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The 7 Best Cat Foods To Hide Pills In

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Kate Barrington / Cats.com

There’s no surefire method for administering medication—every cat is different. The best method is the one that is safe, fast, and stress-free for your cat. Trying to get a cat to willingly swallow medication, however, can be an exercise in frustration.

If you can disguise the scent and flavor of the pill, you might be able to sneak it past your cat’s finely attuned senses. Hiding your cat’s medicine in food or treats is a simple and often effective solution. Here are seven of the best cat foods to hide pills in.

At a Glance: The Best Cat Foods To Hide Medication

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2748
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features
reviewed
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7
top
picks
Overall Best
10.0
Picked by 31 people today!

Stella & Chewy’s Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

  • Made with 98% rabbit meat, organs, and bone
  • Very nutrient- and calorie-dense
  • Easy to rehydrate or mold around medication
Runner Up
9.8
Picked by 31 people today!

Tiki Cat Succulent Chicken Recipe in Chicken Consomme

  • Finely shredded texture
  • Very high in protein and low in carbs
  • Rich source of hydrating moisture
Best Chunky Cat Food
9.5
Picked by 25 people today!

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Cuts & Gravy Wet Cat Food Topper

  • Big chunks of food in savory gravy
  • Large pieces make it easy to mix in medicine
  • Made with a single source of animal protein
Best Shredded Cat Food
9.4
Picked by 21 people today!

Wellness CORE Simply Shreds Grain-Free Wet Cat Food Topper

  • Rich source of protein and hydrating moisture
  • Made with a single animal-sourced main ingredient
  • Easily digestible and appealing to cats
Best Smooth Cat Food
9.3
Picked by 18 people today!

Tiki Cat Special Function Formula Wet Cat Food

  • Smooth mousse-like texture
  • Rich in moisture and animal-sourced protein
  • Easy to hide pills or mix with powdered medication
Best Soft Treat
9.2
Picked by 18 people today!

Inaba Churu Bites Wraps Soft & Chewy Cat Treats

  • High in protein, low in carbs
  • Soft center perfect for hiding capsules
  • Packaged in small portions for freshness
Best Lickable Treat
9.1
Picked by 18 people today!

Catit Creamy Lickable Cat Treats

  • Individually packaged in ½-ounce tubes
  • Soft treat sticks to capsules and tablets
  • Contains 50% dry matter protein

Why Hide Medicine in Cat Food?

Whether it’s a daily supplement or an oral treatment for health issues, giving your cat medication can be challenging. Pill pockets may work for some cats, but others won’t be fooled. The alternative—giving medication by hand or using a pill popper—can be stressful for both you and your cat.

Getting your cat to swallow the pill without fuss is the goal and hiding it in food or treats is an easy way to accomplish it. The best option is a type of food or treat that conceals the pill entirely.

Much like a pill pocket, dampened freeze-dried cat food and certain soft treats can be molded around a capsule or tablet and concealed in your cat’s bowl. Lickable cat treats are another practical choice—depending on the size of the pill, your cat may lick it up along with the treat.

It may also work to hide the pill in a portion of wet cat food. Shredded and chunky wet foods are the most likely to be effective because your cat has to take large bites. Broths, purees, mousses, and gravies help disguise the medication’s odor, so your cat may not notice it as they’re eating.

Why Trust Cats.com

Before making my product selections, I performed in-depth research on methods for pilling a cat. Guided by my research and input from veterinarian Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM, CVJ, I selected a variety of cat food types and treats to test with my three cats: Bagel, Biscuit, and Munchkin.

Fortunately, my cats have always been healthy and do not require medication with any regularity. So, to test the products on this list, I used a daily probiotic supplement popular on Chewy —Nutramax Proviable-DC. It’s a small gel capsule.

While testing the products on this list, I made note of my cat’s interest in the food with and without the probiotic hidden in it. I gave my cats the freedom to eat normally and noted whether they consumed the capsule or ate around it. I also made notes about how easy it was to conceal the pill and how much of the food was required. Of course, other users’ experiences will vary due to different cat temperaments, medication types, and other factors.

The 7 Best Cat Foods To Hide Pills In

#1 Overall Best: Stella & Chewy’s Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

Kate Barrington / Cats.com

Made with 98% rabbit meat, organs, and bone, this freeze-dried recipe is a carnivore-appropriate choice. It’s a single-species recipe, so it may be a good option for cats with sensitive digestion or food allergies. It’s a high-protein formula with fairly low carbohydrate content. Because it’s so nutrient- and calorie-dense, the average 10-pound cat only needs to eat about 1 ½ ounces per day.

This recipe comes in oblong morsels which are intended to be rehydrated before feeding. I use Stella & Chewy’s as my cats’ staple diet and typically crush the morsels before soaking them in warm water. To make sure the probiotic was fully concealed, however, I slightly dampened a morsel and molded it around the pill. My cats ate it without seeming to notice.

Ingredients

Rabbit with Ground Bone, Rabbit Liver, Olive Oil, Pumpkin Seeds, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Dried Pediococcus Acidilactici Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus, Dried Bifidobacterium Longum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Dandelion, Dried Kelp, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Sodium Selenite, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein: 44%
Crude Fat: 30%
Crude Fiber: 5%
Moisture: 5%

Dry Matter Basis

Protein: 46.32%
Fat: 31.58%
Fiber: 5.26%
Carbs: 16.84%

Caloric Weight Basis

Protein: 33.12%
Fat: 54.84%
Carbs: 12.04%

What We Liked

  • Made with 98% rabbit meat, organs, and bone
  • Very nutrient- and calorie-dense
  • Easy to rehydrate or mold around medication
  • Cats really seem to enjoy the rabbit flavor

What We Didn’t Like

  • It’s the most expensive flavor from this brand
  • Low moisture content—should be rehydrated before feeding

#2 Runner Up: Tiki Cat Succulent Chicken Recipe in Chicken Consomme

Kate Barrington / Cats.com

Featuring just three primary ingredients, this Tiki Cat formula is rich in protein with very low carbohydrate content. Chicken is the sole source of protein, yielding a dry matter protein content of 80%. I’d prefer to see chicken fat or fish oil over sunflower seed oil as the only source of added fat, but the food should be easily digestible for most cats.

Like many Tiki Cat canned foods, this recipe has a finely shredded texture. This makes it easy to tuck a capsule or tablet into the food, and the broth soaks into the medicine to further disguise the flavor. Though Biscuit couldn’t try this flavor because she’s allergic to chicken, my other two cats really enjoyed it.

Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Sunflower Seed Oil, Calcium Lactate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Salt, Magnesium Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Zinc Oxide, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Pantothenate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein: 16%
Crude Fat: 2.6%
Moisture: 80%

Dry Matter Basis

Protein: 80%
Fat: 13%
Carbs: 7%

Caloric Weight Basis

Protein: 67.47%
Fat: 26.63%
Carbs: 5.9%

What We Liked

  • Finely shredded texture
  • Very high in protein and low in carbs
  • Rich source of hydrating moisture
  • Made with a single source of animal protein

What We Didn’t Like

  • Relies on plant-sourced fat
  • Very low calorie content, may require large portions

#3 Best Chunky Cat Food: Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Cuts & Gravy Real Rabbit Wet Cat Food Topper

Kate Barrington / Cats.com

Made with a single source of protein, this limited-ingredient cat food topper is rich in protein and hydrating moisture. While my cats enjoy the rabbit flavor, it’s also available in chicken, duck, salmon, and tuna flavors. The short list of ingredients makes it easily digestible, though some cats experience loose stools from foods thickened with guar gum.

Before I switched to freeze-dried food, I frequently used Instinct Cuts & Gravy as a meal topper. My cats love lapping up the gravy. The chunks of food are large enough that cats have to take pretty big bites, which makes it harder to avoid medicine hidden in the food. The smell and flavor of this food appear to be very appealing to cats.

Ingredients

Water, Rabbit, Rabbit Liver, Ground Dried Chickpeas, Guar Gum, Natural Flavor, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Sodium Carbonate.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein: 7%
Crude Fat: 2.5%
Crude Fiber: 2%
Moisture: 82%

Dry Matter Basis

Protein: 38.89%
Fat: 13.89%
Fiber: 11.11%
Carbs: 36.11%

Caloric Weight Basis

Protein: 35.77%
Fat: 31.02%
Carbs: 33.21%

What We Liked

  • Big chunks of food in savory gravy
  • Large pieces make it easy to mix in medicine
  • Made with a single source of animal protein
  • Rich source of hydrating moisture

What We Didn’t Like

  • Intended for supplemental feeding only
  • Fairly high carbohydrate content

#4 Best Shredded Cat Food: Wellness CORE Simply Shreds Grain-Free Wet Cat Food Topper

Kate Barrington / Cats.com

For cats who prefer broth-style foods, this Wellness CORE recipe may be a good choice. It comes in chicken or seafood flavors and features chunks and shreds of meat with plenty of broth. Made with just one ingredient besides broth and water, this chicken-based formula is intended for supplemental feeding. It’s a rich source of animal protein and hydrating moisture.

Like the previous pick, this recipe should be paired with a nutritionally balanced staple diet. I found it worked both as a topper and a stand-alone food to hide pills. To use it as a meal topper with dry food, I placed the pill on top of the kibble and then poured the topper over it. As a stand-alone product, I drained off a little of the broth and tucked the pill in amongst the chunks.

Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Water Sufficient For Processing.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein: 12%
Crude Fat: 0.5%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 90%

Dry Matter Basis

Protein: 120%
Fat: 5%
Fiber: 10%

Caloric Weight Basis

Protein: 90.81%
Fat: 9.19%

What We Liked

  • Rich source of protein and hydrating moisture
  • Made with a single animal-sourced main ingredient
  • Easily digestible and appealing to cats

What We Didn’t Like

  • Intended for supplemental feeding only
  • Might be too soupy for some cats

#5 Best Smooth Cat Food: Tiki Cat Special Function Formula Fussy Duck Liver & Egg in Broth Wet Cat Food

Kate Barrington / Cats.com

This Tiki Cat formula has a smooth, mousse-like texture, making it a great choice for seniors and cats with dental problems. It’s made with a protein-rich combination of chicken, duck liver, and egg. Though sunflower seed oil is the main source of added fat, it also contains omega-3-rich tuna oil.

Tiki Cat offers an array of mousse-style foods, all of which are likely to be similarly effective in hiding medication. I squeezed a little into a bowl, added the pill, then covered it with more food. Though it works well with both capsules and tablets, this smooth cat food would also be a good choice to mix with powdered medication. The food seemed to do a good job of disguising the medication—Bagel ate the probiotic even when it was the last thing remaining in the bowl.

Ingredients

Chicken Broth, Chicken, Duck Liver, Dried Egg, Pumpkin, Sunflower Seed Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Xanthan Gum, Ginger Powder, Tuna Oil, Magnesium Sulfate, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Zinc Oxide, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein: 10%
Crude Fat: 5%
Crude Fiber: 2%
Moisture: 82%

Dry Matter Basis

Protein: 55.56%
Fat: 27.78%
Fiber: 11.11%
Carbs: 5.56%

Caloric Weight Basis

Protein: 43.21%
Fat: 52.47%
Carbs: 4.32%

What We Liked

  • Smooth mousse-like texture
  • Rich in moisture and animal-sourced protein
  • Easy to hide pills or mix with powdered medication
  • Very low in carbohydrates

What We Didn’t Like

  • Relies primarily on plant-sourced fat
  • Gum thickeners may cause loose stools in some cats

#6 Best Soft Treat: Inaba Churu Bites Wraps Soft & Chewy Cat Treats

Kate Barrington / Cats.com

Made with chicken, tuna, and egg white, these chewy cat treats contain nearly 80% protein (measured as dry matter). They have a creamy center and a soft outside. To ensure freshness, they’re sold in an 8-pack of individually packaged portions. These treats are free from carrageenan but do contain guar gum which triggers loose stools in some cats.

I chose these treats specifically as an alternative to pill pockets. They worked exactly as intended, though they were smaller than I anticipated. I was able to insert the probiotic into the creamy center and my cats ate the treat without complaint. Though perfect for small capsules, these treats may be too small for large tablets.

Ingredients

Chicken, Water, Tuna, Tapioca, Egg White, Sodium Caseinate, Guar Gum, Natural Chicken Flavor, Yeast Extract, Vitamin E Supplement, Paprika Oleoresin (Color), Green Tea Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein: 22%
Crude Fat: 3%
Crude Fiber: 0.5%
Moisture: 72%

Dry Matter Basis

Protein: 78.57%
Fat: 10.71%
Fiber: 1.79%
Carbs: 8.93%

Caloric Weight Basis

Protein: 69.21%
Fat: 22.92%
Carbs: 7.87%

What We Liked

  • High in protein, low in carbs
  • Soft center perfect for hiding capsules
  • Packaged in small portions for freshness

What We Didn’t Like

  • Contains carrageenan
  • Gum thickeners cause loose stools in some cats

#7 Best Lickable Treat: Catit Creamy Lickable Cat Treats

Kate Barrington / Cats.com

Individually packaged in ½-ounce tubes, this lickable cat treat has a creamy texture. It’s made with chicken and chicken liver, with a little tapioca starch and locust bean gum to achieve the desired consistency. It contains 50% protein measured as dry matter with added taurine, an essential amino acid for cats.

Though similar to the Tiki Cat mousse-style food above, this Catit lickable cat treat was a little more effective. It has a sticky texture, so my cats lapped up the probiotic right along with the treat—it didn’t get left in the bottom of the bowl.

Ingredients

Water Sufficient For Processing, Chicken, Modified Tapioca Starch, Natural Flavor, Chicken Liver, Rice Bran Oil, Locust Bean Gum, Taurine.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein: 5%
Crude Fat: 1%
Crude Fiber: 2%
Moisture: 90%

Dry Matter Basis

Protein: 50%
Fat: 10%
Fiber: 20%
Carbs: 20%

Caloric Weight Basis

Protein: 53.03%
Fat: 25.76%
Carbs: 21.21%

What We Liked

  • Individually packaged in ½-ounce tubes
  • Soft treat sticks to capsules and tablets
  • Contains 50% dry matter protein

What We Didn’t Like

  • Gum thickeners cause loose stools in some cats
  • Fairly high in carbohydrates

8 Other Foods To Try

Sardines were by far my cats’ favorite non-cat-food option for hiding pills. Munchkin eagerly devoured her sardine and the probiotic along with it. Kate Barrington / Cats.com

While hiding medication in food formulated for cats is ideal, it may not always work. If your cat is particularly fussy or has a very low appetite, they may find something outside the norm more appealing. Avoid foods that are toxic to cats and remember: meaty foods are the most likely to catch your cat’s attention.

Here are some foods that might work to conceal medication:

  • Sardines
  • Canned tuna
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Boiled chicken
  • Hot dogs
  • Meat baby food
  • Lunch meat

My cats showed no interest in peanut butter or butter. It was easy to mold a pinch of cheese around a pill, but Bagel simply ate around it. The favorite, by far, was sardines. I’d recommend choosing sardines packed in water rather than oil to moderate the fat and calorie content.

Processed meat products like hot dogs and lunch meat should be a last resort. I was successful in feeding my cats supplements hidden in pieces of hotdog and ham, but foods like this are high in sodium. There’s also a higher risk of processed foods containing artificial additives.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can cats smell medicine in their food?

Yes. Cats have very sensitive noses and the odor of food plays a key role in determining its palatability for cats. Unless the food has a strong smell or completely covers the pill, your cat may smell it and refuse it.

What is better than pill pockets for cats?

Pill pockets are easy to use—you simply insert the pill and mold the treat around it. But some cats catch on quickly and start to refuse them. A highly palatable wet food or treat may be more effective in disguising the medicine’s smell and flavor.

Is it okay to cut or crush pills for cats?

Cutting and crushing your cat’s pills makes it easier to hide them in food but some medications become ineffective if altered. Always ask your veterinarian or refer to the instructions on the packaging first.

Note: The values in our nutrient charts are automatically calculated based on the guaranteed analysis and may not represent typical nutrient values. This may lead to discrepancies between the charts and the values mentioned in the body of the review.
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About Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is a writer with over twelve years of experience in the pet industry. She is an NAVC-certified Pet Nutrition Coach and has completed coursework in therapeutic nutrition, raw feeding, and the formulation of homemade diets for pets at an accredited university. Kate enjoys cooking, reading, and doing DIY projects around the house. She has three cats, Bagel, Munchkin, and Biscuit.

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  1. Mark H

    Gross suggestion of feeding rabbit meat. They are equally deserving of love and attention as cats.
    All this article shows is a promotion for Stella and Chewy products.
    Your “advice” is a biased sales pitch.

    Reply