Giving Your Cat Medication

See more content in:

Administering medication to your cat can be an intimidating task, but with some patience and proper instruction you can master it. Here are a few tips and tricks that can help you and your cat:

  1. Ask your veterinarian for a demonstration of how to give your cat the medication.
  2. Do your best to remain calm. Your cat can pick-up on your stress, so take a deep breath and move slowly and confidently.
  3. Be prepared! Make sure you have the medication and any dropper ready and within arm’s reach.
  4. Tip your cat’s head back so her nose is straight up.
  5. If you are giving your cat a pill, make sure you place it back far on your cat’s tongue. It is easier for her to swallow and she is less likely to spit it out.
  6. Gently massage your cat’s throat to help her swallow the pill.

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine’s videos provide step-by-step instructions for administering both liquid and pill form medication.

Please Remember

  • It is important to ask your veterinarian for help. They can show you how to safely give your cat a pill.
  • Avoid forcing your cat to accept the medication. Also, do not forcibly remove your cat from a hiding place or interrupt eating, grooming, or elimination for purposes of administering medication.
  • Give your cat positive reinforcement (i.e., treats, brushing, and petting) for accepting medication. Favorite rewards for cats include delicious treats, catnip, interactive play, and petting or grooming. It is important to remember that the reward must be desirable to your cat, and that preferred treats may vary between cats.
  • Unless your veterinarian says that medication must be administered with food, do not use food as an aid to giving medications. It may cause aversion and reduce your cat’s food intake.
  • If you are having difficulty coping with this responsibility, ask your veterinarian for advice. He or she can also recommend resources to help you administer the medication.