How to Give Your Cat Oral Medications

Giving your cat pills can seem like a very daunting task, but hopefully, with a little bit of instruction, you will be a pro in no time! Whether you need to give your cat medications daily or just every once and awhile, such as a deworming tablet, the faster and more effective you can be the happier your cat will be.

If you have another person available to help hold your cat, the entire process will go much more smoothly. But don’t worry if you’re all by yourself, you can wrap your kitty up in a blanket or towel like a burrito so that those pesky paws won’t get in your way. With your kitty restrained use your non-dominant hand to hold their upper jaw as shown in the photo. Your thumb and index fingers will be behind their canine teeth (the big fangs) but not too far inside the mouth so that you don’t accidentally get bitten. It will give you control of your cats head.

With your dominant hand, hold the pill between your thumb and index finger. You will be using your ring finger to open your cats’ mouth by placing it on the lower jaw and gently pressing down. As you can see, our patient, Tegan, is a very good kitty, and she let us do this process very slowly so that we could document the process. With most cats, the faster, the better so they don’t have time to plan their escape!

While still holding their mouth open with your ring finger place the pill on the middle of their tongue near the back. If you place the pill to the side or too close to the front, your cat will easily wiggle it out of their mouth. Remember cats are ninjas.

Once you have the pill on their tongue promptly remove your dominant hand from their mouth and place it under their chin to close their mouth. If you don’t close their mouth right away, they will spit the pill out. You will gently keep their mouth closed until they swallow. This maybe a bit of a standoff if your cat doesn’t want their medications. If you gently rub their throat, it may encourage them to swallow. After your cat swallows the pill, you can squirt a small amount of water into their mouth to ensure that the pill doesn’t get stuck in their throat.

Giving your cat liquid medications is a bit easier than a pill, but your cat will probably still not like it. Again if you have someone to help hold your cat, the process will go much easier. Whenever you give liquid medications or water by a syringe, you want to ensure you are not aiming the syringe directly towards the back of the throat. Shooting it down the throat may cause your cat to choke. Instead, you want to aim towards a cheek. Either the same side into the cheek pouch or across the tongue. If you are giving a small amount of medication you can squirt it in one go but if it is a larger amount squirt in a small amount and let your cat swallow it before you do more.

While holding your cats head upright to tuck the syringe tip into your cat’s cheek. Slowly squirt the medication into your cat’s cheek, allowing them to swallow before you squirt in too much!

Hopefully giving your cat medications will be a lot easier now. If you have any questions about giving your cat medications, you can always call and talk to one of our technicians. Our technicians are also available to demonstrate in person how to give your cat medications. You can also check out our Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MillCreekAH/videos/392215584934459/ ) or Instagram (@millcreekah ) to see a video of Tegan being pilled.

If you have any questions about how to give your pet their oral medication give us a call.

Written by: Nicki Payne, RAHT



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Last updated: May 25, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective May 25, 2020 the restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.


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