Sure, giving a pill to your dog can be a bit of a challenge, but it's nothing compared to trying to give a pill to a cat. Face it – when your cat decides that it doesn't want to do something, it becomes a furry ball of teeth and claws, and it can be pretty difficult to get anything done without ending up with a bunch of wounds in the process. However, if your cat is ill and your veterinarian prescribes medicine, you need to find a way to do what's in your cat's best interests. Here are a couple of tricks that can help.
For Pills That Can Be Crushed
Not all pills can be crushed, and not all medicine can be taken with food. Only use this method if the veterinarian says that it's ok to crush the pill and give the medication with food.
Start by warming up some of your cat's favorite gravy. You don't need a lot; a tablespoon will be enough or more than enough in most cases. In a separate container, crush the pill into a powder. You can use a mortar and pestle for this if you have one; if not, you can pick up a cheap pill grinder from the drugstore. Mix the powdered pill with the gravy, and suck the mixture up with a needle-less syringe. Hold the syringe over your cat's nose, and release a drop or two so it can smell the gravy. That should be enough to have the cat licking at the syringe, and you can simply depress the plunger slowly until all of the gravy is gone.
Don't make the mistake of simply crushing the pill and adding the powder to your cat's food. If they don't eat everything, you'll have no way of knowing how much medicine they got. The syringe method allows you to give your cat the exact amount they need without a fuss.
For Pills That Can't Be Crushed
Serving pills with gravy may actually please your cat – as far as your cat is concerned, it got a nice little treat. For time-release capsules that must be swallowed whole, or for medicine that can't be served with food, you're going to have to make your cat unhappy. There are few cats that will willingly swallow a pill whole and without any food to hide it in. The best you can do in that situation is take steps to protect yourself from feline wrath.
The simplest way to avoid getting scratched is to wrap your cat in a large towel before trying to administer the medicine. If you've ever swaddled a baby, you'll recognize the wrap that works best for cats in this situation. Just place your cat on top of the towel, and wrap the sides around the cat tightly, tucking its paws in snugly and leaving its head accessible. Once your cat is firmly wrapped up, grab the top of its head with one hand, tilt its head backward, which should cause the cat's lower jaw to drop, and place the pill in its mouth with your other hand.
Be sure to place the pill as far back in your cat's mouth as possible and close its mouth quickly, or they may just spit the pill out. If you blow on the cat's nose, it will help encourage your cat to swallow. Make sure to follow up the pill with a drink of water.
If you're unable to get your cat to take a prescribed pill, talk to a place like Foothills Animal Hospital. An animal hospital can give you a demonstration in the office. Once you see the proper technique, you may be more easily able to imitate it at home.