Cat, in shock, hearing that it needs medication.
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How to Give Your Cat a Pill


If you’re a cat owner, you’ve likely experienced the challenge of giving your feline friend medication at some point. Cats can be notoriously finicky when it comes to taking pills, but with the right approach and a little patience, you can make the process much smoother for both you and your cat. Here are steps to help you give a cat a pill effectively and in a stress-free manner.

Gather Your Supplies

Before you attempt to give your cat a pill, make sure you have everything you need at hand:

  • The pill prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • A pill dispenser or a small, clean syringe (without the needle).
  • A towel or blanket.
  • A treat or a piece of cheese (optional but helpful).

Prepare Your Cat

Choose a quiet, comfortable location for the process. Sit on the floor or a soft surface and place your cat in your lap or on a table. If your cat is particularly squirmy, consider wrapping them gently in a towel or blanket, leaving only their head exposed. This will help to keep them still and calm during the process.

Administering the Pill

Now, it’s time to give your cat the pill:

  1. Hold the pill dispenser or syringe in one hand and gently grasp your cat’s head from above with your other hand, placing your thumb and forefinger on either side of the upper jaw.
  2. Tilt your cat’s head slightly upward to help open their mouth.
  3. Use your pill dispenser or syringe to place the pill as far back in their mouth as possible, past the hump of their tongue. Be careful not to push too far to avoid causing gagging.
  4. Close your cat’s mouth and hold it shut while gently stroking their throat to encourage swallowing.
  5. You can also blow on their nose or lightly blow on their face. This can prompt them to swallow.
  6. Be patient. It may take a minute or two for your cat to swallow the pill. Keep holding their mouth closed to ensure they don’t spit it out. They can be stubborn, for sure.

Reward and Affection

After your cat has successfully swallowed the pill, offer them a treat as a reward for their cooperation. Give them plenty of affection and verbal praise, so they associate the experience with positive reinforcement.

Additional Tips

  • If your cat refuses to swallow the pill, you may need to use a pill crusher to turn it into a powder, which can be mixed with a small amount of wet food.
  • Consult with your veterinarian to see if there’s a liquid or alternative form of medication available for your cat, as some cats are more accepting of liquids or transdermal gels.
  • If your cat consistently refuses pills, ask your veterinarian about compounding the medication into a more palatable form, such as a flavored treat or liquid. Many vets have flavorings that can be added to liquid medications, like beef or chicken.


Giving a cat a pill can be a tricky endeavor, but with patience, gentle handling and positive reinforcement, it can become a manageable task. Remember to consult with your veterinarian for guidance specific to your cat’s needs. Always follow your prescribed treatment plan to ensure your feline companion stays healthy and happy.

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