How to Administer Oral Antibiotics to Cats

Properly administer your kitty's medicine so she stays healthy.

Properly administer your kitty's medicine so she stays healthy.

Although giving oral antibiotics to your cat companion is often no picnic, it can mean the difference between a healthy, happy cat and a sick, unhappy cat. If your method is stressful and leaves you with scratches and bite marks, reassess it. Your finicky feline will be grateful.

Administering Pills or Capsules

Wrap your kitty in a towel so she resembles a kitty burrito. Cover her front and back paws but don't cover her head.

Put your cat on a waist-high table in a quiet room that doesn't have access to distracting outdoor views.

Place your non-dominant hand over your cat's head so your thumb is on one side of her cheek and your remaining fingers are on the other side.

Squeeze your kitty's cheek with your thumb and middle finger and slowly pull her head back so her mouth opens up. If she refuses to open her mouth, hold the capsule or pill between your dominant index finger and thumb while you gently pry the front of her mouth open and pull her lower jaw down with the ring finger of the same hand.

Place the pill or capsule as far back as you can in your cat's mouth. Work quickly to avoid getting bitten. Alternatively, use a syringe-like pill gun to administer the medicine so you don't have to put your fingers in your cat's mouth. (These are available at many pet stores.) Insert this tool, which holds the pill or capsule, far back into your cat's mouth and push the plunger to release the medicine.

Close your cat's mouth and rub her neck or blow in her nose to get her to swallow. Make sure to give her a big hug afterward for good behavior.

Administering Liquids

Create a kitty burrito by wrapping your pet companion in a towel that covers her entire body except her head.

Put your cat on a sturdy, waist-high table in a quiet room, away from distractions and loud noises.

Place your non-dominant hand over your kitty's head and position your thumb on one side of her cheek and your remaining fingers on the other side. Gently squeeze her cheeks to slightly open her mouth. Avoid tilting her head back when administering liquids: you don't want them going down the wrong pipe.

Insert the dropper or syringe to the side of your cat's mouth in the pouch between your kitty's cheek and teeth.

Squirt the liquid quickly into the pouch, close your cat's mouth and blow in her nose or rub her throat to get her to swallow. Praise her afterward.

Items you will need

  • Towel
  • Pill gun


  • Consult your veterinarian if you have trouble administering your cat's antibiotics. He might give you the OK to hide the pills or capsules in commercial cat treats or mix them with liquid. Some cat treats are specially designed to contain a pill.
  • If you don't mix your kitty's capsule or pill with food, give her a teaspoon of water with a syringe after administering it. Use the same method as when administering liquid medicine. This flushes the pill or capsule into her stomach rather than its sitting in her esophagus where it can do damage.
  • To make antibiotic administration easier, have a friend hold and comfort your cat while you administer the medicine.

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About the Author

Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.

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