How-to give a cat a pill tutorial

Hi, my name is Dr. Uri Burstyn. I’m a veterinarian in Vancouver BC and I’d like to welcome you to my series of practical skills for pet owners. I’m here with Mr. Pirate to show you how to do one of the most dreaded activities one ever has to do with our cat which is give them a pill. Now, there’s a lot of joke videos on the internet about how to pill your cat and they’re very funny. But this is actually a really useful skill to have and it’s quite easy. Now, some cats have a personality that’s a little easier to pill than others, but you really should be able to give oral medication to your cat regardless of their temperament. Now, there’s a number of options other than pills you can give liquid medications, you can even do transdermal medications that are absorbed through the skin. But sometimes the pill really is the best option and sometimes it is the only option. The key to giving a cat a pill first of all is selecting an appropriately sized pill, which our veterinarian should be able to help you with and then we try to make it a smooth and relatively pleasant operation for the cat. This is a skill. It takes a little bit of practice. So don’t be put off for the first couple times you end up either not getting the pill in or you end up getting a little bit of a scratch. It’s just a question of practice like any skill. We have a couple tools at our disposal that do make giving cat pills a little bit easier. This is a cat piller which is a little device where you put a pill in the end there and you basically depress the plunger and it pops the pill into the cat’s mouth. I’m gonna demonstrate doing it with just your bare hands and then the piller afterwards. So Mr. Pirate here’s got some inflammatory bowel disease. I’ve given him a pill every morning for the last seven or eight years. And it’s generally a very smooth operation What I like to do is have his breakfast ready. So have a little bit of cat food. You put it down on the table Come here, sweetness or the floor or wherever the heck the cat hangs out Put down the food and you give them the pill on the way basically when the cats on his way to the food. That way after a while. It just becomes a part of his feeding ritual and even though he may object or struggle or wriggle around a little bit on as you’re giving the pill really it’s just a part of his breakfast and he’s not gonna be too fussed about it in the long term. So we got some food. We have our cat who’s interested in the food. We intercept on the way there. Next step is to have your cat kind of secure and a cat’s best defense against medical procedures is to back up. So you want to make sure he can’t walk backwards. So usually I position him up against my legs or up against my body if he’s up on a table. Just because I know that as soon as I try messing around with his face he’s just kind of back up if he’s not securely supported from behind. So we’ll just put him right here and then you give him a little bit of a cuddle. Now what we gonna do is gonna pop the pill right into the back of his mouth. Don’t bother trying to put into food or anything like that, he’s just gonna spit it out you might as well just throw it in the garden. We have to put it right in the back of his mouth. If you put in the front of his mouth again, he’s just gonna stick his tongue out and his pills gonna pop right out. What we want to do is deposit the pill right in the back of the mouth and then point his chin up at the ceiling for a count of three. We can stroke his throw it a little bit to help him swallow. But really just the most important thing is to point that chin at the ceiling. Some older cats have neck arthritis and this is a bit harder to do but for most cats this is really kind of a key part of successfully giving your cat a pill. So having positioned and really it’s all about positioning. Some cats are wriggly, you can actually put a little towel like a little bib around their shoulders and neck kind of to protect- prevent them from giving you a high-five with their paw Most cats however, it really just gets in the way. And with a bit of practice you can just do it like this. Usually takes about ten seconds to do in the morning should be quite easy now we get some pills here. Take the pill. *talks to Mr. Pirate in cat language* I usually just swipe it in some cat food. You can also use sour cream, yogurt, a little bit of butter. Anything your cat really likes, you know cats can’t taste sweet. So peanut butter doesn’t work like it would for a dog, but certainly yogurt or sour cream most cats would love. Pirate loves his wet foods. So I just swipe it through his wet food. Are you licking your chops? Yeah *smooches* All right. And then basically, I just wanna grab his face by the whiskers just lift his upper lips up which just tilts his chin up as I tilt his chin up his mouse is gonna come open and then just shove the pill right in the back of his throat. Then one two three chin at the ceiling and we’re done. It’s not gonna be that easy the first time you do it, but it can be this easy with a bit of practice. Shall I demonstrate again Pirate? So this time because he already got his pill I’ll use a little bit of food as the pill. You peel back his lips. Start to tilt his chin up till his mouth opens. And just pop it to the back of the throat one, two three one two three chin pointing up at the ceiling And then he can have his food. It’s quite important to actually have a little bit of food a little bit of water after a pill because some cats have trouble swallowing pills. So I’m really a big fan of having food out as you do this. With liquid medication you can use exactly same approach except you’ll have your liquid medication in a syringe and you’ll squirt in his mouth. And with a cat piller we use exactly the same approach except the pill is loaded into the front. Grab him by the lips, just smooth his whiskers back grab by the lips tilt that mouth back gently and when the mouth comes open, just work at the back of the mouth. Pop it in one two three. Alright, so I hope you find that useful. Please give us a like, feel free to share this video and remember to have fun with your cat.

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