I’m reasonably good at giving medicine to cat. The exact strategy varies a lot from cat to cat, particularly depending on the strength and temperament of the cat, and the nature of the medicine.

Here are a couple of techniques that help:

  1. Wrap the cat in a towel. Cats are covered in pointy things that they will use to great effect on you, even if they don’t mean it and are just panicking.
  2. Scruffing works very well on cats of all shapes and sizes. Grab them by the back of the neck with one hand while you put the pill in their mouth (this significantly reduces the chances of them trying to chow down on your hand too).
  3. Using a pipette dropper of water to squirt into their mouth after you’ve put the pill in there, then hold their mouth shut to make them swallow. Make sure you’re holding the cat firmly when you do this, otherwise the first time you try you might find your cat has teleported across the room.

Additional notes:

  1. If you have a moderately strong cat, it’s going to be very hard to pill them on your own. A second person is very very helpful even with a weak cat. One person does cat control, the other applies medicine and/or water.
  2. Scruffing may not be possible. For example, some medicine you need to apply to the back of the neck. When it’s not, holding them down with thumbs on both shoulder blades seems to work a bit though not as well.
  3. Make sure to check for pill hiding. Cats will often keep the pill in their mouth and then spit it out later. The water and holding their mouth shut helps a lot at preventing this.
  4. Don’t be afraid to use quite a lot of strength. Cats are robust.
  5. Your cat isn’t actually going to hate you for this, at least not for more than about 10 minutes.