Sunday, March 8, 2015

How To Pill A Cat

Here are some of my pointers on how to pill a cat.

It is very important to always handle your cat in a calm manner. Never get upset and try to minimize stress. If you are calm, gentle and persistent you can easily master this important pet health task.

Here is how I hold cats..

Surround the cat with your body. I sort of tuck them in under me and hold them close while petting and speaking calmly to them. Ideally you want them to remain calm and relaxed for the entire task, start to finish. This will make pill number 2 far easier,, and pill number 23 actually possible. It might take a few minutes to get them used to being restrained but stick with it and don't get upset if it takes a few attempts to convince them that you aren't going to hurt them.

I lay my right arm from elbow to hand along the cats spine. This allows you to place gentle pressure on their body therefore keeping them from trying to roll or flop over.

Safe cat handling involves controlling the head, so they can't bite you, and controlling the feet so they cannot scratch.

I then grasp under the eyes with my thumb and middle finger. Now I am controlling the face.

Gently bend your wrist so that the head goes towards the ceiling. As you do maintain pressure on their body with the rest of your arm. As the cats head goes to the ceiling their bottom jaw will open slightly.

With your other hand place very gentle pressure on the mandible pushing down. Do not put your fingers in the mouth. You will get bitten..

Then drop the pill down the center of the mouth. A quick lick or sticking out of the tongue indicates it has been swallowed.

After you get the pill in a quick cuddle and pet makes it all seem like it wasn't so stressful after all.

The best way to coerce your cat into doing anything is to let them feel like they were not forced or restrained and make into into a fun bit of play and snuggling so that they don't put up as much of a fuss the next time.

If you are really struggling ask your vet to give you some pointers, or ask the vet tech to show you in person. They are a wonderful source of help and information.

If by chance the pill gets spit back out give your cat a few minutes of time out and try again.

Pill pockets are also a helpful trick. But try to use one hand for the pill and the other for the pill pocket so that they don't smell pill residue on the pill pocket.

For pet questions please find me on It is free and open to all pet lovers.


  1. With years of experience pilling cats with chronic diseases such as epilepsy which requires pills twice a day for life as well as pilling feral cats, I have found another approach that works as well, I think. The first step as you note is to make pilling fun, not an ordeal. I start by running around crying out "who wants a pill?"

    In most cases, I prefer having the cat sit on my lap. At that point, on the basis that Curiosity Pills the Cat, I show them the pill and let them smell it. Every cat takes an interest in what I am holding in my fingers.

    I then scruff them, tilt their head back and gently press on their mouth with my pill fingers. I can't think of any cat that won't open their mouth when you do this.

    At that point, I toss the pill as far back as possible and then give them a big kiss on the nose to get them to swallow the pill. I then spend a little time petting them, even when I have a dozen or more cats to pill, to turn the session into fun so that I don't have a fight when it is time for the next pill.

    1. Hello Edward!
      Mighty wonderful advice! I would like to see that on please leave a hidden cat cam running and forward me the
      I agree making it fun, and even better than that, making it a game that they want to be a part of is the key to coraling, coaxing, and canoodling!
      Thanks for reading and passing along your tricks of the trade.