Method #1 from Alex’s mom, Lisa: As I mentioned on the pilling page, I was very lucky to have my mom help me when I gave Alex a shot or sub-Q (subcutaneous) fluids. If I had to, I could do it alone (which I did on many occasions). But it was always better to have my mom there as she kept Alex distracted and calm.
I had my kitchen table set up like a little hospital area with a three-drawer plastic cabinet on rollers right next to it containing all of her medications, needles and supplies for easy access. I had a hook in the wall next to the table where I hung her sub-Q fluids and a soft blanket on the table so she would be more comfortable. I also put a large pillow in front of where she would be laying so she’d know it wasn’t that easy to run.
She was a very good girl when getting her shots or fluids, better than she was when getting her pills. Basically I had her lie on her stomach on the table while my mom sat next to her, talking to her while stroking and kissing her. The whole time mom would make sure Alex didn’t move, as she would naturally try to get up and bolt.
I’d prepare all of her shots and medicine ahead of time and have them ready for each administration. Her B12 shot and sub-Q’s were all done in her scruff, but when giving her Reglan (metraclopramide) and Pepcid (famotadine), the vet had me do it in her hip area, alternating sides each day. The reason for this was to avoid causing fatty deposits in her scruff as they have the possibility of becoming hard, retain fluid and eventually have to be removed.
When giving a shot in the hip area, be very careful not to poke your cat in the bone or muscle, as there isn’t the same amount of loose skin that there is in the scruff. Gently lift the skin in the hip area; enough so you know you’ve got room between the skin and bone. Follow the same procedure of application as you do in the scruff.
Method #2 from Alex’s mom, Lisa: When giving my sister’s cat Moufasa his B12 shots, I did it differently than the way I did it with Alex. She was on the table mainly because of the sub-Q fluids; where she had to stay still for at least five minutes and because of getting shots in the hip area. With Moufasa, there were times when he was laying down on a chair so that I could just quickly do a “scruff & shoot”. Most of the time I placed him on the bed, laying down on his stomach while I sat knees down directly in back of him. Either my sister or my mom would sit in front of him with their hands cupped forward up against his shoulders (not pushing down on them), so he doesn’t buck upwards or raise his legs and shoulders. They’d give him so many kisses that he’d meow a little but he’s mostly purring like crazy.
I prepared the needle ahead of time by drawing in the fluid then taking my fingers and flicking the needle several times to get any air bubbles out, as air can be painful when being pushed in with fluids. I gently lifted his scruff and inserted the needle until I felt it poke through the skin. I was careful not to push the needle any further as I might puncture his muscles. As I’m doing this I spoke softly and told him what a good boy he is. I’d try to the push the fluid in at an even pace but just fast enough so he didn’t get too impatient. I’d slowly pull the needle out, rub the area a little, praise and kiss him before letting him down off the bed. He’d usually get his evening Pepcid in a treat afterwards so it was a two for one deal. He thought he was being rewarded for being good and he got his pill at the same time. I know this isn’t a great angle for showing the needle itself but you’ll see here how he was held and how we did it. The videos below show better angles.
Method #3 from Barbara Aggarwal: My tips for injecting:
1. Warm the syringe of medicine before you give it by putting it a pocket, your waistband, or shirt. Room temperature is much cooler than cat body temp so they will feel it more if you don’t warm it.
2. Distract with some treats or catnip. Don’t try to sneak up on them while they’re sleeping and do it, trust me.
3. Tent the scruff, then go in at about a 45 degree angle. If you are too horizontal you may go through the skin on the other side, if you are too vertical it may hurt.
4. Do it as quickly as you can. Practice on a stuffed animal or pillow if you need to get the feel for it and get your speed up.