Pilling Your Cat

Pilling Your Cat
Administering medications to your cat can be difficult. With a bit of education you should be able to do it.

Most medications can be given with a small amount of food. If unsure about the medication you are giving, check with your veterinarian. Find a canned food that your cat really likes. Ball the pill in a small amount of food and offer it as a treat before feeding your cat it's regular meal. If you are lucky, your cat will eat the small ball of food with the pill in it.

These instructions are to be used in conjunction with the directions given by your veterinarian. Administering medications to your pet can lead to serious bite wounds and scratches. If unsure of your pet, have someone at the clinic demonstrate these medication techniques. Medicating your pet at home is done at your own risk.

The cat will want to back away from the pill so hold him in the crook of your right elbow so that he has no where to go. The pill is held in your left hand.

1. With your right hand, take the cat by the cheeks and lift his nose to the ceiling. His mouth will automatically drop slightly open.

2. Use a finger of your left hand to open his lower jaw wider. He has no strength in the lower jaw in this position and cannot bite. Place the pill as far back as possible into the mouth.

3. Let the cat's face go and watch for lip licking motions which usually indicates that the pill has been swallowed. Some cats are good at deception so it is a good idea to open the mouth after a moment to see if the pill has been swallowed. If possible, squirt a small amount of water into the cat's mouth to promote swallowing. This helps "nudge" the pill all the way into the stomach where it belongs. Some medicines lodge in the esophagus temporarily and can cause irritation there if the medicine's pH is in an "unfriendly" range.

Mistakes to avoid:

• Do not try to approach the cat from the front. He will back away from you and escape. Your body should be behind the cat, with you and your cat facing the same direction.

• Do not try to give the pill with the cat's head in a natural position. You will be bitten. You must hold the cat's head vertically in order to be successful.

Don't forget to check the cat's mouth before releasing him. Many cats know you are waiting to see the licking motions and will try to fool you. If the pill is still present in the mouth when you check, just reach a finger in and tip the pill further back on the tongue or allow the cat to spit the pill out and begin again.

Just like you, your pet is going to get sick needing pet care. You'll likely come home from the veterinarian's with some medication to administer for pet health.

Step 1

Place the pill between the thumb and index finger of one hand. Hold the top of the pet's head and grasp the cheekbones with the thumb and index finger of the other hand.

Step 2

Tilt the head back until the pet's eyes are facing upward. Usually your pet's jaw will drop open on its own. If not, apply a little pressure on the lower jaw with your middle finger. Bring the pill to the mouth.

Step 3

Keep your middle finger over the small incisor teeth to keep jaw open. Deposit the pill as far back on the tongue as possible. Immediately close the mouth.

Step 4

Gently stroke the throat or blow on the nose to encourage swallowing. Work fast to avoid being bitten.

Liquids & Syrups

Before starting Read the label for the proper dosage and, if instructed, shake the contents of the bottle. Fill a syringe or dropper with the medication.

Step 1

Hold the top of the head and grasp the cheekbones with the thumb and index finger of the one hand while holding the syringe or dropper with the other hand.

Step 2

Gently squirt the medication into the pouch between the teeth and cheek with the dropper or syringe.

Helpful Hints

Always read the label instructions carefully. Ask your veterinarian if the medication can be given with food or must be given on an empty stomach. Place your pet on a table with a non- slip surface. When administering medication stay calm - your pet can sense if you are nervous making it more difficult to apply the treatment. Always praise and reward your pet with a treat.

Pilling Devices

Should you wish, you can use a pilling device to avoid placing your fingers into your pet's mouth. It is a plastic tube resembling a syringe used to deposit the pill.

Place the pill at the end of the device. Hold the device like a syringe between your index and middle fingers, using your thumb to push the plunger. Tilt your pet's head back until his eyes are facing upward. Usually the cat's jaw will drop open on its own. If not, apply a little pressure on the lower jaw with your middle finger. Place the device over the base of the tongue. Push the plunger to deposit the pill as far back on the tongue as possible.

Cats are among the hardest house pets to give medication to. Any person alive who has ever tried this will bear the scars and many tales from their ordeal. Face it, it's cats nature to do nothing it does not want to do, especially choking down something that does not resemble a fish.

But it is an ordeal most cats (and owners) must endure at some point in their life.

There are a couple of ways this might be accomplished without "war gear" for cat owners. First, attempt giving the pill to cats by crushing the pill, provided the pill can be taken as a powder, (ask your vet, as some pills are time released and should not be crushed).

Put powered pill into a small amount of the cats favorite wet food, such as tuna. This may work for awhile until kitty figures it out. Another method is to cradle the cat like a baby, put the pill in its mouth and gently keep mouth closed by wrapping fingers completely around the cats lower jaw and behind the nose. While doing this, gently blow at a distance of about 8 inches towards the cats nose. Be very gentle.

You can also try stroking the underside of the cats neck with the free hand while blowing, stroking towards the stomach. This should cause the cat to swallow. You may have to do this for several minutes before the cat will really swallow.

If neither of these ways work, the only other resort is to force the pill down the cats throat. This is a last result and you may even get some teeth marks on your fingers. The best way to perform this with minimal damage to you and the cat is to securely hold the cat by using a second person or pin cats body with your upper arm and elbow firmly against your chest.

You could also try lying the cat on its back on your lap and immobilizing with arm and sides of your legs. With that hand, open the cats mouth and with a fluid motion place the pill in its mouth using you free hands index finger and thumb. Slide your finger towards the farthest side of the mouth (where no teeth are present) and push the pill into the throat opening as far back as your finger can go. Withdraw you finger and clamp mouth shut like above, blowing towards nose and gently stroke the underside of the neck.

If done correctly and fast enough you will receive no wounds, as there are no teeth at the rear of the mouth. Make sure to praise the cat and give a kitty treat, like a little of its favorite food. This helps make it easier for the next dose.

If medication is a jell type, simply wipe on the front upper paws, and kitty will lick it off.

Don't put too much on at once as kitty will try and shake it off first.