How to Use a Pill Gun for a Cat

Kelly Roper
Medicinal supplies

When all other methods fail, using a pill gun for cat medicine may be the surest way to give your pet the treatment she needs. The key is using the tool effectively to administer medication without stressing your cat.

Giving Cats Medicine

For many cat owners, there's little else that's worse than hearing the vet say, "Just give Fluffy one of these pills twice a day for the next two weeks, and it will fix her right up." Should be simple advice to follow, right? Wrong!

If only cats would just comply with what we want them to do, but then they wouldn't be cats would they, and we'd all be over at LoveToKnow Dogs.

You can try to give your cat her medicine by crushing the pill and mixing it with some wet cat food, but cats have a great sense of smell, and actually seem to be able to detect the foreign ingredient in their food. If she's one of these cats, you're going to need an alternative method.

Of course, you can just try to muscle her mouth open and stick the pill in by hand. Braver men have tried, but they also have the scratches and bite marks to show for it. If participating in your own little episode of National Geographic television doesn't appeal to you, then we have one more suggestion. Try using a pill gun for cat medication.

What's a Pill Gun?

A pill gun is actually a very simple tool used to deliver a tablet or capsule of medication to the back of your cat's throat where it is more likely to be swallowed than spit back out. It's based on the common syringe, and it's made of three distinct parts:

  • A long hollow housing
  • An inner plunger
  • A rubber tip to hold the pill

To load the gun:

  • Pull the plunger all the way back
  • Insert the pill into the rubber gripper tip

Now all you need is your cat and you're ready to medicate her.

How to Use a Pill Gun for Cat Medications

Such a simple tool should be easy enough to use, and it is when your cat cooperates. But honestly, how often is your cat willing to let you be in the driver's seat? If your situation is like most, not that often.

So, after loading the gun with the pill, the first step is to get hold of your cat in a way she can't wiggle out of. If you're lucky, you can hold her in your lap and insert the pill gun in her mouth, but some cats will fight against this kind of restraint. In cases like this, it's best to have another person around to help.

Have one person catch the cat and get down on the floor with her, placing her between his knees while holding the scruff of the neck firmly with one hand and the head pointing away. The other hand should hold the head up from under the chin. The second person should open the cat's mouth, insert the pill gun toward the back of the throat, and press the plunger down all the way until the pill is delivered.

Now, close the cat's mouth, and stroke her throat gently to encourage swallowing. Covering her nostrils with your thumb should also trigger the swallowing reflex. Once she swallows, you should be home free until the next dose is required. However, watch to make sure she hasn't been sly and tucked the pill to the side of her mouth, just waiting for a chance to spit it out.

Never Miss a Dose Again

That's the essential process for using a pill gun to medicate your cat. While Kitty may not appreciate these sessions, they're absolutely necessary for the medication to be effective. Missed doses can result in lost ground when treating an illness, and that's not good for your cat or you.

How to Use a Pill Gun for a Cat