Often when we hand over a bottle of pills for a cat who is a little under the weather, we are confronted with an expression of dread on the part of an owner contemplating the prospect of having to actually administer those pills. We know what you’re thinking: it’s easy for us, after years of experience, to say “just do it”. In fact, though, the vast majority of cats are quite easy to medicate, as long as you are privy to a few tricks of the trade.



[The following instructions apply to a right-handed person. Reverse the directions if you are left-handed].

  • Start by giving yourself an advantage: place the cat on a waist-high table, on a non-slip material.
  • Position the cat facing towards your right.
  • Hold the tablet between the thumb and index finger of your right hand.
  • With your left hand, cradle the top of the cat’s head gently but firmly, and bend his head back so that his nose is pointing towards the ceiling: that’s all the way to the ceiling, not half-way.
  • In this position most cats will drop their bottom jaw slightly.
  • Place the middle finger of your right hand on the small incisor teeth at the front and in the middle of the bottom jaw and lower the jaw firmly.
  • Drop the tablet as far back as possible on the cat’s tongue and swiftly poke it down his throat with the index finger of your right hand. Don’t worry about choking him- cats have extremely strong gag reflexes and it’s virtually impossible for anything to inadvertently go into the trachea.
  • While still cradling the top of his head with your left hand, stroke his throat and/or gently blow on his nose to ensure that he has swallowed.
  • Bask in the glory of your success.



  • Have the correct volume of liquid ready in the administration syringe or dropper.
  • Position and hold the cat in the same way as described above, and cradle the top of his head in your left hand as before.
  • Holding the syringe in your right hand, insert it into the natural space immediately behind the large canine tooth on the left side of his mouth (the “eye tooth”) and gently dribble the dose onto the cat’s tongue.
  • Stroke his throat and/ or gently blow on his nose as above.



  • If your cat tries to swipe at you with his front feet, you may need the assistance of a second person. Position the cat on a table in the same way as described above, but have your assistant stand behind her and hold her front legs down at the elbows, so that she adopts a sphinx-like position.
  • If your cat is swiping and you need to complete the procedure single-handed, you can achieve the same thing by wrapping her firmly in a towel or blanket, rather like swaddling a baby.
  • Remember, always check if the medication should be administered before, with or after food.
  • Always complete the prescribed course of medication unless directed otherwise by the vet.
  • Contact the surgery and speak to one of our vets if your cat is experiencing any side-effects from the medication.
  • It’s true that there is an occasional cat whom even we have trouble medicating, and sometimes we may recommend the use of a device called a pill-popper.
  • The essence of success is speed and confidence.
  • If you continue to have difficulty, please let us know and we can organise for one of our vets or nurses to demonstrate the procedure for you.


Happy pilling !!