Does your cat need subcutaneous fluids but
administering them sounds like mission impossible?

It’s a very good idea to have two people when you start your cat on fluids the first few times. This way, one person is there to softly pet and soothe the cat while gently holding him or her in the “circle” where they need to be. The other person can actually give the fluids, keep an eye on the amount of fluids going in and check to see that the flow is running smoothly. Eventually, the towels or blanket of the circle will be able to give the cat a place to rest, while you give the fluids.

For most cat owners, this will be anywhere from a once a week to an everyday routine. So you want to make this as pleasant as possible for both you and your cat. One of my first suggestions would be to use the smallest room possible to limit any chance of escape.

Here are some suggestions to make the experience more comfortable:

  • Offer a favorite or very special treat that is only given after fluids. This can be ice cream, tuna or catnip.
  • Make the room as warm and comfortable as possible.
  • Warm up the fluids to be given whether you soak them in hot water or use a heating pad. Run the fluids on your arm to test for a comfortable temperature.
  • I like to hang the fluids from the top of the mirror in the bathroom, which is usually the best “small” room or just hammer a nail up there to hold your fluid bag up high as the fluids run downhill to your cat (or dog). Watch the fluids as they run to check that the flow continues. Sometimes the bevel of the needle will lay against the skin and slow the flow down. All it takes is a simple twist or turn of the needle to get it running fast again.
  • I make what I call a “circle” which is a safe place for your cat to rest while getting fluids. I use a twin size light blanket with a towel inside it. I hang them both up by their corners, towel inside, and just twist it around and form a circle with it. You can make it big or small and connect the ends by just tucking them into each other. It gives cats a safe place to “hide” while providing the necessary constraint needed while fluids are being administered. They should be just tucked in enough that their backs are flat with the top level of the blanket, just where you need to insert the needle, right behind the shoulder blades. This hopefully eliminates some of your part of “constraining” the cat.
  • I have several cats and my older cat that gets fluids LOVES this because it’s our “alone” time. I sit there and love on her while she gets her fluids and no other cats can come in which makes her feel special!
  • Cats also get to know exactly how long this takes and will be quick to let you know that “time is up” when they have gotten their usual amount!

Giving cats meds, trimming their nails, giving them a “sanitary shave,” pilling them, or whatever they may need, is easier when you’re educated on the best practices for taking care of your cat or dog’s needs. Please feel free to call me for any help or tips that I can demonstrate to you.