How to Cut Pills Easily and Accurately

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If you’ve ever had to cut small pills for your cat (or yourself,) you know how frustrating it can be. While there are endless models of pill cutters available online, I’ve found that none of them work well when it comes to cutting already small pills into halves and quarters.

Allegra gets 1/4 of a 5mg methimazole tablet twice a day. The pills are scored down the center, which makes cutting them in half with a pill cutter or sharp knife pretty easy, but when it comes to cutting them in quarters, they tend to crumble and I wound up throwing out a lot of pills.

Then I came across a video by Ingrid Johnson, a certified cat behaviorist and owner of Fundamentally Feline. She  uses a brilliant hack to cut even tiny pills easily and far more accurately than any knife or pill cutter will do: a pair of nail trimmers!

I tried this with my regular small cat nail trimmers, and it worked beautifully, but since I worried about the frequent pill cutting dulling the trimmers too much to still be sharp for Allegra’s nails, I invested in the same trimmers that are used in the video, the Miltex Vantage White Dog Nail Scissors. Miltex specializes in making surgical instruments, and these nail trimmers are top notch.

I no longer dread pill cutting using these nail trimmers. I still occasionally have some waste, but that’s not due to the pill splitting on me, but due to me not lining the trimmers up correctly. I’m sure practice will make perfect.

As far as I’m concerned, this hack has been a lifesaver!

A word about the photo at the top of the post: I use gloves when I cut Allegra’s thyroid medication, but since I place her medications inside an unflavored gel cap, I don’t  wear them when I give her her medication. I’m probably being overly cautious, but there is a small chance that the methimazole could be absorbed through my skin while I handle the pills, and since I take thyroid medication myself, I’d rather be safe than sorry. Always check with your veterinarian about any precautions you should take while handling your cat’s medication.

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Image: depositphotos

7 Comments on How to Cut Pills Easily and Accurately

  1. Cheryl K.
    April 4, 2021 at 9:52 am (7 days ago)

    This would have been great for our Moki, whose tender ears didn’t like the compounded methimazole. I had to be content that maybe if her morning dose was a little high, her evening dose would then be a little low. This is much better than hoping. Thanks for this post!

    Reply
  2. Mary McNeil
    April 1, 2021 at 3:49 pm (1 week ago)

    Thanks so much for this. If it’s halves that’s one thing but beyond that…

    Reply
  3. Pamela S Tomlinson
    April 1, 2021 at 11:54 am (1 week ago)

    I wish there was a better word besides THANK YOU! I care for 9 cats at home (my cats and foster cats) and this is a life saver. Someone is always on medication and my population is older now and that means 2 or 3 at a time! THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!

    Reply
  4. Marie
    April 1, 2021 at 7:26 am (1 week ago)

    Thanks, Ingrid! This information is very helpful. And the video “how to” is excellent.
    Years ago, I had a cat who needed to take a cat dose of a human time-release blood pressure medication. It was a capsule with thousands of tiny balls of varying colors. The vet taught me to open the capsule, carefully spread out the balls on a clean surface (I think I used wax paper) and to use tweezers to pick up the correct number of each color ball so the cat would get her correct dose and it would be time-released. The cat’s life expectancy at that time was perhaps 18 months. I faithfully did this for the six years she continued to live.
    Having the dog trimmers to cut her pills would have been wonderful as, like you, I either wasted a lot to crumbling, or paid the pharmacist to cut them, which was expensive, but worth it.
    Thanks again!
    PS Perhaps in a future column you could feature the compound method to rub in the ears as well?

    Reply
  5. Janine
    April 1, 2021 at 6:13 am (1 week ago)

    When I had Pono and he was on allergy medication, I found a cheap pill splitter at Walmart. It works really good. I still use it to split pills for Pele.

    Reply
  6. Summer
    April 1, 2021 at 1:44 am (1 week ago)

    This is an awesome idea! My human wishes she knew about it long ago, since both Binga and Boodie needed meds at one point or another.

    Reply
  7. Lynette Eggleston
    April 1, 2021 at 1:38 am (1 week ago)

    That sounds really good!! I cheat (but it is more expensive) and get a compounded cream to put in Timmy’s ears. I am also on thyroid tablets so have to be careful as well.

    Reply

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