate his pill time with treat time.
Once you get the hang of it, it isn't difficult at all.