How To Administer Medications To Your Cat

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio
Have you ever tried to give a cat medicine? Here’s how to do it safely and effectively.

No one ever said that giving a cat medication would be easy, but with the right tricks up your sleeve, you can get the job done quickly and correctly so that your kitty can be on the road to better health in no time.

When Not to Give Your Cat Medication

You should only ever medicate your cat when he is fully conscious. A pet should not be given medicine when he is lying down, vomiting, experiencing difficulty breathing, behaving aggressively, or having a seizure. Also, you should never give your cat any medications that have not been prescribed by your veterinarian.

Capsules and Pills

Your vet may have prescribed a pill or capsule for your cat to take for an acute or chronic condition. If you really do not want to go through the trouble of getting the pill directly into your cat’s mouth, you can attempt hiding it in your pet’s food, making sure the pill is not spit back out and that it is, indeed, swallowed as your cat eats. However, never put a pill into your cat’s food if he is experiencing diarrhea or vomiting.

Related: A Short Guide To Common Parasites In Cats

Commercial pill guns are also available. These are basic plastic tubes that hold the pill so that you can get it into the back of your cat’s mouth without having to use your hands.

If, however, you need to take a more traditional approach to giving your cat his pill, start by holding your kitty’s upper jaw and pointing it towards the ceiling with one hand. The lower jaw should automatically begin to drop open. Use your other hand to then pull down gently on the front portion of the lower jaw. Take the pill and place it in the center of the back of the tongue. Get it as far back onto the tongue as you safely can. Once the pill is in the right spot, close the mouth and hold it closed until your cat swallows or until he licks his nose. You may need to rub the throat gently or even blow on his nose gently in order to stimulate your cat to swallow.

Liquid Medications

Liquids are sometimes easier to administer than pills. Your vet will probably supply you with an eyedropper or baby dosing syringe so that you can measure out the medication appropriately.

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To start, put the end of the syringe or eyedropper on the side of your pet’s mouth. Look for the spot just behind the canines so that you can point the medicine at the area of the mouth where the teeth are flat and short. Position the eyedropper or syringe above the lower teeth to prevent your kitty from spitting out most of the medicine. Then start pushing the liquid into your cat’s mouth slowly, allowing him to swallow as the medicine is administered.

Eye Medication

To administer eye medications, avoid poking the tube of medicine into your cat’s eye by resting the side of your hand on the bone above the cat’s upper eyelid. Tilt your pet’s head backwards just a bit with the palm of the other hand, which should be placed under your cat’s chin so that the head is supported. Using the hand that is holding the chin, pull the upper eyelid up gently. Place the drops or eye ointment into the eye while being certain you don’t touch the tip of the dispenser to the eye.

Ear Medication

To give your kitty ear medications, you should stand on the side of the ear you will be medicating. You can also stand behind your cat if this is more comfortable. Look for the middle of the opening of the ear and place the ointment or drops there. Then massage the base of the ear to get the medicine to drop deeper into the ear.

Medicating a cat can be really tough at first. Over time and with practice, you’ll establish the technique that works best for you and your pet.

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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