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    Archive for the ‘Feline Treatment’ Category

    Tips on How to Pill Your Cat


    How To Give Your Cat A Pill - VetVid Episode 020How To Give Your Cat A Pill – VetVid Episode 020

    Learn how to give your cat a pill.


    How to Pill a Cat — and Survive!


    Pilling a cat can be like wrestling a gorilla. I have the scratches and scars to prove it.Pill Your Cat - Avoid the Cat 'Tatoos'!

    When it comes to giving a cat pills, many cat guardians shudder.  I did.  And I learned some things about how to give a cat a pill the hard way.

    No matter how docile your little furball might be, when it comes time to having medicine ‘willed’ upon you by your trusted guardian…for some, all bets are off!  No more Ms./Mr. Nice Kitty!

    It’s understandable.  If someone tried to shove pills down my throat…I’m not likely to take it seated either without a good explanation. That – we sadly cannot do for our little furball patients.  But then, as custodians of our little Furbabies, we know that it’s imperative. We know the consequences if we don’t put forth the Pilling your cat can seem like goriilla combat!sometimes difficult effort to assure our pets receive the medical help they need.  Our cats don’t see the ‘big picture’… they just know their independence and perhaps their self-image and dignity is being wrestled with.  And who likes the taste of most medications, what?….

    After we manage to get a pill down, or even liquid for that matter, some cats may throw it all back up. Usually, with some practice in getting it down, they learn to adjust their swallows and such and things improve. Getting to that point with some of our furry charges can, however, be a challenge.  With others, although they don’t like it much, they adjust rapidly, some even opening wide to receive their daily dosages …probably knowing its best to just get it over with.

    My aim is to help you avoid the Cat inflicted ‘ decoration’ which I never volunteered for but received generously nonetheless. Wink   I hope that my experiences can help relay some ideas about how to give a cat pills that will make the process easier for both you and your poor cat, which is the biggest ‘victim’, after all in the whole deal.



    Preparation for Pilling Your Cat

    First off, before you set out to give your cat a pill, you may want to get a large, thick towel or old, small blanket to wrap your cat in.  If this is the first time you or your cat has been involved in the pilling process, it is likely a good idea.  If you don’t know how your cat will react, it is a safer bet.

    Be sure to wrap the back paws as well as the front and swaddle your cat comfortably. No need to subject yourself to the ‘Cat-tatoos’ as illustrated above of which I am beneficiary.

         Click Me to Learn More!

    You might also decide to use an easier way to restrain your cat than holding the blanket or towel together and your cat and the cat pill.  I usually manage to master it each time I need to bundle up one of the feline residents for their treatments, but this little invention would make pilling a cat easier.   A ‘feline restraining bag ‘might be just what ‘the doctor’ ordered for your purposes!

    Whether you administer the cat pill with your fingers, a pill gun or pill pockets, your cat would be safe, more comfortable and calmer without the ‘wrestling match ‘that can ensue with restraining our feline patients for giving a cat pill or for feeding.  And your flesh would remain unscathed!  :-)



    SPECIAL TIP!    Clip your cat’s claws.

    Consider trimming your cat’s claws as well, if you haven’t been doing so. Front AND Back.  Those back ones can do you in too!

    ( It’s good to keep them shorter so that your cat doesn’t get caught in fabrics around the house …and You!

      If the cat’s nails get too long, it affects them walking, and the nails can even curve back into the pads!  It’s simple to learn, not as simple to do, depending on your cat, but I do it here regularly for all my little charges. 

    Have your vet show you how to clip your cat’s nails, or watch this video —


    How to Trim Your Cat's ClawsHow to Trim Your Cat’s Claws

    Veterinarian Dr. Christianne Schelling and Charlie the cat show you how to trim your cat’s claws. Visit for more information.


    The methods you use to pill your cat —  and your own demeanor —  can go a long way to helping your cat accept feline treatment, such as taking pills, in a far more positive manner.  You can perhaps avoid the ‘kitty combat’ that most of us think about and perhaps expect should we be charged with this important task.

    Keep a calm demeanor, but remain in charge – but gentle and supportive.  If your cat senses you’re uncomfortable or afraid of the process, it will be too, or perhaps become the dominant ‘personality’ and get more aggressive or evasive.Ready to pill your cat? Kitty "combat" can be avoided with the use of a big towel or blanket

    I’ve always taken the stance that I will not ‘trick’ my cats into anything.  The only time that might be considered would perhaps be a life and death situation where nothing else has worked and time is ticking.  Fortunately, that hasn’t manifested.  Tricking them with a bait and switch, such as making them think they are in for wonderful petting massage, food or play — and then grabbing them and shoving pills down will break their trust in you – and perhaps their spirit –  without further consideration.  That is not a good thing.


    Setting the Mood to Pill Your Cat

    A soft, loving sing-song tone can help calm your cat to make pilling more positive.Before I pill one of my cats for the first time of a treatment, I always talk to them softly, in a positive, sing-songy tone.  I simply tell them what needs to be done, and sometimes how I will proceed.  Anything in a tone to put the cat in a calmer mood.  If your cat responds well to music, put some soft tunes on in the background.  It may calm you as well for the first few times needed.

    I stroke or cuddle them a bit beforehand –or a lot, depending on what is needed, and then show them the syringe I use for water or liquid meds and / or the pills.  I usually let them sniff the syringe, unless it contains some bad-smelling meds, but not the pills, unless they happen to have a kitty-favored aroma, which isn’t usually the case. They have a far superior sense of smell to ours, so there’s no need to make things more difficult for you or for them.  A bad smell will just mean to them that it’s going to be a poopy procedure…so they may be ready for a ‘fight’.

    For a pill that isn’t in a capsule, sometimes coating it with a small bit of warm butter can help it go down, and mask the taste. Or, in a pinch, try a bit of olive oil.

    I gently tilt their head back and up and try to pop the pill into the mouth toward the back to go down quickly so they don’t taste it at all, or very little.  I ‘arm’ myself with a small syringe of room temperature water to help ease the pill down the throat.  It usually works well first time, but may take some practice.

    If your cat is wont to snap it’s mouth shut quickly, you may have to pop the pill in quickly in whatever way you can to avoid getting your fingers clamped down on.  In such a case, I put in the pill, gently hold the mouth shut, grab the syringe of water with the other, and then gently insert it into the front or side of the mouth and squeeze a bit of water in, while releasing the mouth.  This ‘flush’ of water – or unsalted chicken broth or pedialite – almost always does the trick.

    Give  your cat its pills in a small room or confined area where she can't get away from you.After the first time or two, after I get them into a room or an area where I can control any escape.  I simply pick them up, put them into position and then tell them in a positive tone that it’s time for their medication.  I stroke and talk softly to them, then pick up the syringe and show it to them, and then proceed.

    Here’s How…..

    Use Patience and a Soft Voice and Encouraging Tone

    I also always talk in a very encouraging, positive tone when giving medications to my sweet kitties.

    ‘Are you ready, honey?  Let’s get your meds down… Open wiiiiiiide’…in a motherly (fatherly) sing-song tone, as we would do with our kids.  That always seems to calm them down..sometimes after seeing me coming and trying to hide.  Again, most cats finally accept the process and tolerate it well.  But from time to time…when they might be having a bad day, there may be some balking.  Just take it in stride.

    They are, after all, facing a serious illness with the clock ticking. And sometimes feeling worse than others.  Just recoup, and try again.

    Always remain calm and pleasant or you will defeat the purpose and likely have to start from scratch to ‘condition’ them to the procedure.

    As mentioned I gently hold them with my thumb on one side of the face and my third finger on the other and slowly, gently tilt their head back and up. This usually relaxes the mouth to open.  You Pill Your Cat with a loving, soft and encouraging tone.may need to nudge their mouth open with your thumb on one side, but usually, if you put the pill to their mouth with your other hand and gently try to insert them, they often open for you.

      Hold the pill between your thumb and third fingers and use your index finger to softly tap their mouth or gently pry it open while holding their head with the other.  Practice makes perfect, so you’ll find what works for best for you and  your individual cat.

    After the pill is in, gently stroke their throat to help your cat swallow the pill, and you can also gently blow into the nostrils, which stimulates the swallowing reflex.  When you see them lick their lips with their tongue, the mission has been accomplished!


    Syringe Technique  Helps Pill Your Cat

    Load a small syringe with room temperature water and hold your cat’s head gently, put the point inside its mouth and gently shoot the water in.  I find it far better than trying to give the pill or capsule alone or even with a butter coating, for instance.

    Use a small food syringe to squirt in some water to help pill your cat.I try to squirt into the top or side of the mouth to avoid choking my cats, or causing a ‘drowning / aspiration effect’ if it should go down the wong way, which can cause further problems. We need to be very careful about pilling and feeding and syringing down anything to avoid this.  Just be sure to focus on what you are doing, try to secure your cat gently but effectively to keep it from fidgeting and turning its head.

    I stand ready to pat the chest, sides and abdomen if they should begin to wheeze or react.  It doesn’t always hit the the right spot and sometimes goes directly down the throat.  But the amount is a just a tsp to TBS or so, and usually works well without problems.

    If they end up coughing or wheezing, I always say ‘awwww..I’m sorry baby.’….in an apologetic way and pet them. They DO respond.  After they calm down and are ‘normal’ again, they usually allow me to try again without resistance, or at least too much, depending on the cat. I just tell them while petting them that we’re going to try again…and show them the syringe again, and stroke under their chin, and then gently open their mouth.

    Sometimes the pills go down fine without the aid of the ‘syringe-flush’.  But I give them water or fluid via syringe anyway to make sure.  And the extra little bit of fluids don’t hurt, unless of course you have been instructed by your veterinarian for some reason to Not do so.  Also keep fresh, clean water available to your cat at all times for her to drink on her own.As mentioned above, try Try



    Try crushing up the pill with the back of one spoon in the ‘bowl’ of another  spoon — or onto plate, or use a mortar and pestleCrush cat pills with a mortar & pestle or a spoon to ease pilling your cat  (some pills cannot be crushed easily) and mix it with a small bit of broth, Pedialite, tuna water or plain water, and load it into a syringe to squirt it in.  I’ve found this works wonders.
    (You can also put the pill directly into the syringe and let it dissolve…but for most pills I’ve given, this takes a long time.)




    –  SOME medications should NOT be crushed, such as those that are designed to be time released!
    –  BE SURE to ASK YOUR VET if the pills for your cat can be crushed to administer


    Mix the Pill in Some Cat Food

    Mixing the pill in some food is also a possibility.  However, I usually avoid this, unless it is syringed in with their meals, since the cats have trouble eating to begin with.  If they smell or taste crushed meds in their meal, they aren’t likely to eat it.  Also, they can throw it all up, which wastes the food and the meds as well as creating a kind of set back in getting your cat to eat.  For this reason, I also am very careful about if or when I mix any feline treatment meds in food that I feed via syringe as well.


    I prefer to wait an hour or two to make sure the meal stays down and then give my cats their meds.  I crush the pills when possible and sometimes mix them in a bit of food and/or flavored broth to mask the taste and help make the dose more pleasant.

    Troubleshooting – Additional Tips  –

    How  to  Give Your Cat a Pill


    If you have trouble giving the meds, consult your veterinarian for some suggestions and advice, and possibly get a pill-gun or dispenser. I haven’t had success with them, finding that I would need two people anyway even using that.  One to hold the cat and one to jockey it into position to get the pill in.

    Since I need to hold them by myself, the angle of using the pill gun just doesn’t work for me. Especially when my cats wriggle and move their head around. Others swear by them, however.  And my vet uses them without fail.  So they may just be what you need to help!

    Basically, you hold the pill gun in your fist, put the pill on the end of the pill gun and insert the device into the mouth and maneuver it to the back of the mouth.  Push the button with your thumb to release the pill onto the back of your cat’s tongue.


    Pet  pill  dispenser for cats (or pill ‘gun’ ) can be purchased fairly cheaply from your vet or at pet stores and online to help you pill your cat.



     *Alternatively,  if you aren’t having luck for now..and need to get meds down, or you’re just not able to pill your cat after some time, ask your vet if a liquid form might be available. The downside of this pilling method, is that some cats will froth the liquid out. Especially if it has a bitter taste, one of their self-preservation techniques.

    Or inquire whether the medication can be compounded locally with a cat-favored flavor like fish or liver.


    * Pill pockets are available to hide the pills inside.  They are supposedly tasty morsels that mask the pills and make your cat think they are a treat.  I’ve not used them, but one one friend reports good success with some cat pills with her little furball.  I think mine would smell them out and waste both the pill pockets and the cat medication…. :-)  I tried hiding a pill in a piece of meat one time, and the morsel was eaten, but the pill subsequently was spit out.


    * Certain medications may also be injectable.  the latter options may be more costly, however, and injection usually means you need to take your cat back to the vet’s office regularly.

    * Another option now more readily available is a transdermal gel.  This cat medication is applied to the inside of the ear.  I’ve not tried any, so I don’t know how costly it might be, but I suspect it is more expensive than the pills.  Also, not every cat medication is available in this form.  Some questions that come to my mind on this are whether there are any side effects to be concerned about or if the gel form of cat meds is as effective as pills.



    If  You have used transdermal gels for feline treatment of cat kidney disease or any other feline illness, please comment here and share with us your experience and results!


    Battle Scarred?  Try Not to Give Up Learning to Pill Your cat!

    Feeling whipped?  Keep practicing how to pill your cat with one of these techniques.Keep practicing!  If one method hasn’t been working, try another tactic to pill your cat..  Watch the video again.  Ask your vet questions.

    Ask if the vet tech can help you try to pill your cat while you’re in the office, so they can guide you.

    Most cats will be pillable.  Some may never be possible to pill, depending on their emotional makeup and previous life experiences.  Here, fortunately, I’ve never had a problem giving the needed meds.  Some  do take more time  (and patience..and sometimes ‘battle scars’… :-)  )  than others to condition to the process.  It’s just part of our special care for our feline family.

    I think the major thing is gaining the confidence yourself, and that will carry over to your cat feeling more comfortable because you are.

    Don’t give up if you’ve been scratched or bitten at first if you can. Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t able to get a pill down…or if your cat won’t cooperate.  Not all will.  Not at first, maybe not the first few times…maybe some for many times…maybe never.

    Wait a bit if you aren’t getting results, especially if your cat is getting upset. Stress can do worse things, so if your cat is really uncooperative, complaining, breathing heavier…etc…. stop for a bit.  Let things calm down. Stroke and pet your cat and talk to it.

    Yes, it all may take some time the first time…or the first many times.  But persistence will usually pay off.  Don’t let your cat run off…hold it gently – but firmly and tell it matter- of- factly to open wide..take your pill — in a gentle but confident voice.  Don’t let them know you are afraid or hesitant.  They will feel it and likely get more nervous…or take advantage of it and take charge.

    Stop, think it through, utilize other props like towels, get the help of another person, or try a figure 8 harness that secures them to free up both your hands….  Obtain a cat restraint bag if you think that will make it easier for you.  Observe your cat …be a bit creative…don’t give in to your fears – and unless you have one of the few just un-pillable cats…you’ll find your ‘groove’.  You will likely succeed if you want to and put your mind to it.  Love for our  little cat cuddles helps us conquer many things we thought we couldn’t.


    Find Another Person to Help to Pill Your Cat – or Try This

    I hold my cats between my legs – with their head facing forward…away from me… or up against my side.  Then I stroke under their chin gently while talking softly and letting them know we are ‘taking meds mode’ and proceed as cited above. I never try to trick them by letting them think we are going to play,  eat,  cuddle or some such.

    With practice you will find the best method to pill your cat safely.I may give them a pill at a different time slightly than they normally receive them if there has been a problem doing so. Cats catch on quickly, can time when you have been regularly giving them their pills and meds, and disappear!

    If this occurs, I walk up to them in a different manner with the meds behind my back so they can’t see them and get upset if this is the case.  Perhaps this is a type of deception, but I think it is rather thinking ahead and knowing your cat and arranging for less wear and tear on the both of you.

    After making sure they are in a secure area where I can administer to them without their escape, they are always informed before I  proceed to pill that it is time to take medication. So they are never ‘lied to’, grabbed and pilled. It is no ‘bait and switch’. It destroys trust between you and makes thing harder for you both.  And it can cause undue stress for your cat that can have significant negative ramifications. I have witnessed a cat that went into a heart attack from having its nails clipped.  So stress is never good, especially when ill.


    Homeopathic Home Remedies May Help in Pilling Your Cat

    One other thing that may help your little kitty, is to try some Bach Rescue Remedy, a homeopathic remedy, safe to use for many issues. It can be used to calm your cat when ill, under stress and has been used to ease the transition from life to death as well.

    I use a non-aerosol spray and apply a squirt or two to the top of the ears about 20 to 30 minutes before I am ready to pill or do something that may be stressful for my cats. (Don’t touch homepathic tinctures or pills!  You don’t want to absorb them or alter their effectiveness.)

    Homeopathic tinctures such as Bach Flower Essences can hep calm your cat and soothe other symptoms of feline renal disease.I also use this Bach Flower Essence to calm cats that are stressed by others in their environs.  It has been used to calm pets that are afraid of thunderstorms or feeling ill and in discomfort or irritable, as well as to calm them for the trip to the vet. Most folks I’ve chatted with that use the flower essences find them helpful.  This homeopathic feline treatment can be obtained in liquid form as well,  to be given as drops, which I also use.

    I suggest you apply the tincture or spray several minutes in advance of a known stressful event…or when using to calm from sudden fears or distress. Give this natural home remedy time to work.  The effect isn’t likely to be immediate, and, in fact, it seems that repeated use may be needed for certain issues.

    Watch for an overall relaxed or calmed demeanor over a few days after you apply daily, if it doesn’t seem to be helping the same day. Each animal is individual in its emotional makeup and metabolism, so differences in results are to be expected.

    Just apply a few drops on the ears or in the mouth.  I find it easier to use atop the ears,  since the cats already will be stressed soon enough to have their meds administered orally.  There are various types of Bach flower essences that can be used for a variety of conditions.  Should you try this stress relief feline treatment option, be sure to get the “Pet Formula” for either choice. Iit contains no alcohol, an ingredient that does not benefit your cat or pet.

         Get the ‘pet formula’
    for  either choice of
    homeopathic remedy.

       It has NO alcohol,

       an ingredient that

       does not benefit

          your cat!

    Your Cat Can Be a ‘Magician’ – Be Sure the Medicine has Gone Down

    Watch to see that your cat hasn't ejected their pill!Another thing cats are wont to do…and are quite adept with those delicate little tongues, is to hold the pills somewhere in their mouth, and when you’re done (and usually turned away not to see)…they spit them out.


    They even look like they’ve swallowed them, creative little creatures that they are…. So if I am treating a cat that has a penchant for such deception, after stroking its throat gently to help the medicine go down, I check in the mouth to see that it actually has been done. Sometimes blowing gently into the nostrils helps initiate a swallowing response as well.

    I’ve found that even with the syringe flush, they are sometimes able to ‘hide’ pills and eject them at first chance.  Little buggers.  :-)

    There have been more than a few instances of searching for ejected tablets and split pill pieces in the treatment area!  :-)  Can’t blame them…I sure wouldn’t enjoy the process either, but it is a necessity, and the cats usually get the hang of it fairly quickly when they realize it is going to be ongoing.

    Also, the repeated attempts shows them they can’t get away with it, so they make a logical conclusion to accept the routine.

    You need to be gentle, but in charge, since you can see the necessity and consequences if you don’t.  They just see the irritative, un-fun unhappy cat‘mishandling’ you are subjecting them to for some unknown reason.  One can imagine they huff and puff in their kitty minds, pondering the ‘weird things’  we humans do to annoy them for some reason.  After all…‘I’m purrr-fect and give all my Love.  What have I done to deserve this ‘man-handling’, huh?!

    Successful Pilling of Your Cat – Salve for the Heart and Soul

    Successful feline treatment soothes heart and soul.The reward to you both for learning to pill your cat all is the recovery of your sweet little urchin,  or in the case of Feline Renal Failure, improvement of their condition and the ability to enjoy more opportunities to give and receive the special affection you both have enjoyed for so long.

    There’s nothing better than seeing your special little sweetheart feeling better and eating again.  It helps heal the heart …maybe not any scratches you’ve gotten in getting here…but the soul benefits as well as your little LuvBug.

    Handsome Hanz - our gorgeous green-eyed, gentle Tabby. Hanz was difficult to pill in his younger years..

    May you savor many more wonderful days with your sweet furball.  Scar-Free.  From my luvbugs and myself  to you and yours…


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