Giving Your Cat Insulin Injections

March 14th, 2011

cat in gardenIf you have experience with feline diabetes you know how hard it can be to watch your furry family member suffer through weakness, vet appointments, diet changes and, possibly the most challenging of all, insulin injections. Knowledge of proper cat insulin injection techniques can make your life and your cat's life easier. If you have any questions or concerns talk to your vet.

Prepare the Insulin

  • Start by filling the insulin syringe slightly more than your cat's dose
  • Tap the insulin syringe to remove air bubbles
  • Slowly push the plunger until you have the correct dosage of insulin in the syringe

Prepare Your Cat

Create a routine to make your cat comfortable. At first he will likely try to get away, but eventually he should become familiar with the process, and you may even be able to train him to come when it is time for his insulin injection. Start by giving him lots of attention and affection, and maybe even a small treat. It is probably best to keep the insulin syringe out of your hands at first, so that he does not get scared. When you are ready to give your cat insulin, get on his level - don't come at him from above or he will feel threatened. Now it is time to find the injection site.

Injection sites

The scruff (top of the neck) is the most commonly used injection site for insulin for cats, however it may not be the best. The amount of skin and muscle in this area can slow absorption of the insulin, and can be more painful for the cat.

Other options for injection are the flank (between the ribs and the legs), the side or underside of the belly, and the side of the chest. Absorption tends to be quickest when given in the side or underside of the belly.

Insulin Injection

Each cat is different, and the proper type, dose and frequency of insulin for cats need to be determined by a veterinarian. Once you know the proper insulin dosing and have determined the best place for injection, place your thumb and index finger approximately an inch apart and pinch the skin to create a "tent". Make sure you are not grabbing any muscle.

The insulin injection should go into the hollow space under the "tent" of skin. It should not go into the skin itself, or into the muscle. If your cat is long-haired make sure that you can see the skin and that you are not giving him a "fur shot".

When you are giving the insulin injection be confident, smooth and fast. It is the puncture part that hurts, so go quickly through that part; you can slow down a bit while you inject the fluid.

Above all, be gentle and kind when giving your cat insulin, especially at first, and praise him when it is all done.