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Home ยป How to Give a Cat a Pill: Expert Tips and Tricks

How to Give a Cat a Pill: Expert Tips and Tricks

Administering medication to your feline friend can be a challenge, especially when it comes to giving your cat a pill. Cats are known for their ability to spit out pills and their sharp claws and teeth can make the process difficult. However, there are certain techniques and strategies you can use to make the process of how to give a cat a pill easier and safer for both you and your pet. 

Check with your pet doctor to see if there are any limitations on administering the medication before reading our suggestions on giving a cat a pill. While some medications can be taken with food, others cannot. Some pills can be divided or crushed, but not others, because doing so risks hurting your cat’s stomach or esophagus. This is due to the pill’s outer coating no longer protecting the medication. With this expertise, you can choose the best method for administering the tablet to your cat. There are some different methods you can try when giving a pill to a cat:

Cheat-sheet – how to give a cat a pill

How to give a cat a pill
  • Hide the pill in food: Try hiding the pill in a small amount of wet food, such as tuna or chicken. You can also try using a pill pocket, a treatment specifically designed to hold a pill.
  • Use a pill dispenser: Pill dispensers are available to help give pills to cats more easily. A syringe-shaped device usually allows you to place the pill directly at the back of the throat.
  • Crush the pill: If your vet has approved it, you can try crushing the pill and mixing it with a small amount of wet food or butter. Check with your vet first, as some medications should not be crushed.
  • Use a pilling device: Pilling devices are available to assist you in giving your cat a pill. These devices hold the pill and allow you to place it at the back of the throat without touching the cat.

Most importantly, follow your vet’s instructions and gently handle your cat to minimize stress. 

What if she finds the pill and spits it out?

giving a pill to cat is tiring work

Try giving the pill directly into your cat’s mouth if they continue spitting the pills or if dietary restrictions prevent you from hiding them in enticing food or treats. Ensure you read the prescription label completely and comprehend the dosage instructions. Although administering medication to your cat can be frightening, remain confident and at ease because your cat will probably sense your stress.

Top tips on how to give a cat a pill safely

Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind when giving a cat a tablet:

  1. Follow your veterinarian’s instructions: It’s important to give your cat the correct dosage and frequency of the medication as prescribed by your veterinarian.
  2. Use a pill dispenser: A pill dispenser can make it easier to place the pill at the back of the cat’s throat and reduce the risk of accidentally swallowing it yourself.
  3. Wear gloves: If you need to crush the pill, it’s a good idea to protect yourself from any medications on the surface of the pill.
  4. Wash your hands: After administering the medication, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly to remove any residue.
  5. Store medication safely: Keep all medications out of reach of children and pets.
  6. Be cautious with medications that can be toxic to cats: Some human medications and supplements can be toxic to cats. Be sure to check with your veterinarian before giving your cat any over-the-counter medications.
Giving cat pill directly

How to give pills directly into the cat’s mouth?

Use these tips to give a pill directly into a cat’s mouth

  • Hold the cat firmly: Place one hand on the back of the cat’s head. Place the other under the chin to hold the head steady.
  • Open the mouth: Gently open the cat’s mouth by pressing down on the lower jaw with your thumb.
  • Place the pill as far back in the mouth as possible: Use your thumb and index finger to place the pill as far back in the throat as possible, being careful not to touch the back of the throat or the tongue.
  • Close the cat’s mouth and hold it shut for a few seconds after placing the pill in its mouth to ensure that the pill is swallowed.
  • Offer water: Offer the cat a small amount of water to help swallow the pill.
  • It’s important to be gentle and patient when giving a cat a pill directly. If your cat is resistant or agitated, it may be best to try a different method, such as hiding the pill in a treat or using a pill dispenser.

What if this also fails to work?

Add pill in food items for cat

If you still experience problems, you might want to invest in a ‘pet piller’ device. Alternatively, you can seek advice from your veterinarian. If giving a pill to your cat is a tiring experience, compound it into a flavored liquid. This can make administering the medication easier and more pleasant for both parties. 

Many medications can be made into:

  • A liquid form
  • Tasty treat formulas
  • With flavors like tuna, chicken, or salmon

Veterinary pharmacies can obtain such very easily.

Even a gel version of some medicines is available for application to the ear flap.


In conclusion, giving a cat, a pill can be challenging, as they are often resistant to taking medications.

However, there are several methods you can try to make the process easier:

  • Hiding the pill in a treat
  • Crushing the pill and mixing it with food
  • Using a pill dispenser
  • Asking your veterinarian for a different form of medication”

It’s important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions and be patient when administering medication to your cat. Don’t hesitate to ask your veterinarian for guidance if you have any questions or concerns.

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