How to Pill a Cat in 13 Easy Steps

Now, as a cat owner, I can empathize with those poor clients whom I send home with their choice of either the liquid or pill forms of antibiotics. It’s not quite as easy as it looks, and it wasn’t until I actually tried giving liquid medication to my own cat that I realized it’s much harder to give than pills.

Here’s some food for thought from experienced cat owners and dog lovers that’s been circulating on the web! I also published this in It’s a Cat’s World … You Just Live In It.

How to Pill a Cat

  1. Pick up cat and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on each side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

  2. Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat gently in left arm and repeat process.

  3. Retrieve cat from bedroom; pick up and throw away soggy pill.

  4. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm, holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for count of ten.

  5. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse in from garden.

  6. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, and hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into cat's mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

  7. Retrieve cat from curtain rail; get another pill out of foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains.

  8. Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with a pencil and blow into drinking straw.

  9. Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink glass of water to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

  10. Retrieve cat from neighbor’s shed. Get another pill. Place cat in cupboard and close door just enough so that head is showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Have spouse flick pill down throat with plastic band.

  11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot.

  12. Get spouse to drive you to emergency room. Sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearms and removes pill from right eye.

  13. Arrange for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to collect cat and contact local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.

How To Pill a Dog

  1. Wrap pill in bacon.

Thankfully, there are numerous great videos and websites out there where you can watch how to pill a cat. Check out veterinary sources like the Cornell Feline Health Center, which hosts some useful videos. Another great resource is DVM360. When in doubt, ask your veterinarian or technician to show you how to give the first pill. Before you know it, you’ll either (a) be a pilling pro, or (b) find a bunch of spit-out pills behind the living room sofa.

Dr. Justine Lee

Image: Claud B. / via Shutterstock