How To Administer Medication to Your Cat

iStock_stpat1Giving or applying medications to a cat can be daunting. Here are some tips for giving certain types of medications to cats. Be sure to have your cat's veterinary staff to demonstrate how to use any new medication that is prescribed.

Applying Ear Medications to Cats

Avoid pinching the ears since they are very sensitive. It's best also to avoid pulling on the flap. The hairs surrounding the ear canal are very sensitive also, so try to avoid touching them. The cat will shake the ears if these hairs are brushed, which may make it harder for you to apply medication. Your kitty will shake his head after medication is instilled, so perform the procedure in a bathroom or kitchen so that if medication is shaken out, it does not land on your expensive custom Persian rug. You can learn more here: "Medicating Ears."

Oral Medications for Cats

Cats are notorious for not taking their pills. Some cats will take the pill to the back of the throat and then quietly go to the next room behind the comfy chair and spit it up. Others just might find a distant quiet corner of the home and hide out when treatment time approaches.

Here are a few tips that just might help you get a little cooperation during your cat's pill time:

Other Medication Routes for Cats

Here are a few tips for other medication types for cats:


Cats are so fastidious that topical treatments often end up being carefully groomed out of the coat. Don’t count on wound powders, creams, or lotions to stay there for long. If bandages have been applied at the hospital or topical treatment must be used, frequently an Elizabethan collar or similar structure will be applied to physically interfere with the kitty’s ability to turn around and lick or chew the offending substance off.


For certain diseases, injections may need to be given regularly. Insulin injections may need to be given under the skin on a regular schedule or for a kitty with failing kidneys, fluid therapy under the skin may be prescribed. Make sure you are comfortable with the technique and ask to have the injection demonstrated at least once to you at the hospital. Ideally, do it yourself there and have the trained staff give you feedback on your technique. If fluids are being prescribed for a cat with chronic renal failure, make sure you carefully warm them to room temperature before administration to avoid cold shock to the tissues around the needle. Always use a fresh needle for each treatment because dull or dirty needles are not a cat’s best friend. Avoid air in the administration line or insulin needle. Offering a treat at the time of injection may keep attention off of your manipulations to the point that a happy cat will not even notice your gentle administration.

Remember that cats remember a bad experience like the elephants. Never lose your patience when giving medications. It may take a few extra minutes to take time for praise and attention around treatment time, but this is time well spent to prevent a therapy-shy kitty.

You May Also Like These Articles:

Tips for Giving a Cat a Pill

How To Give Liquid Medications

Kidney Disease in Cats

Feline Diabetes Mellitus

Subcutaneous Fluid Therapy: Giving Your Cat Fluids at Home

Why Should I Take My Cat to the Vet?

How To Clean Cat Ears

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site. Just Answer is an external service not affiliated with