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How to give your cat a pill

Make sure that you:

Have everything you need prepared and ready in advance.

Have enough time and a clear plan of what you will do.

Be gentle with your cat, keep calm, and avoid putting yourself at risk.

If your cat will not take the tablet with food, you will need to give the tablet by hand. Gentle, safe restraint of your cat is important, and it helps a lot to have two people – one person to give the tablet and one to hold your cat. See ‘How to restrain your cat with your hands’ and ‘How to restrain your cat with a towel’.

Giving the tablet:

Having gently restrained your cat using one of the techniques mentioned above, you can now administer the tablet. Again, this is much easier with two people – one holding your cat and one giving the tablet. Make sure you have everything ready before you restrain your cat. Try to do this quickly but calmly, so that your cat does not get upset.

The person giving the tablet holds the tablet between the thumb and forefinger of one hand.

Place the other hand on the top of your cat’s head (it is best to approach your cat from the side rather than from above as this is less threatening).

The head is held gently but firmly between the thumb and fingers, with your thumb and forefinger extending downwards to either side of the jaw at the corner of the mouth.

Gently tilt the head upwards, and use the middle finger of the hand holding the tablet to pull the lower jaw down and open the mouth.

Keep the head tilted up and quickly place or drop the tablet as far back on your cat’s tongue as you can. Aim for the centre of the tongue as far back as you can see – the further back the tablet goes the harder it is for your cat to do anything other than swallow it.

Hold the jaw closed for a few seconds and wait for your cat to swallow.

Gently rubbing the throat under the chin may help. If your cat licks his lips or nose, you know he has swallowed. To help your cat swallow, you can wash down with water dribbled into the mouth from a syringe.

Sometimes your cat may not swallow the tablet on the first attempt and may spit it out. So long as your cat does not become distressed, you can try repeating the procedure. Always try to get the tablet as far back on the tongue as possible.


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