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giving your pet the right medication

There may be times when your cat becomes ill and your vet sends you home with some medication to administer. 

Learning how to do this will make the process easier for both you and your cat. Always follow the instructions given by your veterinary surgeon and be sure to administer the full amount of medication over the number of days instructed. Below is a guide on how to give your cat medication, including tablets, pills, liquids and syrups.  

Tablets & Capsules

Step 1
Place the pill between the thumb and index finger one hand. Hold the top of your cat's head and grasp the cheekbones with the thumb and index finger of the other hand.
Step 2
Tilt the head back until your cat's eyes are facing upward. Usually your cat's jaw will drop open on its own. If not, apply a little pressure on the lower jaw with your middle finger. Bring the pill to your cat's mouth.
Step 3
Keep your middle finger over the small incisor teeth to keep their jaw open. Deposit the pill as far back on the tongue as possible and immediately close their mouth.
Step 4
Gently stroke their throat or blow on the nose to encourage swallowing.

Tip: Try wrapping a towel around your cat and holding them to prevent them resisting using their legs and claws!  

Liquids & Syrups

Always read the label for the proper dosage and if instructed, shake the contents of the bottle. Fill a syringe or dropper with the medication as required: Step 1 Hold the top of your cat's head and grasp their cheekbones with your thumb and index finger of one hand while holding the syringe or dropper with the other hand. Step 2 Gently squirt the medication into the pouch between their teeth and cheek with the dropper or syringe.

Pilling Devices

 Should you wish, you can use a pilling device to avoid placing your fingers into your cat's mouth. It is a plastic tube resembling a syringe used to deposit the pill. Follow these steps if you are using a pilling device;

  1. Place the pill at the end of the device.
  2. Hold the device like a syringe between your index and middle finger, using your thumb to push the plunger.
  3. Tilt your cat's head back until their eyes are facing upward. Usually their jaw will drop open on its own. If not, apply a little pressure to the lower jaw with your middle finger.
  4. Place the device over the base of their tongue. Push the plunger to deposit the pill as far back on their tongue as possible.

Helpful Hints

  • Always read the label instructions carefully
  • Ask your veterinary surgeon if the medication can be given with food or must be given on an empty stomach
  • Get a friend or family member to help if necessary
  • Medicate your cat on a table or non-slip surface
  • When administering medication stay calm, your pet can sense if you are nervous, making it more difficult to apply the treatment
  • Always praise and reward your pet with a treat

If you are having any issues administering medicine to your cat, contact your local Calder Vets branch.