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How to give your cat a tablet

22 Feb 2021 by Vetsmiths

Getting your cat to do something unwillingly is a challenge few owners look forward to and giving your cat a tablet is one of those!

Knowing how to approach this task will make it less daunting.  This blog, briefly outlines our guide on how to give your cat a tablet, while minimising stress levels for you both.

Firstly, it’s important to check with your vet that there are no special restrictions before administering any medication.

For instance, some tablets are safe to be crushed and mixed with food, others are coated and so must not be split as this could irritate your cat’s oesophagus (throat).  Guidance on administration will often be written on the label, but if you are in any doubt ask your vets’ advice.

It’s helpful to have everything you need before-hand, so you aren’t fumbling around once you have your cat in your grasp.

Our step by step guide

Gentle but safe restraint of your cat is important.  It’s always helpful if there are two of you – one to gently restrain your cat and the other to administer the tablet.

Restraining your cat

  • Place your cat on a non-slip surface, either a table or the floor will do
  • Allow your cat to sit upright, facing away from you
  • Place both hands to the side of your cat above their elbows, gently restraining them so they cannot get away



Restraining your cat using a towel

This is particularly useful if you are doing this on your own.

  • Lay down a medium-sized, soft towel on a flat surface
  • Place your cat on top, facing away from you
  • Gently wrap one corner of the towel around your cat, then the other. Make sure the towel fits snuggly around your cat’s neck.  It’s important to ensure they cannot get their front legs out of the opening, as this will give them the opportunity to escape

Giving the tablet

You need to be quick and calm to prevent your cat from becoming stressed.  Always be prepared before-hand and whenever possible, have someone to help.

  • Approach your cat from the side
  • Hold the tablet between your thumb and forefinger of one hand
  • Place your other hand on your cat’s head and extend your thumb and forefinger to the corners of its mouth
  • Tilt your cats head upwards
  • Using the middle finger of the hand holding the tablet, pull the lower jaw down and swiftly insert the tablet into the back of the mouth, to the centre of the tongue, as far back as you can see
  • Hold your cat’s mouth closed for a few seconds and gently massage the throat to encourage swallowing

If necessary, repeat your attempt at getting the pill down, as long as your cat is not distressed.  If your cat becomes overly upset, leave for another day.


Pill poppers

Pill poppers can be helpful when administering tablets and some people prefer using these to insert the tablet into the mouth, rather than using their hands.

In this case, we would recommend Buster pill givers with a soft tip.

In summary

The most important thing to remember is, to stay calm and if your cat becomes distressed, stop and try again later or the next day.

When your cat is due his/her next tablet, you could book an appointment with a veterinary nurse at your vets, to show you how to do this.  This way it gives you the extra confidence in knowing what you are doing.


We’re thankful to the very pretty Phoebe, who was a wonderful model, and her owner for allowing us to take photos for use in this blog post.