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How to Give Medication to Your Cat2021/04/04

cat eating

There are a few different ways to give your cat medication depending on what type of medication it is and also what’s actually wrong with your cat.

Unfortunately, cats are one of the hardest pets to medicate because they are so willful and intelligent. You know you’re doing it for their own good, but they’re not likely to see if that way.

There are a couple of different types of medication that the vet might prescribe depending on the problem.

Liquid Medication

Liquid medication won’t usually taste nice, so pouring it out on a spoon and hoping your cat will drink it isn’t going to work.

Syringe feeding is the fastest and easiest option, but it will stress out your cat for a brief time.

The easiest way to deal with this is:

  1. Load your syringe with the correct amount of medication prescribed by your vet.


  1. Then fill the rest of the syringe to the top with fresh water.



  1. Flick the syringe a few times to mix the water and medication together. This way it waters down the taste a little and makes it a bit easier to swallow.


  1. Make your cat into a purrito – use a towel to wrap around their whole body, making it difficult for them to struggle to get away and also minimizing the number of scratches that you’re going to come away with.



  1. Place your cat on a surface that allows you to kneel over them – a bed or sofa is ideal.


  1. Sit behind them, placing your knees either side and knitting your feet together behind them – escape routes removed.



  1. Place your thumb and forefinger either side of their mouth and gently ease it open, tipping their head back slightly towards you.


  1. Push the syringe in until the whole tip is in their mouth. Pushing too far will choke them and squirting from a distance is likely to be messy.



  1. Once it’s in there, squirt about a 5th of the liquid in and allow your cat to close their mouth to swallow, holding their chin so avoid the whole lot being spat back out at you.


  1. Repeat until the whole syringe has gone.

It sounds difficult, but once you have the first few syringes in there it will get easier as your cat starts to realise that it’s better to co-operate if they want it to be over quickly. Be prepared that they might not be your friend for the next few hours.

ginger cat

Pills or Capsules

If your medication comes in pill or capsule form, it’s a similar process, but can actually be over a lot more quickly as you’ll only need to open their mouth once per dose. The way they swallow is the same as us really, so you’ll just need to mimic that in the best way you can.

For this method, it’s better for you to be sitting in front of your cat facing them, purely because you need to see where you’re placing the capsule. You don’t want to choke them.

Place your thumb and forefinger at either side of their mouth and open as wide as you can without making it too uncomfortable for them. (Watch out for the hissing and deadly claws).

You’ll need to place the pill as far back on their tongue as possible, without pushing it down their throat. Let them close their mouth.

Now, we’ll let you into a little secret:

If you keep hold of their head and blow into their face, it makes them swallow.

And there you have it! You’ve survived – until the next time.


The Treating Technique

The treating technique is one used mainly on dogs, but it can work for cats too. The problem is, it’s not a guaranteed method, so it’s only recommended to do this if it’s not essential to get the whole amount of medication in – for less serious illnesses.

It is, however, the preferred method for your cat, as it’s the least stressful. Plus, your cat will probably still like you afterwards, which is always a bonus.

The treating method means hiding a pill or capsule in a piece of food or a treat to encourage your cat to eat it.

Try pushing it into a chunk of wet food, a clump of tuna or a piece of cooked chicken. It works best if you provide a treat without the pill in first to convince your cat that it’s okay to eat. They’ll then come back for a second treat, which you’ve sneakily hidden their medication in.

Sometimes this works fine, you come out unscathed and your cat had a treat too – perfect!

However, there are a couple of problems:

  • Cats are clever and after you’ve done this a few times, they’re going to get wise to your plan and stop accepting your treats. This means it’ll normally only work if the medication only needs to be taken for 2 or 3 days.


  • You can’t always be sure they’ve swallowed it. Depending on your cat’s personality, they might be quite protective of their food. Some cats don’t eat treats in front of you and might take them to another room to make sure that you don’t steal them back. This might result in a chase around the house so you can confirm that they’ve actually taken the medication, otherwise you’ll find it under the sofa a week later.


Crushing Pills or Capsules

Similar to the treating method, you could crush the pills to hide them in the food. This means that if your cat’s hungry, they have no choice but the eat it.

This works best if your cat eats wet food with gravy. Crushing the whole pill and stirring it into the gravy means that at least some of it will be eaten when they come down for breakfast.

This is the least effective way of giving your cat medication as:

  1. They’re unlikely to ingest it all – unless they lick the bowl clean and
  2. It might make the food taste odd, putting your cat off eating altogether, which is the exact opposite of what you wanted to achieve.


The method you choose will depend on how important it is that your pet ingests the whole amount and what kind of personality your cat has. Try a couple of different methods until you find one that fits. If you need some help contact us on 9860-5522 to book a veterinary appointment with our team!