24 July 2000 - 24 July 2020

Twenty years online!

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Preparing Your Cat

Methods of Administration

How to Give Medication

How to Give Pills

How to Give Liquids

How to Give Injectables

Pill Pockets and Similar Products


Gelatin Capsules (Gelcaps)

Compounded  Medications

Transdermal Medications




Drug Reference Guides

Medical Abbreviations




Site Overview

Just Diagnosed? What You Need to Know First

Search This Site



What Happens in CKD

Causes of CKD

How Bad is It?

Is There Any Hope?

Acute Kidney Injury



Phosphorus Control


(High Blood Pressure)



Potassium Imbalances

Pyelonephritis (Kidney Infections) and Urinary Tract Infections NEW

Metabolic Acidosis

Kidney Stones



Nausea, Vomiting, Appetite Loss and Excess Stomach Acid

Maintaining Hydration

The B Vitamins (Including Methylcobalamin)




Ways of Assessing Food Content, Including What is Dry Matter Analysis

How to Use the Food Data Tables

USA Canned Food Data

USA Dry Food Data

USA Cat Food Brands: Helpfulness Ratings

USA Cat Food Brands: Contact Details

USA Food Data Book



Coping with CKD

Tanya's Support Group

Success Stories



Important: Crashing

Alphabetical List of Symptoms and Treatments

Fluid and Urinary  Imbalances (Dehydration, Overhydration and Urinary Issues)

Waste Product Regulation Imbalances (Vomiting, Appetite Loss, Excess Stomach Acid, Gastro-intestinal Problems, Mouth Ulcers Etc.)

Phosphorus and Calcium Imbalances

Miscellaneous Symptoms (Pain, Hiding Etc.)



Early Detection

Blood Chemistry: Kidney Function, Potassium, Other Tests (ALT, Amylase, (Cholesterol, Etc.)

Calcium, Phosphorus, Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) and Secondary Hyperparathyroidism

Complete Blood Count (CBC): Red and White Blood Cells: Anaemia and Infection

Urinalysis (Urine Tests)

Other Tests: Ultrasound, Biopsy, X-rays etc.

Renomegaly (Enlarged Kidneys)

Which Tests to Have and Frequency of Testing

Factors that Affect Test Results

Normal Ranges

International and US Measuring Systems



Which Treatments are Essential

Fluid and Urinary Issues (Fluid Retention, Infections, Incontinence, Proteinuria)

Waste Product Regulation (Mouth Ulcers, GI Bleeding, Antioxidants, Adsorbents, Azodyl, Astro's CRF Oil)

Phosphorus, Calcium and Secondary Hyperparathyroidism (Calcitriol)

Phosphorus Binders

Steroids, Stem Cell Transplants and Kidney Transplants

Antibiotics and Painkillers

Holistic Treatments (Including Slippery Elm Bark)

ESAs (Aranesp, Epogen etc.) for Severe Anaemia

General Health Issues in a CKD Cat: Fleas, Arthritis, Dementia, Vaccinations

Tips on Medicating Your Cat

Obtaining Supplies Cheaply in the UK, USA and Canada

Working with Your Vet and Recordkeeping



Nutritional Requirements of CKD Cats

The B Vitamins (Including Methylcobalamin)

What to Feed (and What to Avoid)

Persuading Your Cat to Eat

2007 Food Recall USA



Oral Fluids

Intravenous Fluids

Subcutaneous Fluids

Tips on Giving Subcutaneous Fluids

How to Give Subcutaneous Fluids with a Giving Set

How to Give Subcutaneous Fluids with a Syringe

Subcutaneous Fluids - Winning Your Vet's Support




Heart Problems



Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)


Dental Problems





USA Online

USA Local (Fluids)




The Final Hours

Other People's Losses

Coping with Your Loss




Feline CKD Research, Including Participation Opportunities

CKD Research in Other Species

Share This Site: A Notice for Your Vet's Bulletin Board or Your Local Pet Shop

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Home > Treatments > Tips on Medicating Your Cat



  • With luck, your cat is going to live a long time with CKD, so it pays to learn how to make medicating your cat as easy and stress-free as possible.

  • Many cats dislike being restrained and pilled, so this page explains ways in which to make the process go more smoothly for both of you.

  • There are also links to veterinary drug reference information and how to check for possible drug interactions.

  • For information on cutting amlodipine (Norvasc or Istin, used for hypertension) into cat-sized doses, see All About Hypertension.



Make sure you have been given the correct medication! Mistakes can happen. If you get your next round of supplies in before you have run out, you can check to see if the pills look the same. If you have any concerns, check with the pharmacist and your vet. You can also check some medications online (see below).


Ask your vet before crushing a pill or mixing it with liquid. Some medications are extended release, meaning that giving the pill in crushed form releases all the medication in one go, which might be dangerous with some medications. Other medications may be enteric-coated, meaning they are intended to reach the small intestine intact. Crushing or cutting such pills will stop this happening.


Never give a cat liquid medication from the front. You should always syringe liquid medication from the side of the cat's mouth.


If you forget to give a pill, check with your vet, but the general recommendation is to give it as soon as you remember, unless it is nearly time for the next dose, in which case you should simply give the next dose. So if you find your cat has spit up a daily morning pill six hours after you gave it, you can give it again; but if you find the pill the next day, just before you are due to give the next dose, do not double up but simply give one dose.


Preparing Your Cat

I recommend always telling your cat what you are doing and why, and how it will help them feel better. It may sound strange, but some people have found that their cats tolerate treatment better after they've had it all explained it to them.


You can also choose a special word or phrase that tells your cat you are about to give medication and/or fluids — your cat will soon learn what this means, and will then not be stressed when you approach him/her at other times. It can also be worth using treats after pilling so your cat does not associate pilling only with bad things.


Methods of Administration


There are four main methods of administration, though oral medications are most commonly used:

If you only have to give one or two medications a day that do not have a nasty taste, I would recommend Pill Pockets. I gave my two girls their amlodipine (for hypertension) in Pill Pockets for more than three years. They both loved them, thought they were a treat and ate them willingly (and even asked for more), which meant so much less stress for them and me. I used the salmon flavour.


If you have to give several medications a day, or if you have to give one that tastes unpleasant, I would consider gelatine capsules. You can put several medications in the capsule at once (exactly how many depends on the size of the pills and the size of the capsule) so you only need to pill your cat once, and your cat won't have to taste the nasty pill.


For guidelines on using Epogen, Procrit, Eprex, NeoRecormon or Aranesp, and additional tips, see the Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents page.


For information on how to give Azodyl or Renadyl, click here.


For tips on the Sub-Q process, see How to Give Subcutaneous Fluids with a Giving Set and How to Give Subcutaneous Fluids with a Syringe.


How to Give Medication to a Cat

The Importance of Medicating Your Cat Correctly

It is important to give oral medication correctly, because getting it wrong may cause aspiration pneumonia, i.e. the medication goes down the wrong way, into the windpipe and the lungs rather than to the stomach. This is more common with liquid medications if they are given incorrectly, but may occasionally occur when giving pills.


Pet Place has more information about this.


Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine discusses aspiration pneumonia.


Never give a cat liquid medication from the front. You should always syringe liquid medication from the side of the cat's mouth.


How To Give Pills

The best way to give a pill is for your cat to freely take it from you. There are products which can help with this, see below.


If you do have to place the pill in your cat's mouth, the goal is to get it on the back of your cat's tongue. Tilting the head slightly can help. Hold the mouth shut for a few seconds while the cat swallows it. Some people find blowing gently on their cat's nose after placing the pill on the back of the tongue encourages the cat to swallow.


You might also want to try hiding the taste of your cat's pills, for example by covering them with butter or Primula cheese, or mixing them in baby food. Don't do this with bitter tasting medication such as famotidine (Pepcid) though.


Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has a series of short videos on how to give a cat pills or capsules.


Training cats to love receiving oral medications Yin S is an article by a veterinary behaviourist.


Fundamentally Feline has some helpful tips which some members of Tanya's Support Group find effective, along with a summary sheet.


Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine has a series of photos showing how to give oral medications to a cat.


Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia Support Group has a number of tips on how to make pilling less stressful for you and your cat.


Pet Place describes how to give a pill.


How To Give Liquid Medications

Never give a cat liquid medication from the front. You should always syringe liquid medication from the side of the cat's mouth into the cheek. This helps reduce the risk of aspiration pneumonia.


Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has a video on how to give a cat liquid medications.


The Importance of a Water Chaser

Recent studies have shown that cats find it much easier to swallow pills if they are given some water immediately afterwards. It may also help to give a little water before giving a cat a pill.


Here are some ways of using water chasers:

  • You can use the sort of bottles used for feeding kittens.

  • You can follow pills with some watered-down syringed food.

  • Alternatively you could give a little moist food, such as a spoonful of baby food.

  • Some pillshooters have built in water reservoirs which enable you to give water immediately after  pill.

Suspected clindamycin-associated oesophageal injury in cats: five cases (2006) Beatty JA, Swift N, Foster DJ, Barrs VR Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 8(6) pp412-9 reports on problems resulting from giving medication without food or water chasers. 


Oesophageal transit of capsules in clinically normal cats (2000) Graham JP, Lipman AH, Newell SM & Roberts GD American Journal of Veterinary Research 61(6) pp655-7 recommends feeding a small amount of food after giving medications.


Evaluation of oesophageal transit of tablets and capsules in 30 cats (2001) Westfall DS, Twedt DC, Steyn PF, Oberhauser EB & Van Cleave JW Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 15(5) pp467-70 recommends a water chaser after pilling.


Injectable Medications

Some people prefer to use injectable medications, finding this much less stressful for both themselves and their cats. It also gets around the problem of foul-tasting medicines. If you wish to do this, ask your vet to teach you how to do this safely.


Training your cat to love injections without ruining your relationship Yin S has tips on helping your cat accept injections.


The downsides of injectable medications are that not many medications are available in this form (you cannot inject oral medications, only medications formulated specifically for injection), those that are available are usually relatively expensive, and in most cases they only last for a month Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains more about this).


Products to Help With Giving Pills: Pill Pockets and Similar Products


I am not very good at pilling, so I try to use products which are intended to make the process less stressful for all concerned. Possible products to use include Pill Pockets, Flavor Doh, Pill Wraps, Goofurr or Lick-e-Lix.


Pill Pockets

Pill Pockets are chicken, salmon or tuna and cheese flavoured treats (45 to a pack) with a hidden pocket in which to hide your cat's medication.


A comparative study evaluating the esophageal transit time of eight healthy cats when pilled with the FlavoRx pill glide versus pill delivery treats (2010) Bennett AD, MacPhail CM, Gibbons DS & Lappin MR Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 12 p286 found that Pill Pockets work well for getting medication into a cat and reduce the risk of problems with the pill getting stuck in the oesophagus.


When both my cats were on medication for high blood pressure, I found Pill Pockets a godsend. They both took their medication happily, thinking it was a treat.


Unfortunately a CKD cat who doesn't feel well might not eat Pill Pockets, and some cats do go off them, but if you don't use them for bitter-tasting medications (such as famotidine (Pepcid)), you improve your chances of ongoing acceptability. You can also give a few empty Pill Pockets, with the odd one containing the medication (always end with an empty one). My girls ate them happily every day for more than three years. Although they didn't have CKD, Indie was even happy to eat hers when she refused to eat normal food because of dental problems.


Some people find that, if they are only giving small amounts of medication, they only need to use half of a Pill Pocket, which means they last twice as long. I did this with my girls, since it can be hard (though not impossible) to get Pill Pockets in the UK. One member of Tanya's Support Group found that Pill Pockets  stay fresher longer if they are kept in the fridge.


I am occasionally asked if Pill Pockets are high in phosphorus. Actually, they aren't, they have only around 0.64% phosphorus on a dry matter analysis basis, but since you only give one or two a day, I would not be too concerned if they had higher phosphorus levels.


Maropitant (Cerenia) should not be given in Pill Pockets or mixed with food as this may stop it being properly absorbed in the cat's body, though some people do give them this way, apparently with no problems.




Pill Pockets USA

I used to buy Pill Pockets from Wholefoods. One person found Pill Pockets at her local Costco pharmacy for US$4.95 a packet.


Vitacost sells 45 Pill Pockets for US$6.49.


Entirely Pets sell 45 pill pockets for US$6.49.


Thriving Pets sell 45 Pill Pockets for US$7.95.


Other Pilling Products USA


Flavor Doh

A similar product but it comes in a tub and you use enough to wrap around the pill. It is available from Healthy Pets.


Pill Wraps

Pill Wraps (sometimes known as Pillmasker) are a similar product made by Vetoquinol. They are available from a variety of sources, including Entirely Pets and Chewy.


Tomlyn Pill Masker

This is a bacon flavoured wrap product which some people have found helpful. It is available from Amazon.



Goofurr is a paste made from smoked salmon. Apparently most cats will eat it willingly, but you can also smear it, complete with medication, onto your cat's fur and the cat will lick it off. (Well, that's the theory. When I gave Harpsie a similar product once, he carefully wiped his paw on my cream sofa).


Shipping is quite expensive. Several members of Tanya's CKD Support Group have tried it and found it effective.


Vet Chews and Gourmeds

BCP Vet Chews

Made by BCP Veterinary Pharmacy, which will compound your cat's medications into flavoured chews.


Wedgewood Pharmacy

Sells Gourmeds, another type of flavoured chew.


Other compounding pharmacies may be able to offer a similar service.




Pill Pockets UK

Unfortunately Pill Pockets are not available in Europe, and the manufacturers have no plans to introduce them into this market, but there are ways to obtain them:


Amazon UK sells Pill Pockets for £9.93 with free shipping. I have bought these myself, ordering on a Saturday, and they arrived the following Wednesday. Unfortunately they are not always in stock, however, if you wait a few days they usually reappear. If you are desperate, they are also usually available from other sellers based in the USA, but with very high shipping costs and they may take longer to arrive. If they are not in stock at the free shipping price and you need them urgently, it can be worth checking amazon.com too, because the sellers there may charge you less overall.


Vitacost in the USA sells Pill Pockets for US$6.49 per pack plus international shipping, which is calculated by weight but which costs roughly USD6.99 for small, lightweight orders and takes 7-14 days. Vitacost have local phone numbers in UK, Australia and Hong Kong. I have not used Vitacost to ship to the UK, but I used them within the USA and they were very efficient and very fast.


Other Pilling Products UK



Lick-e-Lix is a product with a yoghurty texture which can be used to disguise tablets, especially crushed up tablets. Some people also find these helpful for encouraging their cats to eat.


One member of Tanya's Support Group asked the manufacturer about Lick-e-Lix and was told the phosphorus level was around 1.1%.


Amazon sells Lick-e-Lix in salmon flavour.



Easypill Cat is a similar product to Flavor-Doh that is available in the UK.




Pill Pockets Canada

Amazon Canada sells Pill Pockets.




If your cat is hard to pill, it can sometimes help to use a pillshooter. Here is a picture of one we purchased from our vet for £1.25. You can buy some pillshooters with built in water reservoirs, so that you can follow the pill immediately with some water as recommended above.


Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine has a series of photos showing how to give oral medications with a pillshooter.


In the USA, the Buster pet piller, which allows you to give water after the pill, is available from Jeffers Pet for US$2 or from Amazon for US$9.99.


Entirely Pets sells a pillgun which costs US$2.29.




Pillcrushers can be helpful if you need to crush a tablet before dividing it into cat-sized doses. Amazon sells one. Check with your vet before using one, because not every medication should be crushed.


Gelatin Capsules


If you have to give your cat several medications, it can be much easier to give them all at once by placing all the medications in an empty gelatin capsule (sometimes referred to as gelcaps in the USA) and just giving the one capsule; this also gets round the problem of foul-tasting medicines. 

Gelatin Capsules: How To Use

You buy empty gelatin capsules and fill them with the medications of your choice (though check with your vet about the combinations you have in mind, since not all medications can be taken with others).


It may help to coat the capsule in butter before giving it to your cat: most cats like the taste of butter and it helps the gelcap go down smoothly.


It is also helpful to follow any medications with water (see the importance of a water chaser).


Gelatin Capsules: Sizes

Gelatin capsules come in various sizes, from 000 - 5, with size 5 being the smallest.


As a general rule, you need the smaller sizes for cats, and most people on Tanya's CKD Support Group use size 3-4, or occasionally sizes 2 or 5, depending upon how many medications they will be putting in the capsule and how big their cat is. 


If you can only buy size 0 or size 1, one member found that if she took the capsule apart and cut part off the top of one end, when it was reassembled it was smaller and easier to give.


Torpac sizes shows actual sizes of capsules from one manufacturer and gives some indication of how much you can fit in each capsule size.


Torpac also provides a pdf dosing guide.


Torpac dimensions gives the dimensions of the capsules.


Gelatin Capsules: How To Fill

Filling gelatin capsules can be a bit fiddly so most people set up a little production line and fill several at one time. After all, what else are Sunday afternoons for? (Cake, if you ask me).


The easiest way to fill gelcaps is usually to buy a funnel. You can buy funnels from some pharmacies or at Bed, Bath and Beyond (they are sometimes used to decant perfume), but you need to be sure the funnel you buy will fit your capsules.


Torpac sells little funnels which fit their capsules. You have to specify which size capsules you are using, but people have told me the funnels may also work for a size smaller too e.g. a size 4 funnel may work for both size 4 and size 5 capsules.


Empty Caps Company sells a number of capsule fillers starting at US$19.95 plus shipping. It also sells capsules in various sizes.


Some people use otoscopes, available from Amazon here and here.


Holding trays can be useful to hold the capsules while you are filling them. Capsuline sells these in various sizes for US$9.99. They are also available from Amazon.


Other people fold a piece of paper or foil and pour the contents into the capsules.


Gelatin Capsules: Where to Buy

It used to be difficult to find capsules but fortunately they are now widely available, as follows:

Gelatin Capsules: US Suppliers

Many health food shops or compounding pharmacies sell empty gelcaps. Health food shops usually sell the NOW brand in a size 3. If they don't have them in stock, they can usually order them for you quite quickly.


Thriving Pets

Sell a variety of gelcaps from size 0 - size 5, with prices between US$3 and US$9 for 100. If you enter the word "tanya" (without the ") in the promotional code box, you will receive a 10% discount on orders over US$100. Shipping is free for orders over US$49 (after the discount).



Sells size 3 chicken flavoured Cat Caps for US$26.20 per 1000 plus shipping.


Capsule Direct

Sells 1000 size 3 capsules for US$9.


Capsule Supplies

Sell 1000 size 3 capsules for US$13.99.


Capsule Supplies

Sell 1000 size 5 capsules for US$9.99.



Sells NOW size 3 capsules.


Gelatin Capsules: UK Suppliers

Amazon UK

Sells 200 size 3 capsules for £2.72 plus £2.92 shipping.


Pure Capsules

sell 100 size 4 capsules for £1.07 and 500 for £5.35. I don't know anybody who has used this company yet. Their English is not that of a native speaker, though they are supposedly based in Corby.


Some of the US sellers above, such as Capsule Supplies, will ship to the UK, though shipping costs are likely to be high.


Gelatin Capsules: Canadian Suppliers

Capella Enterprises

Sell capsules in varying sizes. They cost CAN$15.55 for 1000 size 4, plus tax and shipping and handling of around CAN$10.


Thriving Pets

Sell a variety of gelcaps from size 0 - size 5, with prices between US$3 and US$9 for 100. If you enter the word "tanya" (without the ") in the promotional code box, you will receive a 10% discount on orders over US$100. Shipping is free for orders over US$49 (after the discount).



Sells size 3 chicken flavoured Cat Caps for US$26.20 per 1000 plus shipping. Will ship to Canada.


Compounded Medications


In the USA and some other countries, it is possible to have medications compounded into a base of your choosing. These can be in either pill, liquid or capsule form.


Common flavours popular with cats are fish, chicken etc. Not all cats like the taste of compounded medications, and they are relatively expensive, but they are worth considering for hard-to-pill cats. Compounding is essential for calcitriol — it is the only way to obtain cat-sized doses, and it seems to work very well in compounded form.


See below for information on finding a compounding pharmacy.


Compounded medications have a short shelf life, a maximum of thirty days for many medications, so check with the pharmacist and be sure not to use a product beyond its expiry date. If the product you are purchasing has a longer shelf life, it is often not much more expensive to buy 60 days worth of medication than it is to buy 30 days. 


Do double check with your pharmacist regarding the medication you are considering having compounded, and consider switching to pills if the compounded form does not seem to be working as well as you expected. If you use a liquid compounded medicine, be sure to shake it very well before giving it to your cat.


Confounding compounding is a 2009 report from the Veterinary Information Network on the pros and cons of compounded medications.


FDA calls veterinary compounding at Francks illegal is a report from April 2010 on how and why the FDA appears to be clamping down on the compounding of medications for veterinary use.


Compounding Pharmacies USA

Alliance for Pharmacy Compounding

You can type in your zipcode and how far you are prepared to travel and you will be given details of suitable pharmacies. This site also provides details of compounding pharmacies in Spain, Portugal, Canada, Chile, Brazil and Australia.


Mar Vista Vet

Has a list of some compounding pharmacies in USA.


Pet Health Pharmacy

Can provide a number of different medications.


BCP Veterinary Pharmacy

Can compound your cat's medications into flavoured chews.


Wedgewood Pharmacy

Sells Gourmeds, another type of flavoured chew.


Compounding Pharmacies UK

In the UK, compounding (known as "unlicensed specials") is not very common and often very expensive.


This is because UK law requires veterinary surgeons to comply with something known as the veterinary cascade, whereby vets must prescribe medicines in a particular order, starting first with medications approved specifically for the veterinary market and only moving on to other products if there is a valid medical reason for doing so (e.g. the cat is allergic to something in the licensed veterinary product). The British Small Animal Veterinary Association explains more about how it works.


Beva explains how the cascade works and how specials fit into it.


The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh has a list of UK specials manufacturers.


Summit Veterinary Pharmaceuticals Limited sells amlodipine (for high blood pressure) in cat-sized 0.625mg doses. My vet obtained these for me and I found them very effective.


The Specials Laboratory can compound famotidine into cat-sized doses and will quote for other medications.


Transdermal Medications


With some medications, it is possible to have them compounded into a transdermal gel, which is rubbed on the inside of the cat's ear and absorbed through the cat's skin. This is usually much less stressful for both the cat and the caregiver.


Wedgewood Pharmacy has more information about transdermal medications.


Advances in transdermal drug delivery (2013) Mills P Presentation to the 38th World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress discusses the mechanism of transdermal medications and factors which affect their efficacy.


Drug compounding for veterinary patients (2005) Papich MG  American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Journal 07(02) ppE281-E287 discusses the use of compounded medications, including transdermals, and states that evidence to date suggests that "absorption was incomplete, nonexistent, or highly inconsistent among cats."


Trandermal Medications: Suitable Medications

Medications that appear to be effective when given transdermally include methimazole for hyperthyroidism and mirtazapine (an appetite stimulant).


If you do use transdermal medications, you should apply them using gloves so as to avoid absorbing any of the medication through your own skin. The Veterinary Information Network has some information on this. You should also clean your cat's ears regularly so the medication can be absorbed properly.


Efficacy and safety of transdermal methimazole in the treatment of cats with hyperthyroidism (2004) Sartor LL, Trepanier LA, Kroll MM, Rodan I & Challoner LJ Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 18(5) pp651-5 found that transdermal methimazole (for hyperthyroidism) took longer to work than oral medications but appeared to have fewer side effects.


Hyperthyroid cats and transdermal methimazole is a helpful video which explains more about how to use transdermal medications in cats with hyperthyroidism. It includes tips on cleaning your cat's ears.


Not Suitable Medications

It is wiser not to give certain medications transdermally because they do not all give good and/or consistent results. This applies in particular to:

  • antibiotics

  • heart medications

  • blood pressure medications

Some members of Tanya's CKD Support Group have found for example that transdermal amlodipine has not successfully controlled their cat's blood pressure, whereas amlodipine tablets have done so.


Also, some cats may develop sore ears where the compounded medications are applied; alternating ears may help with this. 


Do double check with your pharmacist and consider switching to pills if the transdermal form of the medication does not seem to be working as well as you expected.




Since cats often require low dosages of medication, you often have to cut tablets in order to give them the correct dose. This is particularly hard with ranitidine, where you often have to cut the tablets into eighths.


Invest in a pillcutter (Betterware sell them for about £4, or you can often find them in chemists), and apply hard, fast taps when you cut the tablet — don't try to cut it slowly or the pill will crumble.


Walgreens sells the Apex brand for US$3.979. I have two of these and really like this model — it cuts well, and has a useful little container to hold the pills after you've cut them.


For information on cutting amlodipine (Norvasc or Istin, used for hypertension) into cat-sized doses, see  Hypertension.




It can be fiddly working out suitable timings for your cat's medications, particularly if you work outside the home and are using medications that need to be given apart from other medications. It does not help that some medications need to be given with food and some away from food.


Pill Pockets or gelatin capsules can help for meds that can be given together. With gelatin capsules, you can package your cat's medications in advance (see above).


Here is a sample timing schedule based on commonly used medications (not all of these will be needed for your cat). It should be noted that slippery elm bark and phosphorus binders ideally should be given apart from other medications, but phosphorus binders should be given with food. Check your other medications against a drug interaction website (see below), and double check with your vet or pharmacist.


07.30   a.m. In a gelatin capsule: famotidine, B complex, mirtazapine, MiraLAX, pain medications, antibiotics

08.30   a.m. Breakfast mixed with methylcobalamin and phosphorus binder if required

Daytime       Food with added phosphorus binder

06.30   p.m. In a gelatin capsule: B complex, mirtazapine, pain medications, antibiotics

07:30   p.m. Dinner mixed with methylcobalamin and phosphorus binder if required

11.00 p.m.   Famotidine


Medisafe is an app that can be used to log and remind you about when medication is due.


Metric and American Measurements


It can be confusing when you are trying to measure medications because Americans are used to thinking in pounds and ounces but the veterinary recommendations are often in kg and g and mg. It may help to know that:

  • a kg is 2.2 lbs.

  • A pound is a little under 500g.

  • 100g is roughly 3.5 ounces.

  • teaspoons vary in size, but a teaspoonful is usually considered to be the equivalent of 5ml. If you are given medication in the UK with a teaspoon included, it will hold 5ml or 5g.

  • one advantage of the metric system is that measurements are uniform, so for example (if you are measuring volume) 1cc is the same as 1 ml.

Convert Units will help you with calculations.


Measuring Small Amounts

If you need to measure small amounts, Amazon sells Norpro measuring spoon for a pinch, smidgen etc. A member of my support group measured these spoons and said that the spoons measured as follows:


Spoon Size Holds (tsp)
Tad 1/4
Dash 1/8
Pinch 1/16
Smidgen 1/32
Drop 1/64


Amazon also sells an "odd sizes" set of measuring spoons which includes two thirds of a teaspoon and an eighth of a teaspoon.


Drug Reference Guides


Commonly Used Medications

VetBook has a list of medications commonly used in cats with details of typical dosing.


US National Library of Medicine allows you to search for medication by pill shape and colour.


Finding the right balance: medical management of renal patients (2014) Vaden SL Eukanuba Veterinary Diets Clinical Symposium pp11-14 has a list of drugs commonly used in CKD cats on page 12.


Pet Place has a drug library which offers information on 105 different drugs.


PetCoach also has a drug library with information on various medications.


Dosage Adjustments in CKD Cats

Drug dose adjustments for disease (2010) Trepanier LA CVC in Washington Proceedings discusses the need to adjust dosing levels for some medications when diseases including CKD are present.


Chronic renal insufficiency and its associated disorders: kitty kidneys and the kitchen sink (2007) Scherk M The 2007 Nestlé Purina Veterinary Symposium on Companion Animal Medicine also discusses adjusting dosages in CKD cats.


Possible Interactions

Mar Vista Vet has helpful information on various drugs, including how they work and possible interactions and side-effects.


Express Scripts allows you to type in the names of medications and check for interactions. It also allows you to see photos of a medication in various strengths. The information is human-based but can be a helpful starting point.


Books: Plumb's Veterinary Drugs Handbook

Plumb's Veterinary Drugs Handbook


This is an excellent reference book. The Ninth Edition was published in February 2018. It is available from Amazon in the USA and from Amazon UK.


Medical Abbreviations


The most commonly seen abbreviations on medications are:

SID (semel in die): once a day

BID: twice a day

TID: three times a day

PRN: as needed. This can be helpful on prescriptions because it can enable you to order more of an item when you run out without needing to obtain a new prescription (though prescriptions are normally only valid for a maximum of one year).

The University of Illinois has information on veterinary abbreviations.




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This page last updated: 07 September 2020


Links on this page last checked: 07 September 2020







I have tried very hard to ensure that the information provided in this website is accurate, but I am NOT a vet, just an ordinary person who has lived through CKD with three cats. This website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat any cat. Before trying any of the treatments described herein, you MUST consult a qualified veterinarian and obtain professional advice on the correct regimen for your cat and his or her particular requirements; and you should only use any treatments described here with the full knowledge and approval of your vet. No responsibility can be accepted.


If your cat appears to be in pain or distress, do not waste time on the internet, contact your vet immediately.



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