Sassy cats — To pill or not to pill

Gracie: NO PILLS! Eveh!

Gracie: NO PILLS! Eveh!

When Morgan was adopted she came with some intestinal issues that required pills. She was mixed with the other cats before we received her diagnosis and ALL the cats had to be pilled. It was a nightmare. Four cats, three pills a day. I wrote about it here.

This time around I was very careful. Gracie was not allowed out of solitary confinement until her stool sample results came in. She was clean.


She had bloody urine with crystals but no infection. Her urine Ph was off and the fastest way to drop the Ph was with pills. Large pills. Foul tasting pills.

The pills were as big as a Frisbee. They had to be broken in half, each half given twice a day.

During my last go round, I became efficient at pilling a cat. You have to be quick and focused. Scoop them up, tilt the head back and pop the pill in, all done in less than 5 seconds works best.

Nope. Didn’t work. I tried buttering it up so it would go down fast. Nope.

I tried a pill plunger. The pill was too big.

I tried with my fingers. That was a dumb move. I had a very sizeable bite on my index finger that almost required surgery or amputation.

Tasty pill pockets? She tried to bury those.

(You do remember that she’s a 7 lb. little squirt, right? I wouldn’t want to tussle with her in a back alley.)

I called the vet. She suggested the liquid form. I hate liquids. Cats have a technique of foaming it out. Any medication you get in comes out in clouds of foam that coat the entire room.

There wasn’t another alternative. I asked about compounding, pastes, injections, etc.

Before I spent any more money on Cha-Ching Gracie, I decided to let the vet tech do the first dose.

I packed little Miss Trouble in the carrier and off we went.

The vet tech looked at her (very small and sweet), checked her for nails (yes, she has them). She then approached her from the back and crouched her in. She got a quarter dose in her before devil cat went berserk. Less than a quarter teaspoon of medication resulted in enough foam to put out a massive forest fire. Cat was located in the far corner of the room. Tech looked like she had been through a wind tunnel.

Gracie could not be given this particular medication. The rescue group told me that she had been successfully pilled while in their care. We concluded that the pill must have been too large and vile tasting. Bitter. Bad. Yucky.

Within a day her issues subsided. She’s eating normally and hasn’t bitten anyone since. She’s a happy little camper now. I still have the spot on my finger where she bit me.

I hope she never gets sick.

Each cat has their story.

Gracie: Seriously, I'm a good cat.

Gracie: Seriously, I’m a good cat. Just don’t put your fingers in my mouth!





55 thoughts on “Sassy cats — To pill or not to pill

    • I got scared because she piddled bloody for two days. What I should have done was call the rescue group. I let them know a few days afterward. They have a clinic and would have checked her out for free since she was newly adopted. The staff said they never had any trouble pilling her. I hope it was the specific medication that made it impossible. You are right. She just needed some love and peace. Now she stampedes all over and hasn’t piddled blood since even without the med.


  1. Pills are the pits. My biggest problem is catching the cat after the first time. It takes two people to give meds, one to hold the cat’s legs, one to force the mouth open and shove the pill down — if I can catch it.


  2. Thank goodness she got better on her own! I remember “pilling” my cat – there was a real art to it. Fortunately I never had to give her anything so large and vile smelling. Couldn’t you just wait until she yawned like in your picture and tossed it in? (Yes, I’m kidding.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am glad she is feeling better. Pilling most cats is tough. I usually go with the antibiotic injection even though there are some risks, at least I know they will get the medicine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like the injection route too. This wasn’t an antibiotic. On line it said it was available as an injection but that the injection was painful. My vet didn’t carry it. When my old cat was diabetic, he was easier to inject than to pill.


  4. Kate, I’m so glad she’s better! I feel your pain, to pill, compound, grind in food, ughhhh! brilliant you, I never thought of having the vet tech pop the dose…had her eyes opened, lol.
    over the years I’ve taken a more wait and see attitude with the kitties. you’re right the body often heals itself. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ugh, medicating a cat is the worst. My vet has a secret weapon — a bag. The cat goes in the bag, with only the head out. Then they can draw blood or pill the cat more easily. All the while, cat looks at you with murder in its eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Glad she is feeling better!

    Pilling cats is the worst! I’ve often asked the vet if we can get the medicine in blow dart form. Sadly, that is not yet an option.

    Otis had an eye infection back in the spring. The vet gave us drops and a gel that he needed 3 times a day. She explained that I needed to give him the drops, wait fifteen minutes then put the gel on his eye. I looked at her, laughed and said, “You think after I give him drops, I’ll be able to find him 15 minutes later to put the gel on his eye?!” Needless to say, that medication was an all hands on deck operation for me and Oregano. Thankfully, that was only for a week.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Tigger + Medications (liquid, pills, shot, hairball medicine) = N.F.W.!!!
    (No &*^%ing Way!)

    And Tigger at the Vet was much like Gracie ~ the Vet Tech wore leather gloves from fingers to elbows to assist the Vet with shots, exams, etc.

    Hope Gracie’s trust grows and grows!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Kate – I don’t know I have mentioned this before . but with our cats, our vet made the following suggestion which worked great:

    Tilt the cat’s head back (which you do)
    Pop the pill in (which you do)
    Blow on its face and let go! The cat will usually swallow! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I used to do that with Mollie and it works. Gracie was extremely wiggly. I tried wrapping her in a towel but that freaked her out even worse. I’m hoping that with “normal” pills and more time here to develop trust, it will get better. What I’m really hoping is that she is healthy until she’s too old to fight.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Pilling a cat is a total nightmare.Unlike dogs they are suspicious of food that has any whiff or strange look of hiding something. Not being born a cat person, I didn’t;’t know that they had retractable teeth hinged in their mouths somewhere so they can look perfectly cooperative when you start jamming a pill down their throat..then suddenly rows and rows of razor sharp teeth wildly start gnawing. And that foam!
    Gracie has had recent medical treatment so she’s even more alert.
    Paws crossed she stay healthy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We had a dog when I was a child and he was a piece of cake to pill. Other things, not so much. He was a neurotic jumping little terrier that took you for walks! She chomped on me with her back teeth. I didn’t even know the back ones were as sharp as the front ones. I think you are right. There are retractable ones back there just waiting for soft fingers.


  10. You have my respect. I hate pilling the cat. Reiner has gone to great lengths to drill out the core of cat treats and bury fragments of the medicine inside. That has worked, thank goodness.

    You’d think that veterinarian medicine would have come up with a solution (as in answer – solutions are clearly not the solution!) by now, wouldn’t you?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. Had the problem continued I would have tried another vet to see if there were some other ideas. Or maybe our local compounding pharmacy. The vet said the pills were already compounded but they were really big for a cat. Bigger than any treat I’ve ever seen. They were also crumbly. It was a nightmare!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. In my experience, the sweetest-looking creatures (be they human or otherwise) tend to be the worst when you get on their bad side. Here’s to hoping your kitty doesn’t need more nasty pills any time soon, if only for the sake of your fingers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am very glad that she’s better too. When I first adopted Mollie she was impossible to pill. She came with a respiratory infection and ended up in the cat hospital for it. Now she’s a piece of cake to pill. Trust and time. (At least that’s what I’m telling myself!)


    • It was a hard time for her. She had just gone through two surgeries — spaying and eye removal. She was moved from the only home she new to a new place and then moved again for recuperation and to my house all in a month. We’d all be spunky and cautious of humans at this point. I haven’t had a cat bite since I had my cat Lacy and she’s been gone over a decade. She bit me on the nose once. Yeow! That really hurt.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Glad she’s well. There’s always the Covenia shot for infections. (Won’t help with PH levels.) But it is a real help with infections. Lasts two weeks, and a great option when you need a basic antibiotic.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I hope all your feline friends will be always healthy happy cats… and no more pill-problems :o) While pondered how I can Phenny his deworming pill, he jumped at me and swallowed the whole thing… dogs are the smarter humans somehow LOL

    Liked by 1 person

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