How to Give a Cat Medication

hello our calm this is dr. Stacy Wallach from Town & Country veterinary hospital tan country Missouri have you ever said to yourself I really don't want to have to bring my cat to the hospital today because I know I'm going to have to get some medications to fix him and I don't know how to get my cat medications if that's you I'm here to help today we're going to talk about how to give your cat medications the thing that nobody wants to ever have to do but I'm going to try to make it a little bit easier for you a lot of different things okay first of all what kind of medication is your cat going to get there are pills there's liquids and even better nowadays we can get drugs compounded into a gel that you can actually just put on the inside of the cat's ears not all medications can be compounded like that and not all of them are as effective like that but talk to your veterinarian because believe it or not that's a very good option for a lot of animals so I'm going to start by talking about how to give you a caterpillar so before we even show you actually how to do it let's talk about our different options so first of all some people will take a pill and mash it and put it into something really really flavorful to hopefully mask the taste and some pills that'll work for but there are some pills that are very fragrant at the cats really are bitter they don't like it as soon as they taste it that's it so you can try that and if it doesn't work so you replace that one pill bit you know you had to throw out another option are pretty pill pockets I am in love with this product so what these products are is it is a little treat that as a whole in the middle of it and what you do is you take your pill pocket with one hand and your pill make it my pill here your pill in your other hand and what you do is you take the pill from your one hand and put it right into the middle of your pill pocket you never want to touch the pill pocket again with this finger because this finger has the smells of your pill on it so then afterwards you just take this pill pocket you can see how it'll just mash around that pill and then you give it to your cat as a treat and most cats will take this and swallow whole and never you know there's a pill in it now some pills for this maybe they're too big or maybe your cats don't like treats and if that was the case then we move on to the next option and I will show you that my cats will love these on in a minute when we give them to them okay so we're going to work on Erin today Erin is one of the three cats that live in our hospital and no I did not pick Erin because he's good about having a pill being given to him none of my cats like pills being given to them some cats are a lot easier and I'd say 80 to 90 percent of cats you can pill pretty easily if you know how to do it correctly so there's a couple different things first of all you need to be able to restrain your cats okay so sometimes it's going to take more than one person I mean that I've done this so many times can do it by myself but when you're just starting out at home I would go ahead and restrain your animal in a certain position and then try and sometimes it takes two people so a lot of times what I'll tell people is a towel works really well the biggest problem that we have is cats well back away from you so another thing that we do is we would like to put our animals on the for sometimes I think this is better so that they can't back up what I will do is a lot of times I will put my animal into a corner where they can't back up and I'm not sitting on them although it will look that way a lot of times I'll just kneel over them although Erin is quite a big cats but this does this allows him so he can't back up I'm not putting any pressure on him a towel like we showed you before racking them up will also prevent that but I kind of like just doing this in this way I've got their face in front of me and they cannot back away from me so if you're buying yourself this is sometimes what you have to do now if you're not by yourself oh come here Erin then you have a second person just holding them from behind like I need to hear my wonderful helper and if you have a cat that's going to do paw like this at you every time you go with their face then sometimes wrapping them in a towel so their arms cannot come out or the front legs cannot come out will work really well too and then having the other person just kind of holding them like this so you got to be able to prepare yourself for this so you don't need any of this some cats you can just go ahead and pill but for cats that are more difficult this is what you need now he probably does not need this so I'm going to just have it Nita that hold him so he doesn't come off the back of the table the pilling processes is kind of the difficult part okay what I tell people is you want to make this a pleasant experience I give the animals lots of love before lots of love after the other thing to remember is if this is the only time you're picking your cat up and petting them going today they're going to figure it out very quickly that this is the time they're going to get a pill and they're going to already be trying to get away from you and I'm happy just like when you pull the carrier off to take them to the vet so what I do is I start by petting the cat okay and this just relaxes them and gets them used to be grabbing their face because I'm going to cats have what's called the zygomatic arch which is this bone that kind of goes around the eye and it connects kind of to the back of the ear this is a great place to get control of my cat I can lift their head straight up in the air by that bone I can turn left I can right I can actually lift the cat out like this if I wanted but I don't recommend that and then when I use I use my little pinky here as a pivot and that just allows me to lift their head straight up in the air look what happens to their mouth notice how it automatically opens the most important thing when you're pulling a cat is you don't take the pill and shove it into their mouth dogs you can do that cats can bite you okay so more importantly with cat I like to just drop the pill into the back of the throat so again we are going to continue just by petting the cat head we're going to grab him by that zygomatic arch using my finger as a pivot and I'm just going to kind of grab his head and lift it up towards the air and when I do that I can use my pinky of my other hand and then I'm going to drop the pill you want to drop it right down the hatch sometimes blowing in their nose or rubbing the top of the or the bottom of their throat will help them swallow the important thing is is that you don't let go at this point if you let go he's going to shake his head and spill the catnip ale out the other thing is is you want to make sure they keep their mouth closed and up in the air until you actually see that swallow respond and when they swallow then you can release everything okay so again the important things to remember head straight up in the air no fingers in the mouth dropping the pill right down the center if you drop it to one side or the other they're going to spit it out right down the hatch and then keep the head up rubbing the neck until you actually see them swallow once you see them swallow you can release then you're done so here's that pill in the pill pocket and you can see that Aaron here will really enjoy eating this your Aaron 1/2 pill don't you medicine and just like that it's gone so easy you didn't even have to touch a cat it's great so for those that have a little bit of trouble with a whole hand pill you know maybe we're just not as coordinated and do that that's okay because we have a pill doser these work really well one it really prevents you from getting bit in your keeping your hands away from the mouth you don't have to be as aggressive as holding the head up straight in the air this is a very quick process cats don't seem to mind it there's all different kinds of these this is not just you know there's ones that follow with water I mean there's a whole bunch of different options this is just fine so what you do is you have to load this and all you do is you put the pill into the top once it's loaded you can see how if once you get this part to the back of the throat and you pump it it will automatically go down so poor Aaron is going to be our victim for this as well and we're going to show you how to use it so again I still think that the same hold is good but you don't have to be as I'm going to do it the same way I always do but for you you know even if you were just to hold his mouth up like this you know you can hold his mouth head just like that and go into the corner when you do this you don't have to open the mouth and pry it you can actually just shove it right into the back of the mouth and they'll automatically open their mouth a magnet kind of chew on it and that's when you just to the back of the throat so again holding the head up into the air mouth opens this goes to the back of the throat and pop so this one you don't need is much good in with your fingers because this one you can take this whole thing and go all the way down to the back of the throat where's the other one we were dropping it in and again you missed the left of the right you're in trouble this one will give it a lot further and more likely for him you can see he swallowed much faster with that one he swallowed he's done and he's a good boy so again make sure you praise them make sure they get a treat or something afterwards if they're allowed to and make sure that the times that you're going to be doing this for that whole week that you give them breaks you enjoy them you hit them all day long not just during the time of having to give them a pill so they're still going to love you and not hate you after you do this to them so this is Alistair Alistair is another one of our kitties that lives here we are going to show you how to give a liquid medication my preference if you have an option between liquid and pill once you get the technique down I think pill barn on it is the easiest things to go with liquid the problem with liquid is even if you get it all the way to the back of their mouth they're likely to hyper salivate spit some of it out you just never know if they get it a pill on the other hand if they spit it out you see it unless you let them go too quickly and they run to the back of the room and they spit it up behind your couch which also happens so make sure they swallow it so but if you have to some medications only come in a liquid form so that's the case you're pretty much using the same exact method as you are with the pill except for with the syringe with liquid the most important thing to remember is do it quick you do not want to like with kids put it in the front of their mouth and get a little bit and let them swallow and get a little more and let it swallow because the first time they taste it and they swallow it you're not going to get any of them again so as you get one chance only usually with liquid so again we're going to use the same hand technique and you're going to put this to the back loops to the back of their throat and just plunge the syringe in one quick motion so same thing heading the kitty getting them ready we're going to hold on to that zygomatic or our pinkie is going to pivot and our head is going to go up same thing you can either with your pinkie sometimes people will just do it this fringe but back at the mouth squirt and you're done they don't hear so I always make that noise and then when he swallows it you're all done it is not uncommon even if you do the best application of the medication they still will spit some of it out they still will hyper cellophane especially the ones that are taste really nasty so even if you get all of it to the back of the throat in one swift motion you're still going to get a little bit out and some caps will continue to hyper salivate for a couple minutes so stay there close with a paper towel and just wipe it as it comes out there's nothing you can do about that so in summary don't be afraid to take your cat to the vet just because it needs medications doesn't mean you're going to fail you can do it it is not that hard to give your cat medication talk to you about the different options that that medication comes in have them show you how to pull again if you're unsure if at last resort bring your pets at the vet every day and I'm sure your veterinarian will do it for you it shouldn't be that difficult there's lots of different options out there just give it a try and hopefully you'll succeed again dr. Wallach kind of country veterinary hospital see you next time

36 thoughts on “How to Give a Cat Medication

  1. I'm going to try this for my cat's PM dose phenobarbital. She's on 3-4 medications for 3 different issues and needs meds a minimum of 7 times a day, liquid and powder. I usually have to have her on my legs with her face up and to the side to lift her lip and squirt the liquid into her cheek because she whips her head if she even sees the syringe or pill ? hopefully the small adjustments help, thank you for the clear explanations.

  2. Didn't know that pill pockets existed. And it is about time someone made pill popping for pets easier, especially cats. Great stuff as long as they like the pill pockets

  3. Thank you so very much for the tips and advice! I have a cat that requires 2 pills a day for the rest of her life. Hyperthyroidism. I intend to put your advice on giving her love the whole day into practice.

  4. Great video! I have to give a feral cat oral liquid by syringe. First dose was mixed in with food and he ate it, but considering shooting second and final dose into his mouth.

  5. My cat is a stray…just getting used to being indoors most of the time. And he's so used to fighting for his life that he's a real demon when it comes to taking a pill. I just couldn't get him to take it (and I live alone so there's nobody to help me). After watching him clean himself I wondered why I couldn't just work with his natural nature to lick things off. So, I mashed his pill (metronidazole) into a little dab of yogurt and tapped that onto his paws. It took three little taps of this mixture on his paws, but he licked it all clean. He didn't like it one bit, but it was WAAAAY easier than prying his mouth open and popping a pill into his throat.

  6. I saw several videos and articles where they said do not tip the head back if
    giving liquid, it will go into the lungs. Put the liquid into the pouch on either side of the mouth.

  7. My wild Bengal cat is hyperactive and picky ! So nothing works for her and you can't cheat on her and give any medication…

  8. My cat needs pills and liquid now.. For nearly 3 weeks.
    She doesn't eat much too, only licks off a bit. Holding her down is so hard too, she will scratch with very sharp claws.. She'll also eventually spit it out. Never swallow it. It's been three days already and she didn't have much of the medicine. I'm really worried for her. Trying everything to make her take it

  9. That cat is abnormally chill about this whole thing. My cat bucks me at all costs. Thank god hiding the pills in cheese worked today- I could have cried I was so relieved that I don’t have to wrestle 3 pills a day into him for a week.

    Plus it would be nice to see how to do it without someone to help you!

  10. I have a wonderful vet here in Archdale, NC but unfortunately my mother picked my kitty up for me today and I wasn't able to watch the vet "pilling" my kitty so I was completely clueless on how to do so. "Oh my god, she is gonna bite me," "How in the hell am I gonna get her to swallow this?," "Is there a way to pill her so that she doesn't spit the pill back out?," "Am I gonna hurt her by scruffing her bc it looks painful?," these are just a few, of many, questions that were running through my mind. THANK GOD FOR YouTube! This vet seems very friendly and genuine, you can tell she really loves her resident kitties by the way she touches them as not to hurt them and by the things she says like "pet them all throughout the day" and so on. This video really helped me and thankfully my vet sent home a pill plunger w my Bella so I'm all set. Thank you so much Dr. Stacey Wallach.. ( lol, and Bella says thank you for suggesting treats after she is a good girl and takes her pill.)

  11. My cat is being very difficult, he usually has a really good temperament but I've tried to give him a pill but he just starts screaming every single time. I just can't seem to open his mouth or doing it without stressing him out. I don't want him to feel scared because I need to give him these pill for 14 days… I'm afraid he's not trusting me anymore. He really loves his toothpaste so I've tried to dip the pill in it so it tastes better but he's pretty smart and just spits it out. What should I do? Help!

  12. These are good tips, but the cats head should not be straight up when pilling. You're supposed to keep them in a neutral position, to allow them to swallow (though it is difficult for anxious cats).

  13. Thank you Dr. Wallach!  We have a very sick kitty, unfortunately, but this has helped us with giving him his Prednisone pills. (P.S. MIZ-ZOU! Our daughter graduated from Mizzou this past May in with a degree in Agricultural Journalism and is working in Jefferson City for the Department of Agriculture in Marketing.  She loved Mizzou, loves Missouri and so do we! (She grew up in Houston, TX, where we are living as empty nesters now).

  14. Thanks Stacey very helpful. Struggling to give my liquid ( Apotica) that she just hates and tastes vile. Will concentrate on trying a quick squirt 🙂

  15. I used to squirt a bit in Kiri's mouth, wait and squirt again, and he hyper salivates for an hour xD not kidding, okay maybe 30 mins but it is definitely not minutes. gonna try the drip it in the throat, wish me luck! xD
    Thank you, Dr. Wallach, for sharing this video
    if it works, I will reply about how it went

  16. If the cat is sick, has been throwing up, he will not eat anything. My will fight to the death to avoid pills

  17. How to give pill to cat. Ask cat to open mouth; give pill; stroke cat.
    In your dreams! My cat has the strength of a small pony and simply ran through the kitchen door- panel.

  18. Having to give my cat four pills a day turned out to be harder than I could imagine. I guess all cats differ, but what works best for me is to dissolve the pills with a bit of lukewarm water inside a syringe, then I scruff her lightly and spray the medication inside the side of her mouth. Gently, not too slow but certainly not too fast either. Then I give her some food or milk afterwards.

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