How To Give Your Cat A Tablet

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How do you feel when you have to give your cat a tablet? Apprehensive? Nervous? Or smug?!

Yes, smug! ☺️☺️☺️☺️

I think many owners assume that getting tablets into their cat is going to be as challenging getting their cat into a basket but honestly it doesn’t have to be a battle!

And, once they have popped their pill with the minimum of fuss, you can be absolutely sure that they are protected. Whereas other treatments, like spot-ons, can be fiddly to apply, run off the fur or hard to see if you’ve given the whole dose, with tablets; once they are in, they are working!

So, here are my tips on how to give your cat a tablet.

Prepare to feel smug!

Choose the right tablets!

There are many different medications and treatments that come in tablet form and some are easier than others to give!  Chose formulations that are tasty and where the tablet itself is small.

You do NOT have to struggle with a pill the size of a suppository and the constancy of dry chalk!

Wait until your cat is hungry!

Very occasionally medications have to be given on an empty stomach and so ideally are given directly into your cat’s mouth. However, we all know how challenging that is (!), so the majority of tablet medications are OK to be hidden in something tasty.

Firstly, don’t be tempted to hide it in a big mound of food. Our cats have a very good sense of smell and a healthy suspicion of anything new! They will just eat around it and you will be left with a soggy, semi-dissolved scrap that is now pretty useless.

Also, some tasty tablets have a flavoured coating, which will just dissolve away

My tried and tested method is to put the medicine in their normal food bowl surrounded by just a handful of kibble, preferably at a time when they are hungry (you know, when they haven’t eaten for a couple of hours or overnight and therefore being STARVED TO DEATH!).

Don’t make a big fuss, just put the bowl down as normal and walk away.

I find they generally hoover everything up because they are hungry, not suspicious and VERY CROSS that their meal is so small, so they eat it all to prove their point and immediately demand more!

Which you can provide, at the same time as doing a little happy dance of smugness!

One of these things is NOT like the others!

Use a pill pocket

Another option is to hide the tablet in a pill pocket of some kind. These can be tasty treats with a hole inside for medicine or a mouldable putty which can be folded around the tablet. Also, these are often ok if the in-structions are ‘give on an empty stomach’ as they aren’t large enough to affect the absorption of the medica-tions. However, do ask your vet first.

Again, wait until your pet is peckish, and then to really hedge your bets, I would advise feeding two or three treats, with the drugs stashed in the second.

You can also use the same snacks at times when they don’t need medicine, so they get used to them not be-ing a trojan treat!

However, do remember to cut back a little on their usual meals so they don’t get too fat!

Down the hatch!

Sometimes, popping a pill directly into their mouths is the easiest and most reliable method but only with certain cats!

If you would like to learn how to do this, ask the nurses at your vets for a lesson but please be careful!

It is best to start with first getting your cat used to being handled around their head and mouth. Rubbing their lips and lifting their chin with lots of praise and treats is very helpful.

To get a tablet in, ask a friend to sit with your cat on their knee or on a table facing away from them. Take one hand and place your thumb and forefingers on either side of their head. Gently tilt the head upwards and use the ring finger of your other hand to open their lower jaw. Hold the tablet between your thumb and fore-finger of that hand and once their mouth is open, either pop it to the back of their throat or drop it in. Don’t let go of their jaw or head and this movement should be super fast!

Then quickly release their head but don’t allow them to open their mouths. Massage under their chin or offer a super tasty treat so they swallow.

Always ensure they eat something straight away. It will give a positive reward and also ensure the tablet is pushed right into the stomach.

Then, if you have managed it, give yourself a huge pat on the back and feel smug!


Getting tablets into our cats is an inevitable task for pet parents but it has to be done and hopefully now you can see it actually isn’t that hard and that you can medicate your moggy without mishaps!

**This blog is part of a paid partnership with Elanco Animal Health but all the views in it are my own!**

You can follow me on Twitter; @cat_the_vet,  FaceBook;  Cat_The_Vet and Instagram, Cat The Vet

 If you like this blog, check out ‘What Your Cat, And Your Vet, Wishes You Knew About Fleas!’

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