Giving medication to your cat
If your cat is being treated for a disease or illness, you could be asked to continue his or her treatment by giving medication at home. There are basically five kinds of medication that you could be asked to give your cat at home:
- Pain medication
- Anti-nausea medications
- Medication to treat specific conditions (such as kidney disease or diabetes)
See our Glossary of Prescription Medications (coming soon). This will explain our color coding system for easily identifying the type of medication that being sent home for your kitty.
Read the directions on your medication carefully to determine
how your medication is to be given. Your veterinary nurse will
also go over this with you. Different medications are administered
- Orally, by mouth (pills, capsules and liquids)
- Topically, placed onto the skin
- Subcutaneously, under the skin
Orally, by mouth
The majority of medications for your cat are given this way. Each cat is different, however with practice it’s not difficult to get most cats to accept oral medication. One option is to place into kitty’s food, however it may be difficult to determine if your cat is getting the medication. It’s usually best to place the medication directly in kitty’s mouth.
Topically, placed onto the skin
Medications in cream or liquid form are placed onto the skin, usually right behind kitty’s shoulder blade. See your veterinarian for instructions.
Subcutaneously, under the skin
These medications are administered through syringe and require special instruction from your veterinarian.
“Pilling” your cat
Before you start:
- Assemble the pill (out and cut if necessary and a treat ready for afterwards.)
- Choose an elevated surface such as a table or countertop; or you can try your lap. Use the same spot each time since cats like routines.
Giving a pill:
- Hold your cat facing away from you, with your body acting as a brace. Avoid over-restraining.
- Talk in a slow, calming voice.
- Use your dominant hand to hold the pill between your thumb and forefinger and your other hand to hold the cat’s head on either side of his face.
- Gently tilt your cat’s head upward to loosen the lower jaw.
- Use the middle finger of your hand holding the pill to open the cat’s lower jaw so you can quickly poke the pill as far back into his/her mouth as you can. Quickly retrieve your fingers and close his/her mouth
- Massage your cat’s throat for a moment to encourage swallowing. You’ll know he/she has swallowed the pill when they lick their lips, meow, or hiss.
- Praise him/her lavishly and offer a yummy treat as a reward!