How to Give Needles to a Cat
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How to Give Needles to a Cat

How to give a needle to a cat. What is a SQ injection? How to give shots to my cat. My cat needs to get injections, how can I do this without causing pain to my cat? Where do cats get their needles? How to restrain a cat in order to give it a needle? Can cat owners give needles to their own pet?

Please note that if you have to give a needle to your cat that you should have your veterinarian demonstrate, this article is more for general information, or to remind you how to give a needle if you have already been shown and think you may have forgotten a step.

Also be aware that there are different ways for giving different shots, some must be done in the vein, these are typically not the kind of shots a veterinarian would have an owner do at home as finding the vein on a cat, and getting the needle in correctly, can be tricky. This type of shot is called IV or Intravenous.

Other shots are IM or Intramuscular, this is a more painful type of injection.

The type of shots that owners are usually taught how to give to a cat are SQ, or subcutaneous, just under the skin. One of the most common reasons people may give SQ injections to cats is to give insulin to a diabetic cat, or to give other medications following an injury or surgery.

Prepare the Needle

You can reuse the same syringe but must use a different needle every time. Needles can be purchased from your veterinarian. They get dull after one use and repeated uses of the same needle will cause more pain.

Put the needle on the syringe and remove its cap. Pull the syringe plunger to fill it with air to the same point as the required medicine. If you need 0.3cc, fill the syringe up with 0.3cc of air. Stick the needle into the top of the medicine bottle and press the air into the bottle, invert the bottle and withdraw the required amount of medicine. If you notice an air bubble, just inject some medicine, and the bubble back into the bottle, if you still have some air, do not panic, air injected SQ will not kill your pet, but will make a difference in terms of the amount of medicine the cat is getting if the air bubble is part of the measured amount.

Prepare the Cat to Get its Injection

Injections should be given at the same time every day, so pick times that work well with your normal schedule.

Prepare the location where you will have the cat, it should be at an easy level, on a table in a well lit area is best.

Try not to be stressed, the cat will sense your nerves and become nervous too.

Giving an Injection to a Cat

If you have a helper who can assist in holding the cat, that is good, they should not hold it too tight as this will cause the cat to become upset. It is often easiest if they just put one hand in front of the cat, on its chest, to stop it from going forward, and their other hand patting it on its back, ready to use both hands to grab tighter if needed.

You will want to pinch the skin. For some injections doing this at the scruff of the neck is easiest, but for insulin injections, which are ongoing, the injections should be done in different places. The blood circulation at the scruff of the neck is poor but is a good place to learn, after that the injection sites (particularly for insulin) should be varied, the hips, flanks, and sides of the stomach, make better sites for SQ injection.

©by author, normally I would be standing injecting the needle on the same side I am standing on, in the picture I moved to the other side of the cat, unfortunately she is so fluffy you cannot see much anyhow.

Pinch the cat's skin, puncture the skin quickly, slow injections are more painful. When you make your injection do so at an angle so the needle does not go too deep, deep injections into the muscle will hurt your cat. When injecting into the scruff of the neck, or other location, be sure the needle goes into the cat, not out the other side of your pinched area. Some people will withdraw the syringe a bit to make sure they are not in a vein. Inject the medication in one quick movement, withdraw the needle and rub the area as if patting the cat.

Remove, cap, and throw away the needle, offer a reward to the cat, either a healthy treat or a small amount of canned cat food.

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Comments (4)

Nice article with cat tips. Thank you Brenda. Voted. Always seeking your support.

This article brings back fond memories of when my Lucy had to have insulin injections. My Vet showed me how and it was never a big issue. She seemed to like the morning and evening routine. I commend you for your excellent articles on pet issues.

I had a diabetic cat and so had to give her insulin shots everyday since diet did not help her level off at all.

Great advices on pet care as always, thank you.