VCA Animal Hospitals

How can I make giving my cat medication easier?

Published: Oct 15, 2012

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As most feline lovers know, cats can be pretty finicky when it comes to what they will or won't eat. While this pickiness can usually be managed, it may become problematic when a veterinarian prescribes a medication for the animal and you are tasked with administering it.

Whether you have to give your cat a pill, a liquid medication or give him a shot, pet health experts say there are ways to make it easier on both of you.

For example, WebMD pet recommends wrapping your animal's body and legs in a towel or blanket before administering medicine.

"Wrapping your cat in a towel is a great way to protect yourself from claws," veterinarian and animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin explained on  "Towel-wrapping also prevents escapes, and helps calm down a cat."

If your cat has received a feline diabetes diagnosis, you may have to learn how to give him insulin shots at home. suggests establishing a routine for his daily injections to make the process go more smoothly.

First, pinch the injection site between the thumb and index finger. Then, give the shot quickly with smooth movements.

While giving your cat a shot may be difficult for you and the animal at first, remember that practice makes perfect. If you feel at all intimidated by it, it's important to speak to your vet and ask for help in learning the proper way to give an injection at home.

As for the best technique to get your pet to swallow medication, many vets recommend giving pills, capsules or tablets hidden in food. For instance, hiding it in a "meatball" of wet cat food or another treat may help your cat eat it.

If the medicine cannot be taken with food or if a finicky pet is successful in extracting it from the food, you'll have to find another way to get him to swallow it.

According to Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, you can give your cat a pill by tilting its head back while holding onto the top of it. Often times, the animal's bottom jaw will open when you do this. If not, you'll have to use your fingers to open the mouth.

The next step is to place the pill or tablet as far back in the animal's mouth as possible. This can be made easier by using a "pill popper" - a syringe-like device that helps get the medication into the back of the cat's mouth without putting your hand inside of it.

In order to get your cat to swallow the medicine, either stroke his neck or blow air onto his nose while holding his mouth closed.

The technique for giving a cat a liquid medication is similar. However, instead of placing the medicine in the back of the throat, you want to gently squeeze it, using a syringe or medicine dropper, into the pouch between his cheek and teeth. Again, you can help your pet swallow it by petting his neck or blowing at his nose.

Remember that you should never give your pet medication without checking with a vet about the proper dosage.

Individuals who have problems giving their cat medicine should speak with their veterinarian about ways to make the process easier.


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We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

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Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

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