How to Pill a Cat (With Video) – A Step By Step Guide to Pilling a Cat

Pilling a cat would have to be one of the most dreaded aspects of cat care. Cats are smart & will often be able to sniff out any ideas we may have about tricking them into taking a pill such. Hopefully this article will help cat owners to pill their cat with minimal stress to both themselves and their cat.

  • Using your left hand, place your thumb & forefinger on either side of the cat’s face, on the gum line. Tilt the cat’s head up until the jaw opens.
  • Hold the tablet between your thumb & index finger in your right hand. With the middle finger, place it on the front teeth of the bottom jaw to open the mouth fully & place the pill well onto the back of the tongue. You will see a ‘V’ shaped area, this is the best place to aim for.
  • Close the mouth & blow on the cat’s nose & massage the throat. This will stimulate your cat to swallow. If your cat licks it’s nose, the pill has been swallowed.
  • Follow up with a syringe full of water to help the pill go down.

If you have difficulty keeping your cat still, you can try wrapping his body and legs tightly in a towel prior to administering the pill. Alternatively, you can ask somebody to hold the cat for you while you administer the pill.

Use a pill gun:

Purchase a pill gun or pill dispenser from your veterinarian or pet shop. This is a hollow plastic dispenser making it easier to get the pill into your cat’s mouth. It also reduces your chances of being bitten.

  • Put the tablet in the dispenser and hold it in one hand.
  • Place your cat onto a table and put one hand on top of his head, circling the muzzle with your fingers. With the middle finger, place it on the front teeth of the bottom jaw to open the mouth fully. 
  • Place the pill gun onto the cat’s tongue so that the end of the syringe is at the back of the mouth. Push the plunger & release the pill. Remove the pill gun immediately.
  • Close the mouth and blow on the cat’s nose & massage the throat to stimulate the cat to swallow.

Difficult to pill cats:

If your cat is proving difficult to pill there are several methods you could try.

  • Wrapping in a towel
    and following the instructions above.
  • Have somebody help hold the cat while you give him/her the tablet.
  • Gelatine capsules can be purchased from some suppliers. These are empty capsules in which you put the tablet in, making them easier to administer.
  • Compounding pharmacies are able to take a tablet & compound it into liquid form, which carers may find easier to give to their cat.


Make sure you follow the dosage instructions and finish the entire course.

Never give pills to a cat that are for humans (such as aspirin).

Avoid breaking up pills. Some tablets have a protective coating which delays release of the medication in the intestinal tract.

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