Medicating: Easy Tricks To Medicate Your Cat

Jimmy (FIV+) Cat Lying Born 2007

Once a resident of FIV Cat Rescue headquarters, Jimmy has found his forever home.

When it comes to medicating your cat, I don’t think there is a pet owner alive who hasn’t experienced the frustration of trying to force a pill down the throat of an unwilling patient. What should you do when you hear those dreaded words, “Give your cat one of these pills twice a day”?

Before you don your protective armor, check out some of the easy tricks below that will help you medicate your ailing cat.

Tricks To Remember

These simple and easy tips will help make medicine time for you and your cat a breeze.

Oral Pills And Drops

Keep Calm

A calm cat is a calm patient. Wait until he is relaxed.

If your cat knows what is coming, he is likely to run or hide. Comfort your kitty by giving loving pats and by sitting in a quiet room. Do not let medicine time become a chasing game.

If possible, have another person assist by gently holding the cat while you give the medicine. If you are alone, cradle your cat with one arm and medicate with the other. If you need both hands, try kneeling with your cat between your bent legs, as you use both hands to give the medicine.

A cat who has learned that she will be treated gently and will get food after the pill may be content to lie quietly of her own volition while you touch only her head and face to give the pill. In all cases, speak soothingly to your cat, while stroking and praising him.

Pill Popper

A Pill Popper used to release a pill into your cat’s mouth while keeping your fingers out of the way.

Giving Pills

With one hand, gently press the sides of your cat’s mouth with your thumb and forefinger until she opens her mouth. Make sure your cat’s head is tilted up slightly. Reach in and drop the pill into the back of her mouth.

Another option is to use a Pill Popper, or Piller, a plastic and rubber tool somewhat similar to a syringe, to help you place the pill deep into your cat’s mouth, without having to force open her mouth as far or bring your fingers into biting range.

The Piller will not shoot out the pill, and you should be careful not to put the pill so far back that your cat chokes. Immediately after giving the pill, shut your cat’s mouth before she can reject it. Be careful not to block your cat’s nose when doing this.

Whether using a Piller or just your fingers, hold your cat’s mouth closed until the pill is swallowed. Stroking your cat’s throat may encourage swallowing. Watch a video of giving a pill using a Piller.

Sometimes a cat will throw up after being medicated. If you find a soggy pill on the floor, it will be necessary to start over.

Oral Drops

Given a choice, oral drops are usually easier to give than pills because cats like the flavor. Antibiotics and vitamins often come in liquid form. Using a dropper to administer the prescription ensures proper dosage. You administer oral drops much the same as pills.

Take with Food

Most oral medications should be given with food or water. Make sure that your kitty has access to both immediately after receiving their medications.

Some pills can be given with canned food or inside a piece of meat. It is not recommended to give cats medication in water because if they do not drink it all, they are not getting the proper dose. Also, medicine can make the water taste strange, causing the cat to refuse, leading to dehydration.

Another tip is to crush the pill into small pieces and mix it with meat flavored baby food or tuna. Most cats will eat this and not even notice the medicine. If you plan to administer pills by crushing them, be sure to check with your vet first, as crushing causes faster absorption, which may affect the medicine’s effects.


If your cat requires daily injections at home — such as insulin — be sure to follow a schedule. Usually, diabetic cats need 2 injections, 12 hours apart.

It is important not to shake the vial. Slowly mix the insulin by rolling the vial in your hands, and then lay your cat on a comfortable surface. Gently pull up the skin at the back of the neck, as it is the perfect place for injections and the shot will be least painful there.

You don’t need to insert the syringe very far, as insulin needles are very thin. It may seem a little tricky at first, but once you’ve given injections a few times, it will become easier for you both