Top 5 Ways to Give a Cat Pills Without Getting Bit or Scratched

Cats are beautiful creatures. They enjoy playing, cuddling, and purring. Unfortunately, despite their tough exterior, cats get sick or become infected with parasites and require medication to recover.  Giving your cat oral medicines is one of the most difficult things you’ll face as a cat owner.   There are numerous drugs that must be given to a cat, ranging from deworming tablets to antibiotics. Some are in powder form, such as the Premo Probiotics for Cats. Unfortunately, many cats are excellent at spitting out medications or refuse to consume them at all.

From simple to tough, here are some suggestions for giving your cat a pill with the least amount of stress to the cat—and to you.

1. Hiding in the food

Hiding a pill in food that the cat eats can make this task much easier. Canned cat food, strained meat (human) baby food, tuna or other canned fish, plain yogurt, cream cheese, or butter are some suggestions for hiding pills in food. Butter is useful because it coats the tablet and makes it easier to take. Warm and appetizing treats, such as chicken and wet cat chow, are most effective.

Put a small amount of the meal into the cat’s mouth so you can see when the tablet has passed down the throat (meaning the cat swallowed it). Some drugs are made specifically for cats, and the tablets are small enough to be hidden in food. Make sure the cat is hungry by withholding food for a few hours before administering the medication.

2. Mixing with the food

How to make biologically-appropriate cat food

Some cats may consume a ground-up tablet or the contents of a capsule placed in canned cat food or a food treat. If you want to try mixing it up in your cat’s food, you’ll need to ask your vet if it’s okay to crush the pill. However, because many cats reject food with medication (and certain medications are bitter-tasting), it is critical that you monitor your cat’s reaction. Place the prescription in a tiny amount of food and make sure your cat finishes it before giving him more.

If the cat refuses to take the hidden tablet, you can try crushing it into powder. However, you should check with your veterinarian to see if the tablets can be crushed. Some drugs must be taken whole in order to be effective.

If the medication can be pulverized, get a pill crusher from your veterinarian. Then: 

  • Get a modest bit of appetizing food that your cat will not be able to refuse. Something with a strong perfume is preferred to mask the smell of the pill.
  • Crush the tablet and incorporate it into the food.
  • Give your cat the dish.

Unfortunately, your cat may still reject the food. In this scenario, you can smear some of the food on her fur. When their coats become soiled, cats instinctively clean them thoroughly.

3. Pill Pocket

Pill pockets are just soft snacks with a hollow in the center where you may hide the pill. They must be small enough for the cat to consume before he discovers his medicine is hidden within, and they must be a flavor he enjoys. You can make your own pill pockets out of canned cat chow, cheese, salmon or tuna, or whatever other squishy food your cat prefers. Pill pockets are delectable sweets with a cavity in which you may insert a pill (much like jam in a donut). The ultra-tasty outer pocket masks the flavor of the tablet, which the cat joyfully eats. 

So, here’s how to make a pill pocket:

  • Insert the drug into the treat and pinch it shut.
  • To capture your cat’s attention, give her a pill-free treat, then throw her the pill treat and make sure she consumes it without spitting.
  • Continue to feed her goodies and give her water.

These pill pockets come in a variety of flavors to suit your cat’s preferences. You might also wrap the tablet in chicken meat and give it to the cat.

4. Pill Popper

You can use cheap and simple pill guns for cats who are mouth-sensitive or who are not tricked by treats. Pill guns, often known as pillers or pill poppers, perform wonders on obstinate cats.

This useful instrument is essentially a syringe with a tulip-cut end (ladies, a bit like a plastic tampon applicator but with a solid plunger in it). You load the pill gun with the cat’s medication, insert the pill gun into the cat’s mouth, and depress the plunger to release the tablet or capsule. This can be highly beneficial for a challenging cat.

5. Giving by hand

orange cat

Here’s a step-by-step instruction to giving your cat medication by hand.

  1. Approach the task carefully, seeking to reduce tension in your cat. If you’ve never given a pill before, it’s a good idea to have a vet or vet nurse show you how to securely administer oral medication. Do not place yourself at risk of being bitten, and keep an eye out for signals that your cat is becoming angry or unhappy.
  2. Place your cat on a level, sturdy surface, such as a tabletop or the floor. To keep them from slipping, place a towel on the floor.
  3. Giving the pill from behind or close to your cat will be easier. Avoid surprising your cat, since this will frighten them and may result in a defensive scratch or nip.
  4. A second pair of hands can be quite useful, but it is not required. You want your cat to face away from you so that you may confine their legs or any other movement they might use to try to escape your hold. Holding them securely against your body may help prevent them from reversing.
  5. Take the pill in one hand and gently grasp the top of your cat’s head with your thumb and index fingers on either side of their mouth, tilting their head upwards. To open their mouth, use the other hand to gently open their lower jaw.
  6. Place the pill as far back as possible in the center of their tongue with your index finger.
  7. Close your cat’s jaws, stroke their neck gently for a few seconds, then return their head to its normal posture and wait for them to lick their lips as they swallow.
  8. If your cat will let you, inspect their mouth and the corner of their lips once you believe they have swallowed. If you can’t find the pill, you can be fairly certain that you’ve succeeded.
  9. If you see they haven’t swallowed it, softly stroke the back of their tongue, seal their mouth, and rub their throat again. To help them to swallow the tablet, squirt a small bit of water into their mouth, but not too much as this may cause them to choke. In certain circumstances, it’s best to let them totally spit everything out and restart the process.
  10. After your cat has consumed their medication, reward them with their favorite food and toys. This helps to create a good relationship between obtaining medication and having a treat, which can make the process easier in the future.


Keep in mind that some cats are extremely tough to pill, and it is never worth risking a finger for. If the at-home methods have failed, contact your veterinarian. They may also consider the possibility of a different medication kind that would be a better fit for your little feline.