Jenny Rae Rappaport
Not a great success.

We got it in, on try #2.

The first try, with a butter-covered half a Benadryl--not acceptable to cat. Cat hates butter, apparently.

We're going to make a video of this one day, just to preserve the insanity for perpetuity.
17 Responses
  1. 1. Grasp cat firmly in your arms. Cradle its head on your elbow, just as if you were giving baby a bottle. Coo confidently, "Thats a nice kitty." Drop pill into its mouth.

    2. Retrieve cat from top of lamp and pill from under sofa.

    3. Follow same procedure as in 1, but hold cat's front paws down with left hand and back paws down with elbow of right arm. Poke pill into its mouth with right forefinger.

    4. Retrieve cat from under bed. Get new pill from bottle. (Resist impulse to get new cat.)

    5. Again proceed as in 1, except when you have cat firmly cradled in bottle-feeding position, sit down on edge of chair, fold your torso over cat, bring your right hand over your left elbow, open cat's mouth by lifting the upper jaw and pop the pill in - quickly. Since your head is down by your knees, you won't be able to see what you're doing. That's just as well.

    6. Leave cat hanging on drapes. Leave pill in your hair.

    7. If you're a woman, have a good cry. If you're a man, have a good cry.

    8. Now pull yourself together. Who's the boss here anyway? Retrieve cat and pill. Assuming position 1, say sternly, "Who's the boss here, anyway?" Open cat's mouth, take pill and...Oooops!

    9. This isn't working, is it? Collapse and think. Aha! Those flashing claws are causing the chaos.

    10. Crawl to linen closet. Drag back large beach towel. Spread towel on floor.

    11. Retrieve cat from kitchen counter and pill from potted plant.

    12. Spread cat on towel near one end with its head over long edge.

    13. Flatten cat's front and back legs over its stomach. (Resist impulse to flatten cat.)

    14. Roll cat in towel. Work fast; time and tabbies wait for no man-or woman.

    15. Resume position 1. Rotate your left hand to cat's head. Press its mouth at the jaw hinges like opening the petals of a snapdragon.

    16. Drop pill into cat's mouth and poke gently. Voila! It's done.

    17. Vacuum up loose fur (cat's). Apply bandages to wounds (yours).

    18. Take two aspirins and lie down.


    One of mine had to take pills a few months back and it was close to impossible. I finally found that crushing it up and putting it in some wet food worked, and those "pill pocket" treats you can get at the pet store work most of the time.

    As for the snoring, Jackson snores like a champ. Sometimes he wakes himself up from snoring so loud, which can be quite humorous if it's not 3am and I'm being kept awake by it.

    Gotta love cats!


  2. pdlloyd Says:

    Posting my comment from LiveJournal, so this is a bit out of date.

    Speaking of videos, here's one that shows how to give a cat a pill. You probably already know most of it, but I've been caring for cats for many years, and still learned a few things I didn't know.

    You may also enjoy this humorous take on the process.


  3. K.B. Says:

    There's always the "burrito method," where you roll the cat up in a towel and then administer the pill. Still takes to people, though.

    I got pretty good at pilling a cat when my evil-tempered oldest was put on Prozac to calm his aggressive territorial behavior. Too bad all that effort never did him any good. He simply has to be an outdoor cat. I got so I could quickly pry his jaws open, drop the pill behind his tongue, then hold his mouth closed until he swallowed. If I did it just right, and kind of took him by surprise, it went right down. Miss once, though, and forget it. I'd have to wait an hour or so before trying again.


  4. ShelisaL Says:

    The only way I can get my crotchety old male cat to take meds is to crush them into powder and work the powder into half a can of tuna. Since tuna is the food of the gods as far as Mr. Ben is concerned, the medicine is snarfed up in no time :-D


  5. Here's a tip - ask your vet to figure out the proper dosage in children's liquid benadryl. I believe they have it.

    It's a lot easier to squirt liquid down their throats than to try to get pills down.

    Cats are the only creatures I know that seem able to cough/barf up a pill from halfway down their digestive tract. Every time I have to pill my biggest cat, he lets me THINK it's down to stay, then comes up and barfs the pill (and only the pill) up in front of me before sauntering off with a flip of his tail.

    Little brat.


  6. Get a pill popper.

    As for the magical barfing? That's because the pill gets stuck in the esophagus. After you give the pill, squirt 3 ccs of water down there as a chaser.


  7. maura anderson, we have actually tried liquid benadryl. The dosage is 3/4 ml, for small little cats like Zoe. But the problem is that the only flavors we can find are cherry or bubblegum, both of which are unacceptable to her royal furrypaws. She vomits as much of it up as she can, afterwards. Do they make unflavored benadryl? It would be a gift from the gods.


  8. Ryan Field Says:

    I just saw something about this on a TV show the other night. They say you should cover you cat with a large towel, as if to enfold them and control them, and then give the pill.

    But that wouldn't have worked with my deceased cat.

    Try a little chopped chicken liver; the real kind made with real chicken fat. They can't resist.


  9. Anonymous Says:

    Cheeze-wiz (however that is actually spelled. My vet uses cheese in a can (small squirt) to disguise pills with great success.


  10. I have a friend who's a compounding pharmacist - I'll ask her. She was able to get me tuna flavored antibiotics last time one of my herd had to be on them. That worked far better than the pink bubblegum flavored stuff.

    Maybe it's a frenzy of felines....


  11. I was about to suggest wrapping the cat in a blanket or sheet, too. You have to wrap really tight and they hate it, but it works. Just use an old sheet or towel; I had a cat literally claw her way out of one once.


  12. Mary Paddock Says:

    The trick is in how matter of fact you are about it. Well, that and speed. If you approach the cat nervously, just sure it's going to be hard, the cat will prove you right(as said by the vet I used to work for).

    I do have a "pill popper" but can't find it half the time. So it's generally me wandering casually up behind a dozing cat, scruffing them, slipping the pill into their mouths and behind their tongues before they know what happened. Generally, the cat simply looks surprised and, if they run off, it's only a few steps. Then I offer them a kitty treat and all is forgotten.


  13. Lauri Says:

    I have a cat who needs a pill every day. When I'd get them down his throat, he'd foam at the mouth, drool... I'd hold his muzzle shut until he swallowed... this was Nasty. I hated it as much as he did.

    I tried Pill Pockets, by the people who make the yummy Greenies treats. It's a soft little treat with a hole in it... you drop in the pill and re-mold the stuff over it. He LOVES getting his "treat" every single day and BEGS for it. So, he gets his meds, he LOVES me for spoiling him with treats and he hasn't a clue that I'm doping him. :-D

    Go to your pet store and get Pill Pockets. Make it easier on you, Chris AND Zoe.

    Lauri in L.A.


  14. I did ask my friend about Benadryl flavored for cats and she said she doesn't have the ability to compound it that way.

    No dice :( Sorry...


  15. Jolie Says:

    Just added you to my Google Reader after noticing that Nathan Bransford has you in his sidebar. Hi! I loved the recent "cranky post" on not abusing your interns. 1) As a recent college grad and veteran underling, I agree, and 2) I enjoy people's cranky posts. I like cranky people, actually.

    Onto the topic: I must be the only person on earth who has no trouble giving my cats pills, probably because I'm a little bit mean about it (when you compare my method to hiding it in their food or something). I can administer the pill by myself this way.

    1. Find a way to hold that cat still. Cradle it on its back, if you can. A towel does help to avoid getting scratched.

    2. With one hand, gently prise the cat's mouth open with your thumb and forefinger.

    3. With the other hand, stick the pill on the back of the cat's tongue and push it down Kitty's throat. I promise, this will not hurt your cat; s/he won't choke but will instead swallow out of instinct.

    As long as you don't have the kind of cat that vomits EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME, you're golden. This is the quickest and most consistently effective way for me. S/he won't like it, but it's for the cat's own good, right?


  16. I have been owned by numerous cats over the years and thought I was an expert at "pilling" virtually any cat -- until last week. My (normally) very sweet, laid-back, young male cat developed an upper respiratory infection and was supposed to receive a Clavamox & Benadryl 2x daily. I used every technique known to man (including virtually all those listed above) without success. Even my vet couldn't get a pill down him. While he was wrapped up like a mummy and my husband was holding him, he was able to do a head flick at just the last moment. I should have named him "Houdini". Next time around, I'll learn to give injections!


  17. I've been owned by numerous cats over the years and have done well over 300 rescues. I thought I was an expert at "pilling" virtually any cat -- until last week! My (normally) very sweet, laid-back, young male cat developed an upper respiratory infection and was supposed to be taking 1 Clavamox & 1 Benadryl 2x daily. I used virtually every technique known to man, and no matter how snugly we had him wrapped, he was always able to do a major "head flick" at just the right moment -- preventing the pill from going more than an inch or so into his mouth. Liquids didn't work any better. I should have named him "Houdini." If he ever has to be medicated again, I'm going to learn to give injections!