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How to Give Your Cat a Pill
From your Veterinary Medicine Guide

Most cat owners have been faced with giving their cat a pill. Here's how to do it as simply as possible, from your About.com Guide to Veterinary medicine.

Difficulty Level: Average    Time Required: 5 minutes

Here's How:
  1. Have pill ready before hand -- some pills cannot be split/crushed so you may want to check with the prescribing vet first.
  2. Butter is a good 'lubricant' to put on the pill before administration to ease in swallowing.
  3. Have a large beach towel or blanket ready.
  4. Get out some canned cat food or other cat treat to attract the cat's interest. (Have it nearby, don't offer it yet) Make sure that the medication can be given with food.
  5. Keep a positive outlook and talk in a soothing voice to your cat.
  6. Gently wrap the towel or blanket around the cat's neck, above the shoulders. (Note: some cats fight this more than it is worth. If this is the case, skip this step and proceed to step 7.)
  7. Snuggle the cat under your left arm, firmly against your body.
  8. With your free hand, grab the pill.
  9. With the hand holding the cat, gently pry open the mouth at the corners of the lips.
  10. The pill should be placed in the open mouth, as far back as possible, where the back of the tongue forms a 'V'.
  11. Allow cat to close mouth, keeping the cat snuggled close to your body, and a hand under the cat's chin to prevent the pill from being spit out.
  12. Stroke the chin and neck area gently, watching for signs of swallowing.
  13. You can also gently blow in the nostrils to induce swallowing.
  14. Offer a small portion of a treat or canned food to divert the cat's attention from ejecting the pill and to ensure that the pill is indeed swallowed.


  1. Some vets and pharmacies specialize in making medications tasty to pets. If you are having difficulty with medication administration, ask if this would be a possibility for your pet.
  2. Praise and reward the cat after the pill is administered, so the experience will be as positive as possible. Give the treat without the pill now and then, too.
  3. Stand behind your cat, using your body to prevent the cat from wriggling free backwards through your arms.

Related Information:

More How To's from your Guide to Veterinary Medicine

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