How to Give Medicine to Your Cat

Follow these tips to give medicine to your cat. If none of them work, go to your vet and discuss the situation.
How to Give Medicine to Your Cat

Last update: 09 April, 2021

Giving medicine to your cat is no easy task.  As soon as cats notice the taste of a pill, they’re able to remove it from its food, no matter how hidden it is.

Introducing the medicine directly into the cats’ mouth doesn’t usually work either. It’s an arduous task that can only be done with patience, gentleness and, sometimes, original methods. Everything’s much easier if the animal is used to being handled in this way from an early age.

Understanding the cat

For cats, changes in routine aren’t easy to manage, because they’re afraid of them. It’s not every day that they’re forced to swallow medicine, and so this action can easily stress or frighten them. Therefore, you should keep in mind the following basic aspects when faced with this situation:

  • Be calm at all times and don’t get carried away by stress.
  • Don’t force the animal. This will worsen similar situations in the future.
  • Don’t shout at, punish or hit your pet. Speak softly and calmly to convey confidence and relaxation.
  • Use positive reinforcement. It’s more effective than punishment and will serve as a reference for future occasions.

These seem like very basic tips, but it’s very easy to get frustrated. Always remember that you’re dealing with an animal that doesn’t understand what’s happening at that moment.

Polycystic kidney disease is more common in Persian cats.

Look for instructions when you give medicine to your cat

Depending on the medicine, it’ll have certain instructions for administration: whether it should be accompanied by food or on an empty stomach, mixed with food or dissolved, in the form of syrup or solid, whether it can be split, crushed or sprayed on the feed, among other things.

You can ask your vet for these instructions and you’ll have to comply, because some medicines can lose efficacy, for example, if they’re administered with food. Some techniques or sizes will make medicine administration easier than others.

How to give medicine to your cat?

There are 2 main ways: with food and without food. In the first case, this task can be much easier, and if you’re lucky, the animal won’t even notice the presence of the pill. In the second case, it’ll be a little more difficult, but if you do it with calm and assurance, you’ll succeed. Let’s explore each method.

If you can mix the pill with food

If it’s possible to mix the drug with food, you can follow these tips:

  • Hide it in cat sauces or broths: sauces or broths are thick liquids with a lot of flavor in which you can mix the tablet or syrup without the animal easily detecting it. Normally, these foods are very delicious and their taste and smell can camouflage the medication.
  • Mix it with wet cat food: like sauces and broths, wet food has a strong smell and flavor that can deceive your cat. For best results, try your cat’s favorite type.
  • Sprinkle or dissolve it in food: in case the medicine can be sprinkled or dissolved —if it’s not too much quantity—you may be in luck simply by sprinkling the drug into your pet’s regular food.

If you can’t mix the pill with food

If the cat likes to be touched, you can gently open its mouth and place the tablet at the base of the tongue, and then gently close its mouth while massaging its neck to encourage swallowing. This method is similar to the one used in dogs. Moreover, if the tablet is very large, you can break it into pieces and repeat the process for each piece.

If it’s a syrup or a pill that’s easily soluble in water, you can use a syringe to introduce it into the animal’s mouth, sideways, through one of the corners of its mouth, and gently push the plunger until you’re sure that the animal has swallowed the medicine little by little.

Additionally, there are special dispensers for giving medicine to cats that look like a syringe with two handles. So, at one end you place the pill or syrup, and push with your fingers on the other end. You can buy these at a pet store or vet center.

A cat takes a pill.

What if nothing works

However, if nothing works and it’s impossible to administer medication to your cat in any way, you’ll need to go to the vet, to have the situation managed by a professional. Their experience helps in most cases. Also, they can inform you if there’s any alternative format for the medication.

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