The Best Ways to Get Cats to Take Pills

Sneaking pills into you cat's bowl may help medicate a stubborn kitty.
i Martin Poole/Photodisc/Getty Images

Medicating your cat is not an enjoyable experience for you or your furry feline. Pills are especially problematic, and most cats will bite, scratch and fight in an effort to free themselves from your medication-motivated grasp. A few simple tricks will transform pill time from nightmare into routine habit.

In Her Food

Ask your vet if it’s safe to disguise the pill in your cat’s food. Some medicines are designed to be taken on an empty stomach, and giving it with food may cause an upset tummy. Spoon a small scoop of soft cat food into a bowl, and place the pill in the middle of the food. Add another dab of food on top to hide the pill and set the food out for the cat. Watch her closely to make sure she eats the pill. If it’s a big pill, cut it in half with a pill cutter and feed her one bit at a time.

Tasty Treats

If ordinary cat food isn’t doing the trick, it’s time to up the ante. Wrap the pill in a small piece of a tasty treat such as cooked chicken or a bit of soft cheese. Cow’s milk in large doses can make your cat sick, but a fingertip-sized bit shouldn’t bother her tummy. Call the kitty to you and give her the little surprise. If she spits the pill out, cut it up into tiny bits and give each piece in a separate treat.

Smash It Up

Many kitties don’t like the hard texture of pills and will spit them out as soon as they bite down. If your kitty is a spitter, grind the pill up and sprinkle the powder over wet cat food. Spread a little food in the bottom of a shallow bowl and add the powder to the food. Mix it up with a spoon and give it to your hungry kitty. Feed her the medicated mush in place of her normal rations, giving her more food only after she’s eaten all the medicine.

Pill Dispenser

A soft-tipped pill dispenser may be your last resort for a stubborn kitty. These tiny tubes are designed to push the pill far back on the cat’s tongue, forcing her to swallow it before she can spit it out. Insert the pill into the small opening at the base of the dispenser and wrap your cat up in a towel. Open the cat’s mouth gently and place the tip of the dispenser on the back of her tongue. Press down on the plunger to pop the pill into her mouth and hold her mouth closed for a few seconds. She won’t be a happy kitty, so be careful when you turn her loose.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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