Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your cat.

Tips for Giving a Cat a Pill

Learn how to give a cat pills.

If your cat has been prescribed pills for a short or long-term condition, you may be a bit nervous, wondering how you will manage to get your cat to take them.

We have a few tips you can use to help you get those pills into your kitty.

How to Give a Cat a Pill

Before attempting to pill your cat, you may wish to wrap her body and front feet in a small blanket or towel. This can help reduce her ability to scratch. Having a second person to help hold her and keep the towel steady is helpful.

Here are the main steps for giving a cat a pill:

  • Stay calm yourself. If you're getting worked up, your cat probably will too.
  • Place your cat on a table or other surface where you can easily reach her.
  • Get your cat calm by petting her and talking softly to her.
  • Place your non-dominant hand over your cat's head, so your thumb is resting near the corner of one side of her mouth and your fingers are near the other corner.
  • Tilt your cat's head up, so her nose is pointing at the ceiling.
  • At this point, your cat's lower jaw should have dropped open a tiny bit.
  • With the pill between the forefinger and thumb of your dominant hand, use your middle finger to gently pull down on your cat's bottom front teeth.
  • When her mouth is open, drop the pill in and quickly close her mouth. Don't put your fingers in the cat's mouth.
  • Blow gently at your cat's nose, which should cause her to lick her nose and swallow.

Always be careful when giving any cat a pill. Even if you know the cat well, you may be bitten either purposely or accidentally.



You can take a look at this video: "How to Give a Cat a Pill" to see the process.

Other Options for Pilling Cats

If you are unable to give your cat a pill using the method above, here are a couple of other possibilities:

  • You may be able to use a pill gun to give your cat a pill. The procedure is the same as above, but the pill will be in a pill gun instead of your fingers. The pill gun can be placed into the cat's mouth a bit; then the pill can be popped out of the gun. However, some cats find this much more objectionable, it can be hard to be coordinated enough to handle the kitty and the pill gun, and sometimes it's hard to get the pill to cooperate; it can get stuck in the gun, which is frustrating for everyone.
  • Pill pockets are small, soft treats with a hollowed out center. You can place a pill inside, squeeze the edges shut around it, and give it to your kitty to eat. If your cat likes soft treats, this method may work well for you.
  • Your veterinarian can tell you whether the medication comes in a liquid form, which may be easier to give to some cats.
  • Some medications can be compounded by special pharmacies into other forms that might make administration easier. Liquids, flavored liquids, and transdermal gels, which can be applied to the cat's inner ear pinnae with gloves, may be available. Your veterinarian can help you determine whether a particular medication can effectively be compounded into one of those forms.

You May Also Like These Articles:

Tylenol Toxicity in Cats

Human Medications That Are Dangerous to Cats

Top 10 Cat Toxins of 2014 - Slideshow

Warning: Topical Medications Containing Flurbiprofen May Be Dangerous to Cats

Vitamin A Toxicity in Cats

Common Cat Medications

Are You Shortening Your Cat's Life? - Slideshow

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

Notice: Ask-a-Vet is an affiliated service for those who wish to speak with a veterinary professional about their pet's specific condition. Initially, a bot will ask questions to determine the general nature of your concern. Then, you will be transferred to a human. There is a charge for the service if you choose to connect to a veterinarian. Ask-a-Vet is not manned by the staff or owners of, and the advice given should not delay or replace a visit to your veterinarian.