How to Sedate a Cat Before a Vet Appointment

Written by ann jones
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How to Sedate a Cat Before a Vet Appointment
Veterinarians can prescribe sedatives to be given to cats before their appointments. (cat face image by Viktor Korpan from

Going to the vet is a stressful situation for any cat, which in turn can create a stressful situation for you. If your cat lives indoors, leaving the house for a vet visit may cause her to become agitated. Sedating your cat before you make the trip can help make the experience more pleasant for both of you. Your veterinarian can prescribe a medication ahead of time for you to give to your cat before you bring her in.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Sedative medication
  • Towel
  • Cat treats
  • Helper (optional)

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  1. 1

    Wrap your cat in a towel so that only her head is showing. Lay the towel flat and set your cat in the middle of it. Bring up the two sides and lay one on top of the other. If possible, have a helper hold the cat once she is wrapped in the towel. This helps to immobilise your cat so he can't run away.

  2. 2

    Place your thumb and forefinger on either side of the cat's jaw, at the back of her mouth. Lift her head back so her nose is in the air and press gently until she opens her mouth.

  3. 3

    Use the forefinger of your other hand to open the cat's mouth wider by pressing down on her lower jaw, just beneath her tongue.

  4. 4

    Insert the pill or syringe of liquid at the back of your cat's tongue. Gently close her mouth with the hand that's holding her jaw open and massage her throat until she swallows. This should take only a couple of strokes.

  5. 5

    Give your cat a treat to chase the bad taste of the sedative. Put her in her cat carrier and allow her to relax until it is time to leave for the vet.

Tips and warnings

  • Try coating your cat's pill with a little butter to make it easier to swallow.
  • Use only a sedative prescribed by your vet, in the exact amount prescribed. Do NOT attempt to sedate your pet using human medication, as this could be fatal to your cat.

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