How to give medicine to a kitten

Whether it’s to treat an illness or an allergy, there may be times when you need to give your kitten medicine. So how can you do it in a way that causes the minimum amount of stress to you and your pet?

Nobody wants to be told that they have to give medicine to their sweet little kitten. But sometimes it’s necessary, and knowing how to give a cat a pill or a kitten medicine with a syringe is a useful skill every owner should learn.

Check the dietary requirements first

Check with your vet if the medicine needs to be administered with food or on an empty stomach. If the medicine should be taken with food, mix it with a small amount of food that your kitten eats by hand rather than as part of a big bowl. This way they’re less likely to leave it.

If the medicine should be taken without food, do some upfront preparation. Make sure your kitten is in a familiar environment and make sure they’re calm. Hold your pet firmly, wrapped in a towel or blanket to stop scratching. If it’s a pill, disguise it by smearing it with normal food. If it’s liquid food, it might be easier to administer it directly into the mouth using a dropper or a syringe.

How to give your kitten medicine: Step by Step

If possible, it’s often easier to have two people giving your cat medicine – one to gently hold them and the other to give the medicine.

The person holding the kitten should hold them upright facing away from them, with their arms gently pressed against the kitten’s side.

How to give your kitten a pill:

  1. The person administering the pill should hold the tablet between the thumb and forefinger of one hand and put the other hand gently on the kitten’s head. Try to do this from the side as this is a bit less threatening than going in from above. Alternatively, you can use a ‘pill popper’ to hold and deposit the tablet at the back of the mouth.
  2. Gently tip the head upwards and open the kitten’s mouth with the hand holding the tablet. Place the pill as far back on the tongue as you can as this will make it harder not to swallow.
  3. Try and offer an immediate distraction or toy so your kitten has at least some positive association with the experience.

How to use a syringe:

  1. Let your kitten lick the end first so they’re used to the idea.
  2. Place the tip of the syringe just behind one of the canine teeth.
  3. Try and angle the syringe slightly to the side so the medicine goes on to the tongue and not to the back of the throat – otherwise the liquid could go into the lungs by accident.

How to give your kitten eye drops:

  1. Following the basic steps above, have someone hold your kitten’s head gently or if you’re unable, with the same hand you’re holding the head carefully pull down the eyelid with your thumb, being careful not to touch the eye.
  2. Use your dominant hand to administer the drops. Once you’ve delivered the eye drops, keep your kitten still to allow the medicine to dispense properly.
  3. Don’t let them run off or rub their eyes. Try and offer an immediate distraction or treat.

How to give your kitten ear drops:

  1. Follow the steps above to ensure your kitten is comfortable and you’re holding their head gently but firmly.
  2. Using a free thumb or finger to gently open up the ear canal.
  3. Once you’ve dispensed the medicine successfully, gently massage the base of your kitten’s ear, if they’ll let you. If the medicine has gone in, you should hear a squishy sound. Offer an immediate distraction or treat.

Have you had to give medicine to your kitten? If so, what top tips would you share? Tell us on social media using the tag #PethoodStories.

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