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Getting your kitty to take a pill can be a real pain! Have you ever tried to stick a pill down kitty’s throat, only to have her immediately spit the pill out on the floor, right in front of your feet? When that happens, you know that you might be in for a “special time” with your cat.
In fact, most people refer to the whole process as “pilling your cat,” which has a bit of a negative connotation to it. If you’re experiencing problems getting your cat to take her pills, don’t despair just yet. By following a few simple tips and tricks, you might make pill time a lot less traumatic for both of you.
See if Kitty Will Swallow the Pill
Before you jump to drastic measures, make sure your cat isn’t one of those rare breeds who take pills easily. Hold her cheeks with one hand and applying pressure gently to the sides of the jaw, encouraging kitty to open her mouth. Place the pill on the base of her tongue, being careful that she doesn’t gag. Then close her mouth and see if she will swallow when you gently rub her neck. Adding a little bit of water with a syringe can also encourage her to swallow. If this works, you are one lucky cat owner!
If your cat doesn’t like being held, you can make this process easier by wrapping your cat in a towel first. This way, she can’t scratch you or squirm away. And if you want to be really tricky, have few practice runs first without a pill, just giving your cat a treat at the end. She’ll associate the process with good vibes and might not freak out when a pill is introduced.
Pill Poppers: A Second Attempt at “Hand Feeding” Pills
Pill poppers are essentially a long syringe that holds a pill. Just scruff your cat’s neck and gently push the syringe to the back side of his mouth, behind his back teeth. Push the pill in with the popper, remove the syringe, and gently rub the bottom of your cat’s neck to stimulate swallowing. Try giving him some water through a syringe afterward to stimulate swallowing. This is a good method if your cat is intimidated by having someone’s hands in his mouth, but doesn’t seem too bothered by a syringe.
Try a Pill Pocket
A pill pocket is another method that can sometimes trick your cat into thinking she’s eating a treat instead of a pill. You can buy pill pockets at most pet stores or vet offices. They’re just squishy cat treats with holes in the center that you can hide your pill in. Cats who tend to inhale their treats quickly or get really excited about treats might fall for this trick. Just give the treat to your cat like you normally would. You might have to cut the pills in half and put them in tiny pill pockets so your cat isn’t tempted to bite into the treat. Unfortunately, some cats see through this and will eat the squishy treat around the pill, spitting the pill out at the end.
Hide the Scent in Wet Food
If your cat absolutely adores wet food, then try hiding the pill in some especially aromatic, extra tasty versions of her favorite dishes. Check with your vet first to make sure it’s OK to serve the pill this way. You can even grind the pill to a powder and mix it into the wet food that way. Some cats will fall for this and happily eat up the food. If the pill’s too bitter or has a scent that’s too strong, even this trick might not work. But it’s definitely worth a try. You can even try just feeding your cat dry treats and mixing some pills in with the treats. In her eagerness, she might inhale them all together.
If All Else Fails, Ask Your Vet about a Shot or Liquid Medicine
Worst case scenario, ask your vet to give your cat her pills! Many pills can be given in the form of a shot that lasts longer. Vets just don’t always go this route because it can be more expensive to have to bring your cat into the office every time she needs medicine. If the medicine is available in liquid form, this can be a lot easier to give to your cat and your cat might be less resistant. Ask your vet if any of these alternatives are available for you and your kitty and talk about any other options suggestions your vet may have.