We adopted a bonded pair, and after they settled in for about two weeks and got comfortable with us, we took them for their first vet visit. They both got prescibed antibiotics.

We are able to medicate one of them with no problems (it doesn't matter which one). Whichever one we pick up first, the second one gets wise to what's going on and flees from us and hides in inaccessible places under furniture. Each time it's an ordeal for them and us to drag the second cat out of hiding to be medicated.

Tonight we tried to coordinate between the two of us and pick them both up at the same time, but we just could not make it work. Each time one of them gets away we have to drag them out from under furniture, which we hate doing because it's really traumatic for the cat.

How can we get them to come out for medication?

I tried researching online but most of the material I found was about how to get a pill in the cat's face without getting scratched, which isn't really a problem for us once we actually get ahold of them. They are comfortable climbing on us on and getting treats, but we just didn't have enough time to get them comfortable getting picked up before we started this process.

  • 2
    What form of medication is it? A pill or a liquid? If your cats are comfortable getting treats from you, try giving them very special yummy treats and sneaking a pill in with the treats. But make sure to very thoroughly search the floor in case they spit the pill back out.
    – Elmy
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 5:07
  • They both get a liquid medication (it's flavored for dogs and they hate it) and one of them also needs ear drops
    – RMorrisey
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 5:17
  • The treats they like are the Temptations kind (dry crunchy squares). They eat wet cat food but usually don't eat all of it
    – RMorrisey
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 5:21
  • 2
    All cats hate all kinds of medication, no matter what it supposedly tastes like. Their noses and tongues are so sensitive to the slightest variation of smell or taste, that most just know when you try to smuggle medication in a treat. But sometimes you're lucky that your cat doesn't care. In your situation the best advice I can give is to catch both cats at the sime time, go into a bathroom or another room where there's no furniture to hide and then administer the medicine.
    – Elmy
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 5:22

2 Answers 2


Frame challenge, what you really need to do is medicate two cats successfully, not necessarily at once. Or in other words, medicate one cat without showing the other cat that it is an unpleasant thing.

I'd advise against trying to press the issue when your cats are already resisting or fleeing. While you might be successful this time, you'll make the next time you need to give them their medication even harder.

With daily antibiotics, it typically is not needed to give it to them at exactly the same time, usually it is perfectly fine to give them in roughly the same 6 hour window each day.

So if you started an attempt and it isn't going well, consider aborting before the whole process gets too stressful for you or the cat.

That said, giving medication to particularly difficult cats is never a fun exercise, but it can be a lot easier for all involved parties if you follow a good routine.

You first need to relax.

If you are not relaxed, first try to calm yourself down before you try anything. Your cat can smell your anxiety from two rooms away, it will notice the variance in your breathing pattern, and it'll know something is up right away.

If you are not relaxed, your whole body is basically a giant roaring siren warning your cats of possible danger.

I know this is easier said than done, but it really is key. Do not think about what could possibly go wrong, instead remind and reassure yourself that you will succeed in the end, even if it takes a little while longer.

You then need to get your cat to relax.

Ideally, wait for a moment when your cat is already resting. Bring the medication with you, but do not offer it to the cat yet.

Sit down next to your cat, and pet it, scratch its chin, whatever typically works to get it to purr.

The idea here is to give a clear signal that nothing bad is going to happen.

Give this a good five minutes (depends a bit on the cat, but you know your pets best), reinforce the point that nothing bad is going to happen, and that you are coming with good intentions.

Gently offer the medication.

The key here is offering, as opposed to administering. While this is specific to oral medication, you ideally want your cat to take the medication voluntarily.

It will most likely not work right away, and here you should observe the reaction of your cat.

If it gets agitated, put the medication away again, and go back to step two.

If it only refuses to eat it but isn't getting agitated, you might consider placing the spiked treat in front of it. Continue your petting, and give it a minute or two, it might decide to eat it at some point.

If you are still unsuccessful, abort the exercise and don't despair.

You might not succeed right away, despite doing everything right. Always try to end the exercise on a good note, if you notice your cat getting too agitated or you are starting to get anxious, better stop and try again later.

If you are successful, praise and reward.

Once the deed is done, give some positive reinforcement. Continue the petting for a while afterwards, give the cats their favorite treats, have a play session.


If possible, alternate the timing of the medication. One cat receives meds in the AM and the other in the PM. This won't work if it's a twice daily medication and it's not ideal to make an abrupt switch, but may be possible depending on your circumstances.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.