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  • Writer's pictureSteve San Miguel Zamorano

Administering Oral Medications to Your Cat

The easiest way to give your cat liquid medication is to mix it in with some canned food. To ensure that all of the medication is ingested, it is best to give a small amount of food that the cat is certain to eat rather than a large portion that the cat may not complete. Some cats may be unwilling to eat the food or may have dietary restrictions that prevent you from using this technique. If this is the case, you will need to administer the medication directly into the cat’s mouth. Prepare an area where you can safely handle your cat. Have the medication ready and in a place where it will be easily accessible. If you are administering the medication by yourself, you may find it easiest to place your cat in your lap. It may be advisable to restrain the cat by wrapping it in a blanket or towel with only its head exposed. The first few times, it may be helpful to have someone else hold the wrapped cat while you administer the medication. Make sure you have carefully read the prescription label and understand the dosing instructions. Verify that you are administering the correct drug and amount. Shake the medication gently if required prior to drawing the medication into the syringe or dropper.

  1. Hold the syringe or dropper containing the medication with your dominant hand.

  2. First, allow the cat to lick the medication from the tip of the syringe as you slowly depress the plunger. The cat may accept the medication more readily if it is warmed to room temperature.

  3. If your cat is not interested in licking the liquid, gently take the cat by the scruff of the neck and pull the head back. The mouth will then open slightly.

  4. Place the tip of the syringe in the side of the mouth, just behind one of the canine (“fang”) teeth.

  5. Advance the syringe so it is placed in the mouth just inside of the teeth. Be sure to angle the syringe slightly to the side. You do not want to forcefully inject the liquid straight into the back of the throat. This can increase the risk of the cat inhaling or aspirating the liquid.

  6. Slowly squeeze the syringe to dispense the liquid medication. Make sure you do this slowly so the cat has time to swallow the liquid and breathe.

Most cats will spit out some of the medication. DO NOT re-medicate unless you are certain that NONE of the medication was taken.

Rinse the syringe thoroughly with water and refrigerate the medication if necessary.

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