Last Updated: 7 months ago

Giving your cat oral pills is one of the most challenging tasks you’ll ever experience as a cat owner.

In fact, it can be downright traumatizing for both you and your cat!

Unfortunately, despite their resilient nature, cats get sick or catch parasites and need pills to get better.

So, below, you will find five ways to give your cat her medication without causing lifelong trauma for both of you.

5 Tips on How to Give a Cat a Pill

People often joke about how hard it is to give cats oral tablets.

However, you can’t even imagine what it is like until you’ve ruined several pills in a row and you’re not even close to accomplishing your goal.

Cats can be quite stubborn when they don’t want to swallow something. So, here is how you can deceive them into taking their medication.

1. Hide The Pill

kitten eating cat food

One of the easiest ways to give cats oral pills is to hide the medicine in their food.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work all the time because cats have a superb sense of smell and taste.

So, you might find that your furbaby has eaten everything in her bowl but the pill.

However, here’s what to do to tempt your furry friend into eating the food:

  • Withhold food for several hours so that the cat will be hungry enough to lick her plate clean.
  • Hide the pill in half of a portion of wet food.
  • Wait for the cat to eat it, and check if she has consumed the pill.
  • Give Tabby the rest of her meal.
  • Check that she hasn’t snatched the tablet.

2. Get a Pill Pocket

cat pill pockets

Another easy way to fool your cat into swallowing her medicine is through pill pockets.

These are treats with a hole in the middle where you pop the pill.

They are made to disguise the taste of the medication so that your cat will eat them without noticing the extra flavor.

So, here is how to proceed with a pill pocket:

  • Put the medicine inside the treat and pinch it closed.
  • Give a pill-free treat to your cat to get her attention.
  • Then throw her the pill treat and make sure that she swallows it without spitting.
  • Proceed to feed her with more treats and give her water.

These pill pockets are available in different flavors according to your feline’s likes and dislikes.

You can also wrap the pill in a piece of chicken meat and offer it to the cat.

3. Crush The Pill

crushing pill into powder

If the cat won’t eat the hidden pill, there is one more strategy you can try, and that’s to crush the pill into powder.

However, you have to check with your vet if the tablets can be crushed or not. Some medications have to be swallowed whole to be effective.

Get a pill crusher from your vet if the pill can be powdered. Then:

  • Get a small amount of tasty food that your cat won’t resist. Preferably something with a strong aroma to hide the smell of the pill.
  • Crush the tablet and mix it with the food.
  • Offer the dish to your cat.

Unfortunately, your cat might still turn her nose at the food. In this case, you can smear some of the food on her fur.

Following their instinct, cats clean their coats thoroughly when dirty. So, Tabby won’t be able to resist and will lick the food.

I use this strategy when my cats refuse to eat their malt paste, and it has worked like a charm.

4. Learn How to Give a Pill by Hand

giving cat a pill

The bad news is that some medicines can’t be taken with food.

Unless your cat decides to eat the pill on her own (highly unlikely), you’ll have to give the tablet by hand.

I’m not going to lie. It’s not going to be pretty, especially if your cat is one of those who don’t like being held or petted.

Here is how to do it without getting scratched to death or bitten:

  • Choose a non-slippery surface to position the cat.
  • You might wrap Tabby in a towel so that she can’t wiggle out or hold her in your arms. In either case, you should seek the assistance of a second person.
  • Hold your cat’s head between your thumb and fingers and tilt the head upwards.
  • The helper should hold the pill between his thumb and forefinger and use his middle finger to lower the jaw.
  • Then drop the pill on your cat’s tongue. It should be placed as far back as possible to reduce the chance of Tabby spitting it out.
  • Keep the jaws closed for a couple of seconds and massage the throat to stimulate your cat’s swallowing reflex. You might also blow on her nose to make Tabby swallow.
  • Release the cat and give her some water.

We tried that technique on our tomcat because I couldn’t tempt him with food.

We massaged his throat for several minutes and then let him go. He took the pill immediately and dashed through the door.

So, keep in mind that you might have to do this procedure more than once That’s why it’s smart to get your cat used to this procedure while she is still a kitten.

5. Consider Gel Caps and Pill-Givers

using cat medicine feeder

The last trick to giving your cat oral pills is to use gel caps or pill-givers.

Gel caps are an excellent choice when you have to give your cat more than one tablet at a time.

You simply put the pills inside the cap, close it, and then you either hide in the food or give it by hand.

However, you should first check with the vet if it’s possible to combine the medications.

On the other hand, pill-givers look like syringes without the needle. You load the pill and then push down the plunger to release the pill into your cat’s mouth.

They are quite handy because you eliminate the risk of being bitten.


As you can see, it’s possible to give your cat her oral pill without getting mauled.

However, if your furbaby is in distress or anxious, you might want to leave the job to a professional or ask your vet for medication that can be administered through the skin.

What do you think about these tips for giving your cat oral pills? How do you do it? Share your experience in the comments.


Looking for tips on giving your cat oral pills? We've got you covered! Read on for 5 amazing secrets to make pilling a cat less traumatic for both of you!
Olfa T
Olfa T

Olfa knows how to get things done and has a keen business sense that others admire. She’s always on the go, coming up with new ideas! Her ability to anticipate the needs of her readers and deliver information that they want is what makes CatVills such a success. She loves cuddling her cat Picaciu. He is her inspiration.