Best way to give a cat a pill
The best way to give a cat a pill or capsule are either with food or on an empty stomach, according your veterinarian advice.
Method A – With food
This method is suitable for short-term therapies, e.g. when the cat has to get antibiotic for a while. The most common ways we follow are two: Hiding the pill, either whole or powdered, into a small amount of food.
Pill Pockets for Cats is an ideal way to hide the cat pill in their food.
Take a small amount of your cats’ favourite food (preferably canned), turn it into a ball and hide inside the pill. An additional reason to be given on a food ball and not in a whole meal is the possibility that the cat may not eat all the quantity. In such case you will not know if your cat has taken the correct dose of medicine.
Some foods in which this “trick” works well is: in a piece of butter, cheese, tuna, cans with a strong flavour or smell or boiled fish. It is suggested that you give her a ball of food (without the pill) beforehand to see if the cat wants to eat it and reduce her suspicion.
At the same time, notice whether it is chewing or swallowing it whole. Cats (unlike dogs that can swallow them whole) tend to eat their food and may find and spit out the pill.
Pills and especially capsules tend to “soften” and if the cat spits it, it is difficult to handle it. So it’s essential to give her some food that you know is very attractive to her.
Also, if the cat is used to chewing food, will probably bite the pill and if it has a bad or unusual taste, you will have more difficulty giving it the next time.
Pour the powder into a powder and mix it with a small amount of food as suggested above. You can also dissolve it in chicken broth or other liquid according your cats’ preference and give it with a syringe (needleless).
Method B- Without taking food
This method is appropriate if you cannot proceed with the food ball method, or if the cat should take the pill on an empty stomach. It is very suitable for long-term treatment. The description of the following method is for right-handed users.
Before you start the procedure, you have to decide where the whole thing will take place and prepare all the necessary items, namely the pill, the towel or the blanket and lastly the cat. You call her with a soft voice or take her by yourself with calm movements.
If you realize that you are anxious your cat will get the vibe and there is no way to cooperate. Then, we have to choose how to immobilize the cat during the whole process. There are two methods of immobilizing the cat: bare hands or using a towel blanket.
First Technique: With bare hands
Start by putting the cat in an elevated position e.g. table or bench. The cat will want to escape the process, so hold it with your right hand between your sides and your elbow, making sure that your cat will look in the same direction as yours (we all look forward!).
Keep the pill in your left hand between the pointer and the thumb.
With your right hand you hold the cat’s head from her cheekbones (cheeks). As you hold it, lift the head so that the cat’s nose points to the ceiling. Her mouth opens slightly on its own. Taking it from the cheekbones does not cause any particular discomfort to the cat, while if the head is in a normal position it is almost certain that your cat will try to bite you.
Additionally you can place one of the remaining fingers of the left hand on the lower jaw, where the incisors are. In the position where the cat is located, it has no force in the lower jaw, so it cannot bite you. Put the pill as deep as possible into cats’ mouth. Touch her lower jaw or nose to encourage it to swallow. The whole process should be quickly and with decisive moves if you want to avoid biting.
Leave the cat’s face free and notice if it licks her lips, a basic indication that she has swallowed the pill. Some cats are good enough to cheat, so we suggest that you just open the mouth to see if it actually swallows the pill. If it has not swallowed it and you think it’s safe, put a finger in the cats’ mouth carefully and try pushing the pill more deeply into mouth. Otherwise, let it spit it out and repeat the process.
You may need to have a syringe (without the needle) with water next to you to spray some water into the cat’s mouth. This will help ingest and facilitate the course of the pill through the esophagus to the stomach. Some drugs tend to stick temporarily to the esophagus and may cause irritation, depending on their chemical composition.
Second immobilization technique: Using a towel or blanket
This technique can be achieved by wrapping the cat first with a blanket or towel. By hooking your back to a fixed point (e.g. a wall), put the well-wrapped cat between your legs and perform the pill delivery procedure as described above.
Giving a cat a pill
Despite the above instructions, there are some cats who will not take the pill. In this case, you should discuss with your veterinarian about alternative forms of treatment. For example he could take the drug through form of injection, paste, syrup, or using a pet piller, etc.
A key factor in achieving any of the above techniques is the psychology of the person who performs it. It should be determined and calm, as anxiety or bad psychology usually has bad results.