Advice on Administering Gapapentin as a Sedative and other Qs


TCS Member
Thread starter
Aug 12, 2021
Hi everyone,

My little 1 year old is due for a physical soon. She went once when I first got her about 5 months ago but it was hugely stressful for her and she even hurt herself in the carrier from thrashing (she was semi-feral when adopted). The vet was also no help once we got there and could only really give her a shot. Didn’t even clean her up.

She is a total sweetheart at home but is super stressed and fearful once out. Flash forward to now and we have a new (cats only! yay) vet and an appointment next month.

This vet has given me a gapapentin RX in capsule form to act as a sedative. They advised to mix 100mg into food about 3 hours prior to the visit.

My question is, for those who have done the same, did you have any issues? I’ve read the medicine is bitter, did your cat eat the food? It is a hard capsule so a pill pocket might not work. She definitely won’t eat it willingly if I don’t disguise it.

How did it work sedative-wise? Vet did not tell me to given the evening before dose that I’ve read about, was one dose prior to the visit enough?



TCS Member
Dec 16, 2011
New Jersey
I can only speak to the effect as we use liquid gabapentin. For us, easier than pilling though my girl sure does hate it. The dosage is 100mm.

3 hours is a good timeframe. It takes my cat about 2-1/2 hours to get really loopy to the point of her finally falling asleep. I use it to groom her now and then. It's the only way I can give her a full go-over to keep mats at bay.

The medication knocks her out for about 2 hours. She comes out of it fast.

You'd need to keep a close eye on the cat during the time it takes for it to get the full effect to make sure it doesn't fall off anything if jumping. They are able to continue walking (albeit, in a drunken way) for a lot longer you'd think they would, especially if there's a lot going on around them. Once it really kicks in though, pretty easy to pick them up and move them where needed; in your case into their carrier.

Keep in mind, if putting in food there's no guarantee it will all be eaten especially since it tastes so bad. I'd disguise it in a food your cat finds highly valued or even mix it into some all meat baby food (no garlic/onions - Gerber has a Stage 2 food which is appropriate to feed).

Good luck getting her to the vet! Ours hated being in the car and carrier as a kitten and would hyperventilate at times. We used the gabapentin the morning of her spay and another minor surgery she had so that she would be cooperative once there. It worked like a charm.


May the purr be with you
Dec 22, 2005
Our cat is also extremely difficult to groom and goes to the groomer who is at our vet's office approx. three times p/year. He's a perfect sweetheart when at home just like how you described your cat but most cats do not like being taken out of their environment. For this reason they recommended a low dose of gabapentin, just enough to calm him down when being groomed but not enough to put him to sleep. They did tell me to give me him one dose the night before and one again in the morning, 2-3 hrs. before bringing him in. He's very difficult to pill so I always request liquid medication. The liquid gabapentin I use is flavored with chicken but, yes, it's still difficult to disguise the taste of it.

I thought one of these two Articles might have some helpful information and advice for you:
Pilling Cats: Must-know Tips For Hiding Pills – TheCatSite Articles
How Can I Give A Pill To My Cat – TheCatSite Articles

Good luck, please let us know how everything goes when you take her to the vet next month. :crossfingers:


TCS Member
Young Cat
Aug 22, 2012
One of my cats is a feline blood donor for an emergency hospital and they asked I give him a Gabapentin pill for calming before I put him in the car so that it is not a bad or scary experience. I just get the pill wet and pop it in his mouth. He does awesome on it and loves the toys and treats he gets for his service.