Cat Health & WellnessCats

How to safely give your cat medication

Cats are notoriously difficult to take medicine. Ask your veterinarian! If your sick cat coughs or vomits after taking the medicine, there are good reasons to stop trying to take the medicine with the method you are using. The most common way to administer drugs that can cause problems is dry pills. If you’ve ever tried swallowing dry aspirin without liquid, you’ll realize how uncomfortable the experience can be.

Dry pilling can be dangerous for cats

Dry pilling without a water “chaser” can cause the pill to get stuck in the cat’s esophagus, which is the tube that runs from the mouth to the stomach.If you’re going to dry the pill, you’ll want to use the “liquid” chaser discussed below. The reason is that both tablets and capsules can “get stuck”. Even though we consider the capsules to have a smooth, gel-like surface, they can easily enter the esophagus if dry pilling is used. If a person repeatedly dries the pills, multiple capsules or tablets can get stuck in the cat’s throat.

How to give your cat a liquid chaser

One way veterinarians advocate to prevent dry pilling problems is to follow dry pilling with 6 ml of water through a needleless syringe or dropper. It may seem impossible to force a cat to drink water, but it can help. Use a syringe to pill the liquid.Use a pet syringe from your veterinarian’s office and fill it with plain water or low-sodium broth. The water chaser should be given immediately after dry pilling. Dr. Lisa Pierson, a veterinarian at, recommends approaching your cat from the back or side with a syringe to give fluids more easily, rather than forcing the syringe into the front of the mouth. Keep your cat’s head level, not tilted back, to facilitate swallowing. When applying the liquid chaser after dry pilling, be careful not to apply the liquid quickly, giving your cat time to swallow.

Use food to avoid dry pilling

Fortunately, there are more tricks you can use to prevent problems when giving your cat oral medication. You may be able to treat your cat with food and treats.

  • Hide pills in pill bags or other pill-masking products.You can buy medicine bags or make your own. Pre-pill bags are soft, cone-shaped treats with a hole in the center where you can place your pills.
  • Offer a favorite snack from time to time, pill-free, to encourage future pilling collaborations. It also helps get the pill into the stomach quickly so it can work.
  • Give your cat a small portion of canned food before pilling. Then, give your cat a pill and feed it after it has swallowed it. It will help the pill fall smoothly.

Mixing medicines to avoid pills

If all else fails, seek help from your veterinarian to administer medication to your cat in a different form.Although the cost may be a little higher, the result may be a more palatable medication for your cat.

  • Some pharmacies will mix the medication into flavored liquid doses. It’s easier to swallow and tastier than pills.
  • Compounding pharmacies can also make certain medications into a gel or ointment that you apply to your cat’s inner ear.

At least one of these solutions should reduce your and your cat’s anxiety and discomfort while dry pilling. This will help ensure that the drug reaches the intestines for absorption, rather than getting stuck in the cat’s throat.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your veterinarian right away. For health-related questions, be sure to consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know your pet’s health history, and can provide the best advice for your pet.

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