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BS: Getting a cat to take pills!

23 Feb 08 - 06:20 PM (#2270594)
Subject: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Anne Lister

Our cat has been diagnosed now with an over-active thyroid and is going to have to take little pink pills morning and evening for the rest of her life. I know this is a fairly common illness. Cleo has already worked out that I'm trying to conceal her pills in her food and has become an expert already in eating everything in her bowl EXCEPT the little pink pill. She's also got the tightest jaw clamp imaginable and we can't persuade her to open her mouth for us to pop the pill in. At the moment we're grinding up the tablet and sprinkling it on food she normally loves and we've succeeded once so far with this strategy - tonight, though, she's left that one piece of chicken severely alone in her dish.
Has anyone got any sure-fire ways to get the cat to swallow the pill? And yes, I've seen that email with the various procedures to follow ...not quite as funny now that we have to do this twice a day!


23 Feb 08 - 06:24 PM (#2270599)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: artbrooks

Try a little (edible) thing called a "pill pocket" - available at pet soopermarkets like Pet Smart. That sometimes works with our cat.

23 Feb 08 - 06:26 PM (#2270601)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Amos

Grind them fine and stir into some beef gravy which you stir into he food dish with about 60% of her usual food ration. That way she'll be hungry enough not to get too picky.


23 Feb 08 - 06:54 PM (#2270611)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

Your vet can show you this. It is simple.

1. Place the cat on a thick folded towel - head up.
2. With hand coming from under the throat pinch both sides at jaw hinge
3. Cat will open mouth.
4. Place pill at far back of mouth.
5. With index finger reach to back of mouth and press/pull tongue forward.

VOLA! Pill down cat.


23 Feb 08 - 07:11 PM (#2270621)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: gnu

Yup. Gargoyle is quite correct. You really don't even have to do step #5 if you do it right. But, get a vet or someone who knows how to do it show you how to do it. Do not just try it unless you have lots of bandaids and such close by.

23 Feb 08 - 07:15 PM (#2270625)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: GUEST,Greycap

This one has never failed me, or the recipient cat.
First, buy a small jar of crab paste, they cost about 40pence in UK.
Take the pill you need to get inside the catfur, wrap it in a small pellet of crab paste, wave the pellet under the cat's nose once or twice... you now have Puss's total & undivided attention.
When Puss moves forward to get at the crab paste, push it away, and tell it that's 'Not yours'.
Place the pellet containing pill and crab paste casually on a nearby surface and giggle as Puss devours both.
It's worked every time for me with many of my feline buddies.

23 Feb 08 - 07:16 PM (#2270626)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Rapparee

Just be firm. Tell the cat, "YOU are gonna take this pill whether you want to or not, you hear?" Just like a kid or something. Just be firm.

23 Feb 08 - 07:19 PM (#2270628)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Stilly River Sage

gargoyle described it, though you can often scoop up the cat and do the mouth and jaw thing without wrapping it in a towel. I've never had to do that with my cats. If you're calm, the cat may choose to be calm also. You have to pop that pill in well over the "hump" of the tongue, so they can't work it back out.


23 Feb 08 - 07:20 PM (#2270632)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Leadfingers

Greycap - I'm gullible , so I believe you - But I am NOT a Cat !

Rap - Something tells me that you are NOT on a cat's staff ! LOL

23 Feb 08 - 07:29 PM (#2270641)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: catspaw49

There is also, on a more humorous (but reality based)note, this old set of instructions which floated around the web for quite a few years:

   1. Sit on sofa. Pick up cat and cradle it in the crook of your elbow as though you were going to give a bottle to a baby. Talk softly to it.

   2. With right hand, position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. (be patient) As cat opens mouth pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow. Drop pill into mouth. Let go of cat, noticing the direction it runs.

   3. Pick the pill up off the floor and go get the cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process. Sit on floor in kitchen, wrap arm around cat as before, drop pill in mouth. Let go of cat, noticing the direction it runs.

   4. Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away. Scoot across floor to pick up pill, and go find the cat. Bring it back into the kitchen. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten. Drop pill into mouth.

   5. Pry claws from back legs out of your arm. Go get the cat, pick up half-dissolved pill from floor and drop it into garbage can.

   6. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of closet. Call spouse from backyard. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

   7. Retrieve cat from curtain rod, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered Doulton figures from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.

   8. Get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

   9. Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink glass of water to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

10. Retrieve cat from neighbor's shed. Get another pill. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with rubber band.

11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put door back on hinges. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Throw T-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

12. Call fire department to retrieve cat from tree across the road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take another pill from foil wrap.

13. Tie cat's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed, force cat's mouth open with small spanner. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Hold head vertically and pour one cup of water down throat to wash pill down.

14. Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call at furniture shop on way home to order new table.

15. Get last pill from bottle. Go into bathroom and get a fluffy towel. Stay in the bathroom with the cat, and close the door.

16. Sit on bathroom floor, wrap towel around kitty, leaving only his head exposed. Cradle kitty in the crook of your arm, and pick up pill off of counter.

17. Retrieve cat from top of shower door (you didn't know that cats can jump 5 feet straight up in the air, did you?), and wrap towel around it a little tighter, making sure its paws can't come out this time. With fingers at either side of its jaw, pry it open and pop pill into mouth. Quickly close mouth (his, not yours).

18. Sit on floor with cat in your lap, stroking it under the chin and talking gently to it for at least a half hour, while the pill dissolves.

19. Unwrap towel, open bathroom door. Wash off scratches in warm soapy water, comb your hair, and go find something to occupy your time for 7-1/2 hours.

20. Arrange for SPCA to get cat and call local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.


23 Feb 08 - 07:39 PM (#2270647)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Sorcha

I've had cats that I could give pills to, and cats that I couldn't. Amos Moses was just a trusting soul. Gretchen the Bitch was not. Oh, she ended up taking the pill all right...but it took a lot of band aids on me.

Not as bad as the time we had to bathe one tho. She got in a fight in the a puddle of motor oil. Finally just took her to the vet, knocked her out, and bathed her at least 4 times. Dishwashing liquid, cat shampoo, kitchen de greaser, and then cat conditioner. I don't think she ever forgave us for that.

23 Feb 08 - 07:40 PM (#2270650)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: The Fooles Troupe

"If you're calm, the cat may choose to be calm also"

If you can get the cat to be calm the first time, it's much easier subsequently - and for all other 'unpleasant' tasks you want the cat to do...

The trick to opening the jaw rapidly is key (do it right and the animal cannot resist and there is no pain or discomforr - it's a sort of reflex) - and if you can drop the tablet precisely past the tongue hump immediately after getting the jaw open, only the dignity is offended (the most important part of a cat!!!) and you can swoop her up, get the tablet in & have her automatically swallow, and put her back on the ground so rapidly that the act just gets tolerated - of course it will never admit to 'enjoying' that. It's totally a waste of time to even try the 'hide it it the food' game from my experience with both cats & dogs - the jaw trick works on dogs too.

23 Feb 08 - 07:52 PM (#2270658)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: gnu

Of course, if you train your cats well from infancy, they trust you and will listen to you and eat the pill when instructed to do so.

23 Feb 08 - 08:07 PM (#2270667)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!

Watch this video. Technique - except for step five displayed.

Tongue pull helps guarantee the cat will swallow and not spit.

The tongue technique is a quick back to fron flick on the pressing a piano key down and pulling your finger forward and out/off.

Towel is for cats that do not know/trust you. It gives the cat something to dig into for security rather than cold stainless steel.


BTW - BEST video search engines= (amature too many youtubes) (commercial) News, Iraq, Guns, Meteor over Washington

OK post again.

Clones removed information...and then block URL access address.

23 Feb 08 - 08:17 PM (#2270671)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: GUEST,.gargoyle


In today's world you cannot go around ripping off people's crappola without giving the source.

You could get Max in a lot of trouble!

Here is the source for the SPAW's Twenty Steps.


23 Feb 08 - 09:00 PM (#2270694)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: catspaw49

LOL.....Who gives a fuck Garg?

I said it had floated around for years. You're a riot!   I got that tripe back in '98 and your "source" was posted in 2006. Great research!!!

Garg really know his shit.

Garg really don't know Jack Shit.......

Garg dipshit!

Say, "Sorry, I fucked up!"

Go ahead.......

You'll feel much better but still be a dipshit!



23 Feb 08 - 09:20 PM (#2270713)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Stilly River Sage

He was trying to be helpful, Spaw.

The trick doesn't usually need to be done with a dog. At least not my dogs. I have to give the pit an antihistamine in the summer because she develops a rash in the heat (possibly from the lawn also). I pull her head back and drop the pill down her throat, like with the cats, but I could probably just toss it to her to catch and she wouldn't even notice it on the way down.


23 Feb 08 - 10:31 PM (#2270740)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Bee

Put the pill, in small bits or ground up, inside a bit of raw ground meat - that's worked for any cat I've had to pill - I could never manage to do the jawpinch maneuvre right.

The dog was easy. You take three chunks of hot dog. Slit one, place pill inside. Throw one piece to dog. Throw piece with pill in next. Make sure dog knows you have another bit in your hand. Dog will down pill without bothering to taste it... especially if the cat is nearby and might get that third bit!

24 Feb 08 - 12:37 AM (#2270773)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: freightdawg

We've had many kitties, and we've been mostly successful with the "kitty burrito." I think it's been described above, the trick being to get their paws bound up with the towel so that they can't struggle. Prying their jaws open and getting the pill in is more art than science.

Our first, Half-Pint, soon learned that if he quit struggling and just gave us that "why me" look that we would relax our grip and he could hop down with a "nice kitty" comment and a scratch on the ears. He would then walk a few steps away, and with that look that only cats can come up with, shake his head and send the pill hurtling into the middle of next week. He had this uncommon ability to "pocket" the pill and no matter how much throat rubbing we did he could bring it right back up. We would even feel him swallow - but never the pill. We would finally finish up a 14 pill prescription in about 4 days and he was never the worse for any wear. He lived to be 19 years old.

Eventually we had to give him subcutaneous fluids because his kidneys started to fail. He was the best kitty to take the needle every night. Maybe he learned that the fluids made him feel better, but for many years it was our nightly routine for me to give him his fluid injection and spend a few minutes discussing the events of the day.

Best of luck with the meds. Chronic health problems in our pets are so hard...


24 Feb 08 - 12:57 AM (#2270779)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko

The hardest part is catching the cat. Once that is done, it is easy to just pry open their mouth and throw the damn pill down their throat- all while holding on to their paws with the other hand. It helps if you took wrestling in high school.

The hardest thing we had to do with one of our cats was a feeding tube. The poor thing stopped eating (the doctors still can't figure out why - she was too young) and they had to resort to inserting a feeding tube that went out the side of her neck, down the throat and into the stomach.   We had to pump her full of soft food several times a day. The first day or two wasn't too bad - except when she threw it up right away. We learned to adjust the dosage.   She actually sat still for most of it, until she was full. Of course she was very weak.   Once she regained her strength - she would run away. One morning we woke up to find her sitting on the bed with the feeding tube pulled out. She was fine - just decided she was well enough and would go back to eating from her dish.    I am happy to report that this was over a year ago and she is a perfectly normal cat - actually starting to gain a little too much weight. Time to get her on the treadmill again.

The bottom line - you can get the medicine down - it just takes practice.

24 Feb 08 - 02:42 AM (#2270800)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Liz the Squeak

You can get little pill flicker syringes - they have a plunger at one end and a little pair of pincers to hold the pill at the other. Pushing the plunger will pop the pill out the other end and it's narrow enough to get into a kitty mouth without danger to fingers.

I tuck my kitties under my arm, keeping them firmly in place with my elbow, using my hand to gently pull the head back with a firm grip over the top, thumb and middle finger either side of the mouth. The cat opens its maw, the pill flicker is brought up from behind me, inserted into the gap and deployed. The hand holding the head then releases and strokes the throat to aid swallowing.

Sometimes you can hear the ping as the pill bounces off the opposite wall.


24 Feb 08 - 03:53 AM (#2270811)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Fran

My kittens had lots of antibiotics when they were very small so have learnt to accept the pill, but they were keeping it in the back of their mouth and spitting it out.

The vet showed me that if you rub their nose with your finger they will want to put out their tounge to make it wet again, this reflex made them have to swallow the pill they were storing, works every time now.

24 Feb 08 - 04:25 AM (#2270819)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Joe Offer

I wish this thread had happened two weeks ago.

Our cat has been in need of antibiotics; and nothing we tried, even liver pate', would serve to make the pills palatable.
So, we spent $50 on liquid antibiotics. My wife Christina wrapped Van Gogh in a towel and held him, and I used a syringe to squirt the stuff down the back of his throat. I learned to stick the syringe into the side of his mouth, kind of tickling him there to make him open up.

Christina took him to the vet Friday, and the vet gave a demonstration - grab him by the back of the neck and hold him up a bit, and his mouth will open - then squirt toward the back of his throat. It's quick and easy, and Van Gooey doesn't complain. Oh, and the vet gave us a short, fat syringe instead of the long, skinny one the pharmacy gave. With the long one, I had to spread my fingers far apart to reach the plunger, and that gave me little control. The shorter syringe is much easier to use.

So, we figured out the liquid stuff, but I don't know if Gooey would take to any of the pill-popping methods listed above. I hope it's a long time until we have to do this again. Dogs are no problem, but cats and pills don't mix.


24 Feb 08 - 06:25 AM (#2270866)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Becca72

I second Liz's endorsement of the "piller". I bought one from our vet for about $3 US and it's the only thing that has worked with Mikey. This is the cat who doesn't like canned food, treats or any form of people food so hiding pills in something is not an option. The "piller" is quick and easy. Pry the mouth open, shoot the pill to the back of the throat and then blow in his face to make him swallow....Done. Follow that with LOTS of cuddles and strokes and "good kitty" and she'll get used to the whole process pretty quickly.

24 Feb 08 - 06:38 AM (#2270868)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Anne Lister

Thank you for all the contributions so far - I can only report that my husband, who was perfectly able to administer pills to previous cats in his life, has been totally unable to get Cleo to open her mouth even the tiniest bit by using the pressure (and towel) method. The vet was also unable to get her to open her mouth, btw, when trying to check up on what was wrong with her. I managed to make her yawn by yawning at her and the pill went in, but was as quickly dropped out again. So we're back to either trying various food lures with ground up pill (not too much of a problem at the moment as on the vet's advice she's currently being fed on all her favourite - human - things, but it will be a problem when she resumes her more usual finicky eating habits) or attempting the flicker syringe.
We've tried reasoning with her, but although she appears to listen I have the sense that the words go in one ear and out the other - it doesn't help that she's slightly deaf (and very much so when it suits her).
We have to return to the vet in two weeks to see what her thyroid levels are at after these pills, to determine the dosage for the future, and if we are continuing the current lack of success we'll have to take more advice and see if there are any other alternatives.

In the meantime, back to the current favourite of tuna mixed with cottage cheese ....


24 Feb 08 - 07:37 AM (#2270875)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: theleveller

I've had this problem for years and have the scars to prove it. Last time I went to the vet with my two cats, she she used a sort of plastic syringe that you put the pill in, insert into the cat's mouth, press and - hey presto, cat swallows pill. They cost about £1.50. I bought one. It works! Much cheaper than a skin graft.

24 Feb 08 - 07:38 AM (#2270876)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: The Fooles Troupe

I paid $8.50 or more for that stupid pill gadget, and it's useless. Probably something to do with my MMD - and it's so long that I can't control it - damn pill falls out of it before I get it anywhere near the cat's mouth. The manual way works for me.

24 Feb 08 - 02:34 PM (#2271144)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Bee-dubya-ell

Why would anyone want to get a cat to take a poll? They can't vote, and even if they could it would be too easy to buy their votes.

Catnip's cheap.

24 Feb 08 - 03:02 PM (#2271173)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: catspaw49

One of the Online Vet sites suggest dissolving pills in a teaspoon of gasoline and then using a syringe to squirt it down their throats. I didn't think it would work but we tried it on Gus and it worked pretty well I guess. Gussie hesitated then took off on the run.....Up the stairs, down the stairs, up the hall, down the hall, into the den, up the curtains, across the rod...but then he stopped and fell to the floor. I had the feeling we had royally screwed up and killed poor old Gus, but as it turned out he was just out of gas..................




........yeah..............its apologies........


24 Feb 08 - 03:51 PM (#2271225)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Anne Lister

Report from the front line ... crab paste was of no interest whatsoever.
Back to grinding the tablet up. Chicken is still a firm favourite, as is the tuna, so let's hope she doesn't get fed up with either in the near future. Or start wondering what the strange gritty taste is ...


24 Feb 08 - 04:32 PM (#2271267)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!

Fond memories of Miss Susie, the worst cat when it came to getting a pill into her. If I got it in and watched her swallow two or three times to ensure it went down, she would walk about a foot away and cough it up.

So when the vet prescribed pills I asked for liquid. He laughed and proceeded to show me how to pill a cat. By the time it was over, the vet had Susie in a towel, his assistant had her mouth pinched open, and assistant two was squirting her in the face with water to get her to swallow. She did. Then she indignantly coughed up the pill and glared at the bleeding trio daring them to try again. He gave me liquid medicine.

24 Feb 08 - 05:17 PM (#2271294)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

We also used cod-liver-oil on the pill and the finger.

Withdrawing the fishyfied finger over the tongue made the cat swallow and lick.

One Spring my father and I put cod-liver-oil over garden snails. The intent was to get the cats to develop an appitite for the mullusks - solving two problems at once - creating cat food and conserving fresh garden food.

It did not work.


24 Feb 08 - 05:19 PM (#2271295)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

This whole discussion brings to mind TOM SAWYER . Chapter Twelve

A Quick paraphrase (Original Full Text from:

Tom began to find himself hanging around Becky Thatcher's house, nights, and feeling very miserable.

He put his hoop away, and his bat; there was no joy in them any more.

His aunt was concerned.She was one of those people who are infatuated with patent medicines and all new-fangled methods of producing health or mending it. She was an inveterate experimenter in these things. She gathered together her quack periodicals and her quack medicines, and thus armed with death, went about on her pale horse, metaphorically speaking, with "hell following after."

Yet notwithstanding all this, the boy grew more and more melancholy and pale and dejected. The boy remained as dismal as a hearse.

Now she heard of Pain-killer for the first time. She ordered a lot at once. She tasted it and was filled with gratitude. It was simply fire in a liquid form.

She gave Tom a teaspoonful and watched with the deepest anxiety for the result. Her troubles were instantly at rest, her soul at peace again; for the "indifference" was broken up. The boy could not have shown a wilder, heartier interest, if she had built a fire under him.

Tom felt that it was time to wake up. He asked for it so often that he became a nuisance.

She found that the medicine did really diminish, but it did not occur to her that the boy was mending the health of a crack in the sitting-room floor with it.

One day Tom was in the act of dosing the crack when his aunt's yellow cat came along, purring, eying the teaspoon variciously, and begging for a taste. Tom said:

"Don't ask for it unless you want it, Peter."

But Peter signified that he did want it.

"You better make sure."

Peter was sure.

"Now you've asked for it, and I'll give it to you, because there ain't anything mean about me; but if you find you don't like it, you mustn't blame anybody but your own self."

Peter was agreeable. So Tom pried his mouth open and poured down the Pain-killer.

Peter sprang a couple of yards in the air, and then delivered a war-whoop and set off round and round the room, banging against furniture, upsetting flower-pots, and making general havoc.

Next he rose on his hind feet and pranced around, in a frenzy of enjoyment, with his head over his shoulder and his voice proclaiming his unappeasable happiness. Then he went tearing around the house again spreading chaos and destruction in his path.

Aunt Polly entered in time to see him throw a few double summersets, deliver a final mighty hurrah, and sail through the open window, carrying the rest of the flower-pots with him. The old lady stood petrified with astonishment, peering over her glasses; Tom lay on the floor expiring with laughter.

"Tom, what on earth ails that cat?"

"I don't know, aunt," gasped the boy.

"Why, I never see anything like it. What did make him act so?"

"Deed I don't know, Aunt Polly; cats always act so when they're having a good time."

"They do, do they?" There was something in the tone that made Tom apprehensive.

"Yes'm. That is, I believe they do."

"You DO?"


The old lady was bending down, Tom watching, with interest emphasized by anxiety. Too late he divined her "drift." The handle of the telltale teaspoon was visible under the bed-valance. Aunt Polly took it, held it up. Tom winced, and dropped his eyes. Aunt Polly raised him by the usual handle--his ear--and cracked his head soundly with her thimble.

"Now, sir, what did you want to treat that poor dumb beast so, for?"

"I done it out of pity for him--because he hadn't any aunt."

"Hadn't any aunt!--you numskull. What has that got to do with it?"

"Heaps. Because if he'd had one she'd a burnt him out herself! She'd a roasted his bowels out of him 'thout any more feeling than if he was a human!"


24 Feb 08 - 06:47 PM (#2271371)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Bat Goddess

If you're calm and don't traumatize the cat the first time (basically they traumatize themselves), you can do the jaw thing and poke the pill down their throat before they even notice. It DOES take a little practice sometimes, but really does seem to work best if you're calm, pet or cuddle the cat through the whole procedure, and then don't make a big deal, either, when it goes in okay.

Many years ago I had a young cat that needed dog contraceptives (little blue pill). At that stage of my life (or Foolish's life -- can't remember the exact circumstances any more), it worked best if I ground up the pill between two spoons and then mixed the powder in the spoon with a spoonful of yogurt. Foolish would consistently and enthusiastically lick all of the blue tinted yogurt off the spoon and ask for more.

I don't seem to have problems giving a cat a pill (or a diabetic cat an insulin injection). What seems much more problematic is giving a cat a dose of LIQUID meds.


24 Feb 08 - 07:06 PM (#2271381)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Gurney

We have a cat with a growth on his Thyroid. and our options are pills for the rest of his life, or radiation therapy, or surgery.

The cheapest and best longterm option is the radiation, which is 95% successful. The operation is more expensive, and dicey at best. The pill are more expensive, taken over a two-year period, and that cat would be impossible to dose on a regular basis. Totally intolerant of ANY messing about.

Our vet's method of dosing: Cat at working height, pill in thumb and forefinger, grasp the cat's skull from above, hand over ears and eyes, twist the skull up, open lower jaw with second fingernail of the 'pill' hand on the front teeth, drop the pill into throat and push to the back of the throat with forefinger, allow jaw to close, but maintaining head position, stroke throat and neck until the cat licks its nose. The cat can get you with its dewclaws, so a holder may be neccessary.
I've also dosed a stray I couldn't get near by making a pill parcel of schnitzel meat and cotton thread. Food, medicine and roughage all in one.

24 Feb 08 - 08:01 PM (#2271413)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Rapparee

I still say you just have to be firm with them and let them know who's boss. Can't be any worse than riding a half-broke remuda bronc right after a 4 a.m. breakfast of bad coffee, bad biscuits, and bad beans now, can it?

24 Feb 08 - 09:00 PM (#2271480)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Gurney

Rapaire, a rider wears the spurs. With a cat, it's the other way around. Horses have been domesticated (more or less) for tens of thousands of years, cats choose to live with humans.

It's all a matter of attitude, and cats have it.

I do agree with you in principle, but so do the cats!

25 Feb 08 - 12:32 AM (#2271587)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: The Fooles Troupe

Bat Goddess

I have never taken blue pills - well when I was single digits, but they were for my asthma - so I was told...

25 Feb 08 - 12:50 AM (#2271591)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: katlaughing

I'd never, ever had problems dosing cats until recently. Now, my vet understands why I want injectable, if at all possible, and or liquid. Fortunately, my two boyz are such greedy guts they will eat cat food "fishy" with anything in it, so it's not a problem. I've had some who turned up their noses at that. For one of them, baby food worked best with the pill ground up or liquid med. added to it.

25 Feb 08 - 02:59 AM (#2271613)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Anne Lister

I'm very happy to hear that some cats are amenable to the open jaw approach - all I can reiterate is that I started this thread precisely because our cat absolutely isn't. Not even for the vet. However, I can now report that the crab paste disappeared from the bowl later on, complete with little pink pill, so for the time being we're sticking to the food bribes.
And yes, it sounds like the same issue as Gurney's cat, although so far the vet hasn't mentioned the other two treatment options (but I've read up on them on the web).


25 Feb 08 - 06:29 AM (#2271665)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Sandra in Sydney

I sent this thread to a friend who is owned by 5 cats.

her comment -
thanks for the mudcat thread, I read all the way through it!! Pills are hard - I have had some success with coating it with vegemite, the vegemite is much enjoyed.

Spaw - here's another use for Australia' favourite foodstuff.


25 Feb 08 - 07:47 AM (#2271687)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: GUEST,The black belt caterpillar wrestler

If you can imobilise the cat by tucking it under one arm whilst sitting down it is theoretically possible to make it open its mouth by holding its nose!
If you can get a pill into its mouth then I've found that holding its chin up and stroking its throat downwards makes it swallow.

25 Feb 08 - 12:14 PM (#2271924)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Rapparee

Gurney, you ain't never tried to ride a horse that didn't want to be rode, have you?

25 Feb 08 - 02:01 PM (#2272035)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Leadbelly

Sometimes cats reluctantly compelled to open their mouth for longer don't like this because of bad teeth,Tabster. Are there any problems like this?


25 Feb 08 - 02:50 PM (#2272088)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Anne Lister

Manfred, it's more than possible. She's certainly had something wrong in her mouth, but as even the vet couldn't get her to open her mouth in order to make a diagnosis we're still none the wiser! She's had some antibiotics and steroids to deal with whatever it might have been, but she's still not opening up. On the other hand she's managing to chew bits of meat so some of her teeth at least are still functioning.
At the moment we're either disguising the pill in other food (the crab paste has turned out to be quite successful) or grinding it up and sprinkling it over if we've found that hasn't worked (she spotted it in the chicken tonight so back to the sprinkling). If we can continue to do this, maybe we won't have to try to force her mouth open after all.
And at last she's putting on weight and becoming less of a pathetic spectacle, and the trembling seems to be reduced, too.

Thanks for all the concern, fellow Mudcatters!


25 Feb 08 - 11:44 PM (#2272459)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Gurney

Rapaire, Nope, podner. The last animal I rode was a beach donkey in Blackpool. 'Chaps' means something else there.

I have been owned by 11 cats, though. The easiest to medicate were Siamese, and the sick one I have now is the hardest ever, because he is a panicker, a fretter, and a disappearer, and a LOUD protester. We suspect that he's also a bludger, because if he hears one rattle of the cat-cage, he's gone for two days, and not hungry when he returns.

26 Feb 08 - 08:04 AM (#2272625)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Liz the Squeak

Are you completely sure that the intended cat is getting the intended medicine with the 'pill crushed in food' approach?

Max the black and white cat had arthritis as a result of being run over as a kitten and having his hips broken. The winter before he died, I was thinking he was getting on really well during the cold snaps, whereas in previous cold weather, he'd had difficulty.

Turns out he was slipping through the fence, sneaking into the house over the back and eating the dosed food they were laying out for their big ginger tom who has feline osteoarthritis. Their cat wasn't improving but mine was bouncing around like a kitten!


26 Feb 08 - 11:55 AM (#2272788)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Anne Lister

Liz, you might have a point - we are prone to being invaded by another very sneaky (and hungry) cat, who cleans out the food bowls and manages to avoid being caught. However I'm doing my best to monitor that the cat has had sole access to (and has eaten) the dosed food and so far we've been able to witness the crucial top layer or so being devoured.
At one time the cat's food was also being stolen by some small rodents who were living behind the washing machine - talk about taking the p***! She's a tad deaf, you see, our Cleo, and the first she knows about it is when she discovers the empty bowl. She does know some good swear words, though.


27 Feb 08 - 01:48 AM (#2273376)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Gurney

Good system, Liz. Bug the vet's surgery, move next door to a cat with the same problem as yours.   Ha.

27 Feb 08 - 05:24 AM (#2273495)
Subject: RE: BS: Getting a cat to take pills!
From: Naemanson

I remember a skit on Prairie Home Companion about feeding pills to cats. It was similar to Spaw's 20 steps but ended with the patented stainless steel cat suppository injector. You'd hear the sound of metal clanking in the background as they readied the injector and then the sound of the cat happily eating the pill.