These instructions are for a right handed person, just switch hands for left:
-Make sure to have all your supplies ready before pilling (Figure 1)
-Tuck your cat lightly under your left arm, with the head facing out, toward your hand (Figure 2)
-The pill is held in your right hand (Figure 2)
-Firmly grasp your cat’s head with your left hand. Place your thumb on one side of your cat’s face and your fingers on the other, just behind the whiskers. Avoid holding the lower jaw and make sure you don’t squeeze the throat (Figure 3)
*You may also use a good scruff on the cat if it feels more comfortable (see figures 7 and 8 below).
-Once your cat’s head is held in place, raise the nose to point toward the ceiling. The mouth will automatically open slightly. Place the pill between the thumb and forefingers of your other hand, or pick up the “loaded” pet piller, if using (Figure 3)
-Use your middle finger to open your cat’s mouth further by applying pressure on her lower front teeth (Figure 4)
-After the mouth is fully open, place the pill as far back in the mouth as possible. If using liquid, squirt the medication far back in the mouth (Figure 5)
-Close your cat’s mouth and hold it closed. Gently and briefly rub your cat’s nose, or blow on it. This should stimulate her to lick her nose, causing her to swallow. You can also try to stimulate swallowing by rubbing your cat’s throat. Do not release the cat’s head until you see the tongue come out-that is a sure sign that your cat has swallowed the tablet.
-Even if the cat has swallowed on its own, ALWAYS follow with a drink of water from a syringe (Figure 6)
-Covering the pill in a tasty treat or butter will help the cat associate pilling with something good tasting! Covering the pill will also help protect the esophagus from possible ulceration seen with dry pilling.
*If your cat is highly food motivated, hiding the pill in marshmallow, canned food, or a soft pliable treat will eliminate the need for pilling!
– Always remember to praise your cat and maybe give her a treat. This will make future medicine times less traumatic.
Mistakes to avoid:
-Do not try to approach the cat from the front as they will back away and escape.
-Your body should be behind the cat, with you and your cat facing the same direction.
What if my cat absolutely won’t take a pill?
We do work with a compounding company that can make a lot of medications either into a liquid form, or possible transdermal (apply to the skin). Please call the animal hospital if you are interested in this service.