How to Give a Cat Insulin Shots

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According to research, one in 400 cats is diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, known as "sugar" diabetes. It means your cat can no longer correctly use insulin to balance its glucose or blood sugar levels. Part of having a diabetic cat means you will have to give them insulin shots. And while you may be squeamish at first, the alternative is the cat's death. So you need to learn how to give shots. Here’s how.

Things You'll Need

  • Insulin, as prescribed by your veterinarian
  • Insulin needle/syringe as prescribed by your veterinarian

Giving Insulin Shots to Diabetic Cats

  • Ask your vet to demonstrate the proper way to give shots. Some vets will have you practice to make sure you are comfortable.

  • Load your syringe from the insulin vial. Remove air bubbles by tapping the syringe until they rise to the top, and then squirt out a bit of the insulin. If you can’t clear the bubbles, squirt the insulin back into the bottle and reload.

  • Gently grasp the loose skin at the cat’s neck between the shoulders, the same place that the mother cat carries her kittens. This skin tends to have low sensitivity, and the cat rarely reacts to the injection.

  • Lift a loose fold of skin between thumb and forefinger.

  • Insert the needle at an angle parallel with the cat’s back. You want the injection to be subcutaneous--just beneath the skin--for proper insulin absorption, as opposed to down into the muscle.

  • Depress the plunger and remove the needle, pulling back at the same angle you went in.

  • Reassure your cat. Take a moment to pet your cat to make it feel that there’s nothing to be afraid of.

  • Dispose of the needle and syringe properly, as they are considered biohazards. Collect them in a closed container, and then ask your vet’s office to dispose of them.

Tips & Warnings

  • On very rare occasion, you may hit a nerve when giving an injection, and your cat will meow, possibly squirm. Remove the needle quickly and cuddle and reassure them.
  • Never reuse a needle or syringe. They are for single use only and should be disposed of properly.
  • Keep needles and syringes in a safe place.
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