Giving tablets to your cat
Giving tablets to your cat can be stressful and few cats are cooperative. However, it is very important that a course of medication is completed, and if you are having any difficulty, simply contact the clinic – they will understand and try to help.
Can the tablet be given in or with food?
Some tablets are palatable and may be eaten voluntarily by your cat. Others can be hidden in a small amount of a favourite food (a knob of butter, or a small piece of cheese, meat or fish) or even crushed and mixed with a tasty treat, making them much easier to give. However, some tablets cannot be crushed or given with food so always check with your vet.
Giving a tablet
- Always handle your cat gently, work calmly and be reassuring. If your cat gets very stressed, contact your vet to explore alternatives.
- Someone gently holding your cat while you give the tablet can be very helpful. Alternatively, it may be easier to gently wrap your cat in a large towel/blanket to keep them still and prevent you being scratched.
- Hold your cat, using your hands, arms and body to keep it still and confined
- Hold your cat’s head firmly but gently, placing your thumb and forefinger on either side of the jawbone at the corner of the mouth. Holding this area firmly does not hurt your cat, but gives you control of it’s head.
- Hold the pill between the thumb and forefinger of the other hand
- Tilt the cat’s head so that the nose is pointing up
- Open the mouth using a finger on the row of tiny teeth at the front of the bottom jaw, and gently pulling down.
- Once open, push the tablet to the back of the mouth as quickly as possible, and release the head so the cat can swallow.
- The trick is to get the tablet as far back in the mouth as possible so that your cat can only swallow it and not spit it out!
- 'Pill poppers' or 'pill givers' can be used to avoid the need for a finger in the cat's mouth. Some people find these easier.
- To help the tablet go down and prevent problems, it is usually best to give a small amount of food or dribble a small amount of water into your cat's mouth after a tablet is given – check with your vet what is best.
You can watch videos of how to give tablets on the iCatCare YouTube channel for extra help.
Cat Friendly Clinic is a programme from the International Society of Feline Medicine, the veterinar division of the charity International Cat Care (www.icatcare.org).
The programme is generously supported by: Purina in Europe