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Pilling a cat

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Does anyone have a good technique for one person to give pills to a cat?

Sparky has / had a nasty injury to his tail. The vet thought maybe one of the other cats bit him (hi, Fred) but I notice he hasn't jumped up on the armoire since it happened, so I think perhaps he pinched himself between the unit itself and the cabinet door. Anyway, it abscessed and now Sparky is on antibiotics. He is supposed to get 2 a day, but of course that didn't happen. He got two the first day - one from the vet, one from me - one a day for the next few days, and now I can't even get that one into him. I tried putting it in his wet food, but he ate around it and left the pill on his plate, little stinker! I suppose his increased feistiness is a good sign, but I want to keep up the meds as much as possible. Any suggestions?
post #2 of 15
One suggestion is to ask the vet if it is ok to crush the pill and mix it in with a small amount of Sparky's wet food. If the vet says you can use this method, keep Sparky separated from the other cats while he is given his medication and make sure he eats every last bit of his food. You could also ask if the medication is available in liquid form.
post #3 of 15
Well, I'm by FAR no expert, but my Onyx has had his share of injuries (before he became an inside kitty) and this is what worked with him.

I sit on my knees on the floor with him and grab him so that his rear end is backed up against my knees. Then from behind him I grab his jaw and open it with one hand, put the pill on the back of his tongue and close his mouth, massaging his throat until he swallows the pill. Hes a very cooperative patient, so he makes it easy for me. My moms kitty, Deuce, is a bit more of a livewire but this technique works for him as well.

My cats will never touch their food if I dare put medicine in it, no matter how stubborn I am about it. Its much easier and quicker for me to just put the pill directly in their mouth. They're too smart for their own good

Good luck with Sparky :rainbow:
post #4 of 15
Hi Sunlion

Two methods that have worked on my kitties:

Get two soft cat treats in a flavor Sparky can't resist, put pill between the treats and squish together to form a ball. Some kitties will gobble this down. . .no hesitation. If that doesn't work. . .

Second method is similar to Melissa's except that I sit on the floor with my knees up and put kitty in the little pocket (facing away from me) so my tummy is against her back. I can gently squeeze her with a little pressure using my tummy, while having both hands free to pill her. Just the pressure on her back gives her the sensation that she cannot get away -- even tho she prob could if she really tried. Then with my left hand I insert my fingers into the sides of mouth. Kitty instantly opens mouth. Pill is ready in my right hand and I toss it in towards the back of her tongue.

I am like Melissa, it is easier for me just to put the pill directly in. . .then I know med was taken. One of the main things is to try to stay calm and remember that you are bigger than Sparky, so just take control of the situation and gently but firmly medicate since that is for his own good. Try to be as swift as possible and don't let him wiggle around for a long time. The more he wiggles and runs off without getting pilled, the more it reinforces the idea that if he wiggles long and hard enough, he will get away with anything he wants and you will spent eons each time you need to pill him.

After he gets his pill, gives him lots of love and treats so he thinks the whole thing is sooo much fun!
post #5 of 15
Hi Sunlion,

This is the only way I could pill my Dani. I picked her up and put her over my lap, cooing and petting to put her at ease, after a minute, I slowly worked a bath towel around her (like a cocoon). Again I waited until she calmed a bit. Then I put my right hand over her eyes and ears sorta like a hood and pulled it back and her mouth opens a bit. The vet said when you see her bottom teeth you can gently pull the mouth open with your left hand (which is holding the pill). I opened the mouth, dropped in the pill, but it fell in sideways, she swallowed it anyway but had that awful taste in her mouth. I could tell by her constantly sticking out her tongue. I tried to give her treats but she's having no parts of me now -- I think if she could have rolled her eyes at me, she would.

Fortunately, Dani has a short memory, all was forgiven soon after

mom to Dani Night Stalker
post #6 of 15

recently having had to give my feisty cat antibiotics twice a day for 20 days (and after that, a course of antibiotic eye drops, six times a day for 10 days...), I had to figure this one out too. Most of the time I do kind of what Melissa does, I sit down on a chair, take the cat and place her on my lap with her butt against my tummy, and her left side against my left arm which is used to pry her mouth open, my right arm is sort of against her right side while I use my right hand to pop the pill in her mouth. My arms form a kind of a circle around her so she doesn't escape. The problem with my cat is that she BITES if she possibly can in this kind of a situation, so when opening her mouth, I have to get the pill in fast and get my fingers out of the way. So sometimes the pill doesn't go in deep enough and she manages to get it out again. What my vet suggested, and seems to work well, is to get a proper sized syringe (so the pill fits inside the syringe), cut the plastic tip off, put the pill inside and "shoot" the pill into your cat's mouth. This way is fast, and you can get the pill deep enough into the cat's mouth, but of course you don't want it to go down the cat's throat either but I didn't find that to be a problem. It's still a struggle to keep the cat still and open their mouth, but this way you know the pill went down. Besides, cats can easily smell ground up pills in their food, and I know that my finicky cat at least would rather starve than eat food that had ground up pills in it...

I hope you got what I mean, seems my English isn't very good for these kind of descriptions.
post #7 of 15
I find it easy to just toss the pill into the back of his mouth and then stroke his throat until he swallows. But I have a cooperative cat. But, my kitten, Cleopatra, isn't so cooperative!! She will not have any part of the process. The minute she sees me go for the pill bottle, she runs and hides!! So, I found that hiding the pill in a small amount of cheese wiz works best for Cleo. Although it's very messy, she loved it!! Good luck with whatever method you try!
post #8 of 15
I'm with Lorie. Ask if you can have it in liquid form. Gypsy actually seemed to like the taste of her Clavamox (sp?). She'd come running when she heard me shake the bottle! I gotta admit, though... it did smell good. Like bananas. :tounge2:

I've always had a hard time giving my cats pills, with our without help. Any more, I ask for a liquid. It's soooo much easier.
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
You know, I usually trap him with his back against my legs and tip his head back to pop the pill in. The problem is, the injury is at the base of his tail near his bum, so it hurts to back up against me. The abscess already burst, so it is a patch of raw flesh (no fur and maybe even no skin) about 1" wide and 2" along the length of his tail that he keeps licking so it doesn't seem to heal. It seems to really hurt when I hold him so he doesn't just struggle, he fights. And I don't have another person handy, even a neighbor, who can hold him while I pill him. I guess we're just going to have to figure it out ourselves, maybe trap his hips between my knees while I kneel on the floor?
post #10 of 15
I have to give my cat a pill every day for an overactive thyroid with no help from anyone else, so I hold her like a baby and take the pill to the side of her mouth pushing her mouth open with my fingers (index and thumb with pill in the middle) and placing the pill to the back of her throat and holding her until I'm sure she has swallowed, opening mouth to check if necessary (she has been know to hide it under her tongue). Works well us.
post #11 of 15

My vet told me to stroke the cat's throat after giving her a pill just like Falling_Rain21 said. The vet says the stroking causes the swallowing reflex.

My only problem was keeping Dani still long enough to pop the pill *and* stroke. Even wrapped in a towel, she was a handful to hold onto and when she's scared, she seems to have extra strength.

post #12 of 15
I don't understand the stroking, I've heard the same advice but it has never worked when I've tried it, not for my dogs or the cat. I guess I just don't do it right, but I've tried many different ways or places to stroke, and done it for quite a while, and it's never worked to induce a swallowing reflex... Can anyone describe how you do this? When the pill hasn't gone deep enough, and I hold the cat's mouth closed, there hasn't been anything I could do to make her swallow, she just waits me out no matter how long it takes, and coughs it back up... I guess my cat's just smarter than me!
post #13 of 15

I think the area is right under where the tongue is -- from the bottom of the chin to the part where the neck begins.

I have also read that blowing a small puff of air at their nose or tapping the top of the nose will startle them enough that they forget about the pill and swallow :tounge2:

the pill should tossed very far back on the tongue and that way it is very hard to spit out. . .the only direction it will go is down.
post #14 of 15
When we had to give Trent medicine he did not like swallowing it, and it was even the liquid! He would hold it in his mouth and then let it drip all down his mouth, and me since I was holding him. Through trial and error, we figured out to give him a little squirt (couple drops) then tap his head. He swallowed, but wasn't real happy with us. Don't know if that would work with pills, but the tap on the head did make him swallow.
post #15 of 15
My cat Whiskers seemed to have 8 claw filled legs, razor teeth and herculean strength when we tried to force a pill in him. We even bought the pill syringe at Petsmart, still no luck, with 2 people trying. I'm not normally a treat giver except for occasional Petromalt, so I decided to try the "hide in a treat" technique. It was wonderful! I start with a few un-laced treats, then give him the one with the pill. He scarfs them down so fast, he never knows he even took a pill! Then I praise him more, and give him a few more treats. It got to where the sound of the rattling pill bottle would draw him into the kitchen immediately!
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