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How To Give A Cat Medicine With A Pill Shooter For Cats

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What Is A Pill Shooter For Cats?

A pill shooter for cats is an aid to assist in dispensing cat medication when the medication is in a pill or capsule form. This is done by inserting a plunger that shoots the pill or capsule into the cat’s mouth.

A pill shooter helps the process of giving a cat medication without the fear of being bitten or scratched in the process and ensures that the cat receives the correct dosage of medication.

A pill shooter for cats is one of those things that every cat owner should have tucked away in the cupboard ready and waiting, just in case…the cat needs a pill!

This is a pill shooter!

 Pet Pill Popper For Dogs and Cats

Why use A Pill Shooter For Cats?

Using a pill shooter to give a cat a pill can significantly ease the process for both the cat and the owner.

A pill shooter, also known as a pill gun, is designed to quickly and safely administer medication to cats, who are often reluctant to take pills.

A pill shooter is especially convenient for feisty or uncooperative cats, as it allows for a faster medication process, reducing the struggle and ensuring that the cat receives the necessary treatment.

The design of the pill shooter is optimized to be quick and efficient, which can make the medication process less stressful for your cat.

How Is A Pill Shooter Used?

cat being given a pill using a pill popper
Holding the cat’s head correctly is pivotal to the success of this procedure.  See more below.

It would be a good idea to have two people when your first use the pill shooter. Once it becomes routine the pill shooter will be easier for one person to manage.

Before beginning the process of using the pill shooter, place the medication into the pill shooter, so that it is ready to be used. The instructions on how to use the pill shooter are below.

  1. One person secures the cat by gently but firmly holding the cats body.  The most comfortable and easiest way to do this is to use a towel and wrap the towel around the cat’s body. The cat can be held comfortably, but still firmly, with the front legs enclosed within the towel. This ensures that paws and claws are safely tucked away.
  2. The pill shooter works in the same way as a syringe.  The pill or capsule is placed into the popper section first.
  3. If you are doing this alone, hold your cat’s head with your non dominant hand. Hold and support the cat’s head.
  4. Pick up the shooter, which already contains the pill, with your other hand and place the popper on top of the tongue and towards the back of the throat.
  5. Quickly and gently push the pill shooter down into the cat’s mouth and depress the plunger.
  6. If your cat does not swallow the tablet, quickly repeat the procedure using a small amount of liquid. This forces the cat to swallow the tablet.

Extra Notes For Using The Pill Shooter: The hand is behind the head, however for most cats it will be necessary to first follow this procedure.

Place that hand, the non dominant hand, on top of the cat’s head, covering the ears, and holding the cheek bones from the back/top of the head whilst at the same time tilting the cats head back.

The cats head should only be tilted so that the cat is looking at the ceiling. This action will cause the mouth to open a little and the pill shooter can be inserted and the plunger depressed.

person using a pill shooter to give a cat medication
It looks awkward but will become second nature!

Pill shooters are suitable to use for pills and capsules.

Sometimes a pill needs to be halved or even quartered which can mean that the size of the pill to be given can be very small and difficult to handle.

In this instance using something called a gel cap (capsule) is what you need to do the job.

What Is A Gel Cap? How is A Gel Cap Used In a Pill Popper?

A gel cap is an empty capsule that is made from gelatin that can be opened and medication put inside.  The gelatin capsule can then be used in the pill popper.

If your cat has several different medications, voila, they can be put together in the one gel cap. This means that all the medication is being given, using the pill popper in one go.

Tip For Success: Cover the gel cap, the capsule or even the pill with a little butter or olive oil to assist with going down smoothly.

Note: Some medications are not suitable to be halved so take the advice of your veterinarian in this instance.

Cat Pill Shooters – One warning

Initially this page had a number of reviews that featured the pill shooters that have the soft silicone tip.

The soft tip mean that it is soft inside the cat’s mouth. Some of these pill poppers stated that they were for a one time use whereas others stated that the pill poppers could be washed and reused along with the soft silicone tip.

After researching these products, we feel that we cannot recommend the pill shooters with the removable silicone tip. There is the chance that the silicone top will pop off or detach from the product. The cat may then swallow the tip. It may be a slim chance but nevertheless it can and does happen. This can result in a huge amount of worry for cat owners, not to mention vet bills if things become more serious.

Pill poppers remain a great solution and they are used by vets.

The ones typically used by the vet don’t have the silicone top. We cannot speak for all vets however, in our opinion, it is better to be on the safe side and avoid pill poppers with the removable silicone tip.

The pill shooter/popper that is okay to use, works in exactly the same way but does not have the silicone tip is shown below.

Butler Sales Bullseye Pill Popper

Pet Pill Popper For Cats

This is pill popper is designed to be used over and over again. There is no removable silicone tip. The ends of the pill popper are curved slightly, to aid with holding the pill.

If the pill you are dispensing is very small, use a pill gel cap as described here or a pill pocket as described here. Both the gel cap and the pill pocket will help to make the job of giving a pill to a cat easier.


This pill shooter has no removable silicone tip.

This pill shooter can be used multiple times.


It is a larger product that some of the products with the removable tip. However cat owners do have success using this product.


This pill shooter comes in a pack of one or a pack of two. They are going to last a long time but it is useful to have a spare. How often does this type of thing, just go missing. The measurements of the pill shooter are 5 x 2 x 0.2 inches (12.7 x 5.1 x 0.5 cm), weighing 1.13 Ounces (32.04 grams)

Still unsure about Using a pill Shooter?

If the thought of using a pill shooter makes you quiver at the knees, you are not alone.

Giving twice daily injections of insulin for a cat with diabetes was something that didn’t thrill me.  Like anything else you do get used to doing these things, when there is no other choice.

Some practice with the pill shooter will have you using it efficiently.

Using a pill shooter takes the stress and drama away from you and your cat, plus you know the cat is actually getting the medication he needs.

What is A Pill Pocket? How is it Used?

However, if you are still not sold on the pill shooter idea, you may want to give these ingenious Pill Pockets a go. They are tasty little morsels (to a cat) with a pocket where the pill is placed. The cat devours the whole pocket as a treat or in his food and so the pill is consumed. 

The pill pocket can go into the pill popper if desired.

 Pill Pockets for Cats Natural Soft Cat Treats, Salmon Flavor

Rather than putting the pocket in the cat’s food it is suggested that the pocket be treated in the same way as an ordinary treat would be given.

There are different flavors to help trick – oops, tempt kitty to eat the treat. The flavors are chicken, salmon and tuna. The pocket is suitable for capsules and tablets.

How To Use The Pill Pocket

  • First of all put the pill into the pocket.
  • Pinch the top together.
  • The sticky texture inside the pocket surrounds and hides the medication. 
  • Now experiment with giving the cat the pocket as a treat, or in his food or if all else fails, in the pill popper.

TOP TIP – As cats have a Very Good Sense Of Smell, do not hold the pocket with the same hand that held the medication.

Having to give your cat a pill is not up there with fun things to do.  

Cats generally don’t fall for the pill buried in the food routine.

A pill shooter and a gel capsule could be your new best friends.

I think I would be prepared to give it a go if there was a treat involved!

More Pill Shooters – Note: Some Have Silicone Tips

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 pill shooter for cats - pinterest image

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