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Peyton Manning & His Wife Ashley Say:

"Adopt Your Pets From Animal Shelters & Be Sure To Have Them Spayed & Neutered!"

Photograph Copyright 2002, Eric Smith.  All rights reserved.  Photo and quote are not to be construed as an endorsement of DooDoo Voodoo in any way by the Mannings; they simply support our animal charity work.  We & they believe in saving animals' lives.

 


 

HOW TO GIVE A CAT A PILL...AND LIVE TO TELL ABOUT IT 
Having cared for many hundreds of animals ourselves, and having cared for thousands more at our spay/neuter clinic, we have plenty of experience giving cats pills.  Some are easy; some are the Devil incarnate.  We hope these brief guidelines help you more easily and quickly give your cat a pill and help you escape unscathed!  Better technique equals less stress on your cat, so practice, practice, practice.

Some people prefer to do this while sitting on the floor Indian-style with the cat between their legs.  To me this doesn't make a difference as to the ease with which I get the kitty pilled, but it may prove useful to you until you become experienced at the technique.  Some of you may prefer to have someone stand behind the kitty and put their hands on each side of the kitty's haunches while you learn the pilling technique.  This can help keep the kitty from backing away from you while you get the technique down pat.

Step One:

Assuming you're right-handed, reach over the top of kitty's head from the rear with your LEFT hand.  With your thumb on the right side of her mouth and your index or middle finger on the other side, both more than half of the way to the front of her mouth, pull back on her head until her nose is pointing toward the ceiling.  I've found that the cat is less likely to fight you if you use just your thumb and one or two fingers versus grabbing the cat's entire head with the palm of your hand (like you'd "palm" a basketball).  Her mouth will likely drop open a bit out of reflex.

[The reason you pull the cat's head back so the nose points at the ceiling is that this is your power position.  if you try to go in from the front, with the cat's head parallel to the floor, the cat has too much control and power, and this is when you're likely to be less successful AND stand more of a chance of getting bitten.]

While holding the pill between your right thumb and right index finger, use your right middle finger to open her lower jaw more by putting your finger on her lower front teeth and pulling the jaw down.  Then, either drop the pill all the way back in her mouth (as far back on her tongue as you can see) or drop it there, then give it a quick poke with your right index finger to force it a bit further down her throat.

End of step one.

Step Two:
Allow her head to return to its normal horizontal position, but don't pull your left hand away yet.  Slide your left hand forward so that your left thumb is under the front edge of her chin and your left hand's fingers, without space between them, are on her forehead just above her eyes.  You're holding her mouth closed, but not putting pressure on her throat.  Blow one (not more) quick blast into her nose to stimulate her swallow reflex.  End of step two.

Step Three:
Immediately scratch her on the head, pet her, tell her what a good girl she is and what a good job she did.  Use as calm and low a tone of voice as possible.  Put right down in front of her a cat treat, dollop of whipped cream, dollop of yogurt, dab of wet food, etc.  You can use whatever treat or food she likes best.  The point is to make her forget all about what she just went through and associate getting a pill with getting praise, attention and a treat or food.

Once you get the hang of the pill-giving part, you should be able to do it in about 2 seconds.  The less time it takes, the less she'll dislike it.  (Duh.)  Our housecat Gracie, who takes Paxil every morning to help curb her aggression and territorialism (which manifested as indiscriminate urination in our house), even runs to a designated spot in our kitchen and when she knows it's time for her pill/treat/praise/attention.

I hope this helps everybody.  I've pilled hundreds of cats probably thousands of times, including many quite fractious/feral types at our I-CAN Nonprofit Feline Spay/Neuter Clinic, and I rarely have the procedure go awry or get nipped.  :-)

You can do it, too, once you get the hang of using my method.  Show the cat you're not afraid of getting bitten and the cat will let you assume the dominant role.  Done correctly, you'll be amazed at how effortless this procedure can be.