Giving pills to cats is such a nightmare – pill pockets could be the answer


So I have been looking after my friends pets while she is interstate visiting her sister. One of her cats Nibbles a gorgeous tortoiseshell girl who is about 19 years old is suffering from kidney failure, which means she needs to take special medication everyday to help her kidneys function.

When my friend showed me how to give Nibbles her tablets it seemed easy enough. You put the tablet in the syringe looking thingy, hold the cats mouth open and pop the tablet as far back into her mouth as possible, you then hold the cats mouth gently closed for a couple of seconds while she swallows the tablet. Easy.

My first attempt was quite successful although I did struggle to operate that syringe looking thingy. But since then I just can’t get it to work. After several botched attempts yesterday, I gave up and just popped the tablet into the cats mouth using my hand. Today was even worse, Nibbles just kept spitting it back out.

Surely there must a an easy way to give cats tablets or any medication for that matter, so I did some research and aside from the obvious crushing the tablets up and sprinkling them over the food ( which by the way is not recommended for all tablets so you will need to consult your vet if you are considering this option). There is the syringe looking thingy which I found out is called a Pill Shooter and although this is one of the preferred ways of administering tablets to cats, speaking from experience it is not all that user friendly. There were suggestions of wrapping the tablets in food such as luncheon meat, or hiding it in liverwurst but what I believe is the best idea is something called a Pill pocket.

These perfect size treats have a convenient hole in the centre for the pill to be placed and the treat is then moulded around it, so that your cat feels it is being rewarded with a treat when in actual fact it is merely taking its medicine in a happy, stress free manner. I guess hiding tablets in butter or liverwurst is kind of the same but these pill pockets are designed so that if the cat does spit out the pill it remains relatively intact.

Pill pockets are available for dogs too which is great and they are relatively inexpensive eBay has three 45 packs of pill pockets for $17 US. Not too bad for peace of mind.

I will definitely be recommending these to my friend when she gets back from her trip. Anything that reduces an animals stress I am all in favour of.




25 thoughts on “Giving pills to cats is such a nightmare – pill pockets could be the answer

  1. Pill Pockets are great. But, there might be one problem. If the dog or cat bites into the pill that is hidden in the pocket the pill will likely be bitter. If that happens, the animal will probably reject the next one. I know this from experience. 🙂

  2. These look great! I’ll have to look for them here in Canada. Our cat Oscar just recovered from an infection and he needed a course of antibiotics, pain relief and some other fancy drug that helped open the urinary tract. That meant 2 pills in the morning and 3 at night. I’ve tried the shooter things and by hand. Forget it! My husband ended up drilling tiny holes in a certain brand of food that the cat goes nuts for. In other words, he fashioned our own pill pockets.

    As Ray mentioned, some pills are bitter. It’s a mystery why they aren’t coated to disguise the nasty taste since so many people are not able to “pill” a cat. And I’m one of them.

  3. My dog loves the pill pocket! It’s the only way he’s ever taken a pill and not spit it back out! 🙂 I have hid pills in everything and the Pill Pocket is the only thing that has worked… And worked for ever pill I’ve tried! So much better than fighting with him!

  4. Cats and pills, tell me!

    The only way we could get pills into some of the cats we had in France was to cut a tiny square of tough beef and make a pocket in the centre…it had to be tough to keep the pill inside and it had to be small to get the cat to gulp it down.
    Those pill pockets would have been an answer to prayer!

  5. I wish I had those when I had to give pills to my cat while she was with me. I had more bites and scratches than I had new places for her to inflict them. And then there was the problem of finding her when it was time for her pills.

  6. This is a good idea. I use to make it with some nice candy for them, or just give it, while I hold the cat and then a candy right after. It is not easy to medicate a cat. They are intelligent.

  7. How useful!! When I had 5 dogs all at once, they used to all want whatever you were giving out, so giving tablets to any individual dog was easy, peer pressure meant they just ate it no question. When I got down to only two dogs and then one, I always stuffed any tablets into a chunk of cheese and they ate it quite happily! It will be interesting to see what happens with just Bob and no competition…

      1. Is my hope too 🙂 we went to his first puppy class yesterday, Diana. Six sets of owners and their puppies in a circle in a field!!! Bob had great, he played with the puppy next to us constantly, whilst all of the others stayed by their owners!! He was exhausted when we got home, slept for the rest of the day 🙂 xx

      2. It’s funny how even though two children or two dogs or two whatever are raised the same they can be so different . I’m glad Bob is social and gets on well with other dogs it will just make your trips out that much more enjoyable. Xx

  8. I used to do the “hold mouth open and throw a pill at the back of the throat” method with my dog. It was often a stressful and unsuccessful method. I eventually got smart and now if my dog needs to swallow a small pill, I stick it inside a piece of string cheese. Someone expressed if the animal were to bite into the pill while chewing the treat, it will often be bitter and ruin the treat for next time. This can be true, but it’s also an individual thing. My dog swallows more than chews her food. It drives me nuts at times to see her swallow down her dry food instead of chew it. (yes she’s receiving size appropriate morsels). But, her method of “eating” food is my advantage when it comes to pills. All animals are different. Find something that works and stick with it. 🙂

    1. Thank you Sylvie, a few people have said they use cheese to hide treats in, I must admit I have never tried cheese, in the past I have used butter and liver wurst or some ham I think these treats will be ideal, both my cats and my dog love treats.

  9. He he. Giving cats pills. What a joke. I’ve actually had a couple of cats who were troopers and would just swallow the thing down. Then I’ve had others who made me late for work and ready to tear my hair out. The Greenie thing looks like a good idea, my only problem is my cats are so picky they’ll only eat the food they’re accustomed to. They won’t even eat treats when I buy them 😦

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