Giving cats tablets: Tricks to make it work

Giving cats tablets

Your cat is sick and the vet has prescribed tablets. But how do you get your feline friend to swallow the required medication? This article will reveal the best tricks to give your cat tablets.

Giving cats tablets: The challenges

Mouth open, put the tablet in and down it goes – it would be nice if it were so easy. For many cat owners, giving tablets is a real challenge. Many a treatment has had to be discontinued because a cat simply didn't want to swallow its pills.
Unfortunately you can't explain to your cat that medication is necessary. Only wits and cunning help. In this article, find out the best tricks to give your cat tablets.

In principle, you have three options to give your cat tablets:

  1. Crush the tablets and mix them with paste, food or water to conceal them.
  2. Hide the whole tablet inside a treat and slip it to your cat.
  3. Put tablets straight in its mouth.

Perhaps you have to try out several options to find the best trick for giving tablets to your cat. Don't lose heart – one of these methods will work.

Giving cats tablets: Crush and conceal

In order to outsmart your cat, you can finely grind the tablets and mix them with cat paste, food or water to disguise them. All that you need for this is a standard mortar to crush the tablets with. If you wish to dissolve the powdered tablets in water, you also need a syringe.

If your cat has to take tablets for an extended period of time, it may be worth purchasing a special tablet mortar, which you can find in a pharmacy, for instance.

Important: Ask your vet beforehand if the tablets can be ground.

Grinding tablets in a mortar and mixing with a paste

For this trick, mix the crushed tablets with a cat paste or cat cream that your feline friend likes. Alternatively, you can also use liver sausage.

Grind the pills with a mortar until a fine powder forms. Then thoroughly mix this powder with a small portion of cat paste. About a teaspoon should be sufficient.

Then let your cat swallow and enjoy it. With a bit of luck, it won't notice the tablet powder at all.

Crushing tablets and mixing in the food

You can also try to simply mix the medicine into your cat's food. You also need a mortar for this trick. Mix the powder thoroughly with your cat's food.

However, this trick only works when the pills don't have a strong taste of their own. In this case, you can add a few treats with an intense taste to the tablets in the mortar. For instance, Dreamies with cheese are a suitable option. Mix everything together well before stirring it into the food.

Caution: Some medication may not be consumed along with dairy products. In order to be on the safe side, ask your vet if there are any objections against cheese pastes or snacks.

Syringe and water

Alternatively, you can also dissolve the tablet powder in some water or another fluid – for instance, chicken broth. Then add the solution to an injection syringe (without a needle!). You can get these syringes from the vet or a pharmacy.

Carefully spray the mixture into your cat's mouth.

No exact dosage possible

However, exact dosage of the medication is not possible with the mortar method. A few parts will always fall by the wayside. As with sick people, sick cats often have little appetite. Perhaps your cat doesn't feel like cat paste or isn't eating up its portion of food. In this case, it's better to mix the tablets with fluids or to administer them whole.

Administering soluble medicine to cat with syringe
You can administer tablets dissolved in water with the help of a syringe.

A trick to give your cat tablets directly

Sometimes even the best tricks to give tablets don't help with your cat. Especially if it is very sick and not eating much, it doesn't make sense to mix medication with its food. Some patients even have no appetite for treats inside which you can hide tablets.

In such cases, you can try to put tablets straight into your cat's mouth.

Not without risk

You will find a short explanation in the following paragraph. However, be sure to ask beforehand for the vet to show you this method, because it is not without risk: Your cat could mistakenly bite your hand.

Hold on tight

Keep a tight hold of your cat when giving it tablets. It works best if there are two of you. Sit on the floor and put your cat between your legs. Its bottom faces you so that it cannot move backwards.

Carefully open the mouth

Take the tablet in one hand between your index finger and thumb. Right-handers should use their right hand and left-handers their left.

Then open your cat's mouth with the other hand. To do this, push the index finger into the gap behind the pointed canine tooth. Your cat's head should point slightly upwards.
With the middle finger of the hand holding the tablet, now cautiously press down on your cat's chin, then from the front push the tablet into its mouth.

Place the tablet at the back of the mouth

Make sure that the pill is placed right at the back of the mouth on the base of the tongue. Otherwise, your cat will probably spit it straight back out again

Important: Always enter your cat's mouth with your fingers from the front so that you don't mistakenly get bitten. Cat bites are even dangerous for humans. If you are in doubt, it's best to avoid the direct method.

A trick to give cats tablets: A tablet dispenser

Directly administering pills with what is known as a tablet dispenser is much safer. These devices are also available from the vet.

Tablet dispensers look and function like syringes. Water is first drawn up, then the tablet is clamped in the front at the tip of the device. You then carefully place the dispenser inside your cat's mouth so that the tablet is at the very back of the mouth.

When you carefully press the seal, your cat has no other choice but to swallow the tablet along with the water.
This method also demands a great deal of intuition and a calm cat that isn't fidgeting, otherwise there is the danger of you or your cat injuring yourselves.

A trick to hide whole tablets for your cat

Entire tablets can be disguised by giving them a tasty coating. There are different options for this. A basic requirement is for your cat to find the coating really tasty, otherwise the trick won't work.

Chewstick sandwich

Most cats love chewsticks. You can exploit this predilection to hide your cat's tablets inside them.
To make a chewstick sandwich, you need a chewstick for cats and a sharp knife.

First cut the chewstick into small pieces, which should be around 2cm in length. Then carefully cut the chewstick pieces lengthways and all the way to the centre.

Push the tablet into the gap you have created and press the type of sandwich together carefully with your fingers.

Make sure that the tablet doesn't slip out when you give your cat the chewstick sandwich. Sometimes it is easier with large tablets to split it and make two sandwiches.

Tip: Alternatively, you can outsmart your cat with a little bit of Vienna sausage. Use a knife to cut a pouch into the piece of sausage and carefully push the tablet inside.

Resources to buy

If the sandwich trick is too fiddly for you, there are other aids for hiding tablets, which you can buy from your vet, for instance.

For example, there is a special kneading dough in which you can knead the tablet or little snacks with a hole for tablets. Disguised as a treat, you can give your cat a whole pill this way.

Important: Try it out a few times beforehand without tablets to see if your cat actually likes the product.

Giving cats tablets: Ask your vet

Regardless of what trick you choose, definitely discuss your plan with your vet. Not all tablets can be split or crushed. Some snacks are also not compatible with certain medications.

Especially if you administer tablets directly to your cat without any further disguise, you should definitely be shown the required holds beforehand. This is also the case if you use a tablet dispenser for your cat.

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